As I passed by the bakery downtown, inhaling the many delicious scents emanating from within, a man stepped from the shadows and asked me if I had any spare change. “Honestly, I don’t,” I said. “I never carry coins, and the only bills I have in my wallet are tens and twenties.” “I’ll take one of those,” he said. “I’m sure you would,” I said, “but not today I’m afraid.” He said, “You should be afraid. I could obliterate you with a wave of my hand. I am a god in human form. My name is Ogmar the Terrible.” I shook his obliterating hand. “Nice to meet you, Ogmar,” I said. “I too am a god. You can call me Phil the Mildly Asthmatic. The thing is, Ogmar, while I don’t have many religious scruples, one of them is that I never make offerings to gods whose names include the word ‘terrible.’ That’s sort of a nonnegotiable for me.” He looked perplexed, then his grimy face brightened and he said, “For you I could be Ogmar the Kind. Gods can do that. I could start by breaking one of those tens for you at the bakery.” “Your divinity is becoming more apparent to me by the second,” I said, pulling out a ten and handing it to him. “Keep the change, Ogmar.” “Oh thank you, mighty and wise Phil,” he said. I continued down the street, hoping to find a drugstore that sold god-sized doses of anti-inflammatories.
has poems published or forthcoming in Plume Poetry Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, and The Bitter Oleander. He won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, and has written humor for The New Yorker, The Onion, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s REALLY Funny), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other. His first full-length poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up, is forthcoming from Sagging Meniscus Press.
Author’s website: https://kurtluchs.com
A trio of poems by Kurt Luchs:
Morning Likeness in La Piccioletta Barca (Issue 15, January 2020)
⚡ Suzie [available at ProQuest online], winner of Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest and published in Atlanta Review (Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2018/Winter 2019)
A Mist in the Tree in The Nonconformist Magazine (24 July 2020)