Two poems

David Spicer

Not What We Expected

I’ll reveal this: when she and I felt
like gluttons and punished ourselves,
we ate and drank in The Purgatory Café,
a dive where pictures of dolphins
and unicorns floated on walls
and Cuban fishermen argued
about terrorized islanders. The place
pleased us with the faint smell
of fried sausage, and a blind woman
in a cotton dirndl decorated with daisies
played the oboe on a small stage, a pail for tips
next to her. Suddenly the door opened to voices
obscured by smoke and fog and revealed,
in a white robe, a bearded child
with a few followers. He carried a cross
carved from a wooden rocket and a dancer’s
pole. My skin tingled and we scoffed
for a moment before he spoke:
I’ve returned to the fires and jungles
of your world, I’m the rebel you’ve
waited for, so kneel and pray, run
with me, scrounge no longer,
the mathematics of this scorched
planet will arrive soon, but I am here.

Termination at the Crime Scene

We salvaged the wheelchair
and one shoe in a ditch at twilight
on the Okie-Texas line. Where was the vic?
An enigma. Somebody phoned me.
A woman who wept every other word.
I was the lead, Green the secondary.
Climbing out of the drooping earth,
we organized a search party,
found the corpse under the moonlit maple
next to an old horse with a bullet
in its head. The stiff had a gunshot wound
to the brain, swelled like a cocoon,
playing cards rolled up and stuck in his nose.
A hypo in his big toe. The stink astonished
Green with its wicked texture. Ah shit,
between you and I, it’s a heroin OD.
You’re not paid to think, moron,
I admonished,
banishing him then and there. After his bad
grammar, for all I cared Green could’ve been
vines sprouting from a tea kettle
or a papoose with a pacifier in its mouth.

DAVID SPICER has had poems accepted by or published in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Yellow Mama, Bop Dead City, unbroken, The Curly Mind, Slim Volume, The Naugatuck River Review, Yellow Chair Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection, Everybody Has a Story, and four chapbooks. He is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.