Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Coroner’s Inquest

Do you think you’ll get elected?
I’m the only one running.
Scared the competition away?
Nope, buried him.
What about write-ins?
His name was difficult to spell.
So what’s the most important quality for a county coroner?
Rigor.
Like in mortis?
No, as in thoroughness, accuracy, diligence.
How difficult can it be to tell if a corpse is dead?
The coroner is where bodies are sent to determine cause of death.
Oh, so you mean like the possibility of murder?
It’s rare, but it’s possible.
Have you much experience with murder victims?
I’ve seen a few suspicious circumstances in my time.
Have you caught any of the culprits?
Detectives catch culprits, coroners provide postmortem evidence.
But wouldn’t you like to nab one once, say, if he’s lurking at the graveyard?
I only attend funerals when I know the deceased.
You know dead people?
I know many people, and some of them have died.
Naturally.
Most of them.
Most of them what?
Have died naturally.
Oh.
I have work to finish.  Do you have any more silly questions? 
Nothing I’m dying to ask. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Worded

            Laundry, a Litany

In the basement, beside the stationary tubs,
my mother’s Maytag wringer washer. 
Children didn’t touch.  Saturday mornings
she’d dump our dirty clothes in,

fill the vat with detergent and water,
then set the agitator churning. 
I’d peek into its frothy maw
but sit back down if she glanced my way.

As the tubs filled with hot rinse water
steam clung to her glasses like sweat,
sweat clung to her forehead like steam. 
On the stool, I never asked to help. 

As she fed the clothes through the wringer
they’d flatten like noodles, soapy sauce
running back into the wash machine. 
Her eyes on the work, she’d talk to me. 

After the second rinse, drains open,
she’d lift leaden baskets outside
to hang the wash.  Then I could help. 
I pulled a shirt sleeve loose

from the tangled load, saw the arm
my mother had described, the girl
whose fingers caught in the rollers
all the way to her shoulder

before the wringer could be turned off.  
And here was her arm again,
hanging limp from my hands,
wrinkled and wet. 

I fixed her with clothespins to the line,
both arms outstretched like a cross,
this little girl suffering every week
so that I might be saved.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekly Worded

        Preheat

Daffodil burns like
a votive beside the sidewalk,
forsythia rises

like an old gold faithful,
and this incandescent
flame of feather,

bluebird on a wire
flickers like
the pilot light of spring.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekly Worded

 
       The Last Act of March

Like a lion
wild with teeth
and claws, the wind
brings dust in gusts
fifty miles per hour. 
Garbage cans clatter
in the street, entire
fields lift like stage scrim
reminiscent of the dry
Serengeti, filmed in sepia
as a blood red sun
goes down.