Virtual Womb

Readers, a caution: this poem may or may not be based on real events.

*

I had my first virtual reality experience
I was a baby in the womb
The dark red world was swirling around me
The muffled flow of life droned in my ears
I felt warm and safe, I think,
As if I was being held for the first time and had been forever,
As if nothing could ever go wrong
Every sustaining thing was insulating my body

But the guys at Verizon didn’t appreciate my moaning and screaming
So I was thrown out into the harsh, unforgiving cold

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Some Questions About the Apocolypse

I wonder will thunder sound its blasts o’er and under
The red molten core of that faraway hill?
Or whether it’ll sever the last scrawny tether
Holding earth and her Heaven with their balance so still?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what’ll happen
When the skies come unfastened and the dark waters spill
Forever. Forever. Is it possible they’ll ever
Fall and drown the red crown of that faraway hill?

A Girl Afraid

I’m often haunted
By the look on my daughter’s face
After I’ve exploded
The salt from her tears tracks her cheeks
Her apology dribbles out of her lips
She shakes with the fear
Saved for a girl afraid of losing
Her father’s love
She slinks towards me, arms outheld
Wishing only that her Dad would comfort her
This time,
How strong is my desire
To break the curse?

In That Promise

In that promise
I found Amy
Mine a distant heart caught in a jar
And she, tenderly poked holes in the lid
Kept it safe and showed her cousins
“Isn’t it lovely – just look!”

Because of that promise
I met my captors
Dirty fingers caressing in the night
Turning my heart hard and my body used
Amy held me, cleaned under my nails
“You and I are forgiven.”

Poor bird

Look
A bird
On a wire
What a beautiful sight
But wait…what is this?
Some smoke rising from its claws
Oh no! It’s shorting out! What the-
And just like that – like fireworks – explosion
A beautiful? sight in the sky. Poor bird.

A Boy at the Mercy of a Man

As I walked, I saw this man with his dog
He wouldn’t stop yanking on the leash
Like working a lawnmower, hacking to a start
The dog yelped and screamed between gagging breaths
Its tongue flailed wildly
But the man wouldn’t stop.
The dog lunged and tried to get away
From the one who had fed it all these years
If it could, it might plead
Why are you doing this?
All it could do was choke and spit
puddles of vomit in the road
and drag itself in circles desperately.
But the man wouldn’t stop.
The leash tore the skin off of his hands
He was relentless
He wrenched the leash again and again and again
And the dog was helpless
An animal at the mercy of a man
who wouldn’t stop.
After a few moments, the dog quietly gave up and lied down dead in the road
Bits of gravel stuck to the blood in its fur.

***

As I watched the dog I thought of Kumar
A boy at the mercy of a man
A slave, I imagine
somewhere in the slums of India.
His small bony fingers compressed like mortar between bricks
His nails cracking and peeling back from wear
Tied at the neck and jerked from side to side
“But I am not well,” Kumar begs.
The man kicks him to the ground and steps on the boy’s aching hands.
Kumar –
a boy at the mercy of a man.
But I can only imagine
I don’t see him on my walk
He’s abused like a dog in secret
He’s tied up in a dungeon
On the other side of the world