The President keeps tweeting about fake news. I don’t know what “tweeting” means, but I assume he addresses his followers in a code based on the language of birds, who don’t really have any need for news, other than “it’s time to fly south.” But I can see why he’s upset. I just read that this year the World Series will be between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that can’t be true. They’re both National League teams, right? I thought the World Series had to have a team from each league. I am sick about this, and so I offer three poems as a corrective, pieces that offer only the unvarnished truth. Since poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, this ought to take care of the problem.
We win a lottery, free diapers for a year
but our children are grown, so we try
to refuse the prize. It’s no use. “You
could sell them on E-Bay,” they tell us,
but we prefer to give them away.
Goodwill won’t take them, though,
and the hospital looks at us suspiciously,
the baby nurse trying to memorize our
features for the cops The women’s
shelter shoos us away.. Every week
diapers come in a brown truck with a
winged child painted on the side.
Armed with a tiny bow, he smiles
at our suffering. The deliveryman nods
at us as he hauls packages to our door.
I offer a tip if he’ll take them back, but
he smiles sadly and shakes his head.
He seems kind and mute, with a melancholy
wisdom born from patience and seeing
too much. Our rooms overflow with little
plastic bundles; the trash collectors have
taken to skipping our house. We stand
on street corners, with sandwich boards
that read “Free Diapers,” but drivers
merely glance at us and quickly look away.
Soon our house will disappear. The haggard
ghosts you see wandering the streets at night
will be what remains of us, your neighbors,
cursed but still human, burdened with flesh and tears.
“Yes, I can cure you”, said the wizard
to the saint,” but you will have to give
up carrots for sixty years”.
“Carrots? What harm can carrots do?”
“In this case, they taint the blood.”
So the saint bowed and accepted
his long abstinence. In the end, though,
it proved impossible. Without carrots
there was nothing orange in his life,
nothing to scrape for soup bubbling
on the stove. It was like living without
sunrise, with only darkness or sudden
blinding light. And so, with the cure
stopped, the saint grew dim to all eyes.
His holy passion spilled out onto sand,
until he was nothing but a pool among
green-stained rocks, his orange blood
pouring out among the lily pads and frogs.
Werewolf Counts His Change
Two quarters, one nearly black
around the rim, two shiny dimes,
a sad nickel and twelve pennies,
copper, gum gray and algae green,
eighty-seven cents, metallic sweat
jingling in the pockets of his jeans.
Kiss it goodbye, a handful of change,
just something to count out for coffee
or dump in a gesture of largesse
into the tip cup or panhandler’s open palm.
“I hate change,” werewolf growls.
Without change, they say there is no
growth, but he knows better, changing,
changing in his monthly bath of silver
light, tingling in his groin spreading
through legs, chest and arms, spilling
shower of pin pricks to fingers and toes,
choking language as it forms
in stretching snout, change thrusting
raw power up and out into night.
© 2017 Steve Klepetar
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