I am a graduate of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. I currently teach high school English in Sugar Land, TX, and I love my work. I also love film, literature, my two darling children and my wife Julie. My work has previously been published in Zodiac Review, Pif Magazine, and elsewhere.
I could not charge admission, I don't think;
that is not the point of this enterprise.
I do feel, though, that there must be some sort
of benefit to opening these doors
before their hinges are all overcome
by rust, before the old wood is swollen
with rainfall and will no longer permit
entry and I, who am trapped here inside,
will have to accept solitude. Not yet.
So, if they are willing to travel just
a short ways, I am resolved to show them
whatever it might interest them to see:
The ineffectual moat; outdated
decor; taxidermied libido; all
the trophies I brought back from my crusades
against common sense and co-dependence.
Here stands my intellect, just a bit more
miniscule than advertised, and there lie
my good intentions, small sticks used mostly
for kindling. Best just to skip the fetid
Garden of Passions; it requires proper
maintenance. But please, please find time to make
your way down the hall I lovingly lined
with plaques commemorating the moments
when I really did rise above meanness,
above mediocrity (it’s a short
hall, with an exit at the end). In all,
what they will encounter is entirely
average, and yet I feel that some of them
might be inspired to seek inspiration,
to become more than a man of numbered
days, destined to die curled in a corner,
all his humiliations on his head.
At any rate, I long to be observed
and gasped at, though they be gasps of disgust
and not the admiration I’d planned on
when my edifice was more attractive.
Who Wields the Stick
A friend says
it says so much
who wields the stick
when the snake
is found on the
dull, skin writhing
with maggots beneath.
It says so much,
which child is first
to grab the stick.
And I ask,
what does it say
that I have replayed
it over and over
all my life long,
until I can no longer
recall whether it was I
or some other child
next to me,
some outline I have
moved into and
who held the stick?
Does it say anything
that I might have been
either, or both?
It says plenty.
©2016 Jeffrey Winter