The Tale’s Minor Figure Picks a Fight at the Bar
The way a mitten obscures a fist in the name of warmth.
The way alcohol burns in the name of obscuring.
The way you cannot remember my name
yet the narrative falls apart without me –
my axe, my needle, my desire,
my impeccable timing –
say it again. Call attention to my insignificance,
I dare you – I have a pen, too,
someday I’ll write my own goddamn ever after
but until then this anger is what I have,
this anger and a pink drink
with a paper umbrella
angled just so in my glass
on guard against a tiny rainstorm.
The New York Post Runs a Photo of a Man About to be Killed by a Subway Train and Everyone on the Internet Looks at It
Thank goodness our living rooms are immaculate – no shame
in keeping plastic sheeting over the good love seat
until the pastor comes by, of course it’s no trouble
to put on tea and talk about the new neighbors,
moved from just such a place: where a man could fall,
or be pushed, into the path of a train,
but they seem like they’ll fit in here. Our motto is “Wait Your Turn,”
our motto is “Keep Your Shit to Yourself,”
our motto is “We Know the Lyrics to Many Lovely Songs.”
We like our mysteries solved within the hour
and our cornbread served without punctuation,
we are skeptical of so much flavor and well aware
when condescended to. We teach our children
that it’s not blood or bone but hope that hurts. So forgive us
when we close our laptops and exit the room
to rake the season’s last leaves into the street
and take the retriever for a walk in the evaporating light,
let us erase this image from ourselves and erase
ourselves from this image until they are all that remains:
the man who sees what’s coming,
another man with no way to stop,
the photographer’s flash – pitiful, distant star.
Amorak Huey, a longtime newspaper editor and reporter, teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His chapbook The Insomniac Circus is forthcoming in 2014 from Hyacinth Girl Press, and his poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Southern Review, The Cincinnati Review, Rattle, Rhino, Menacing Hedge and other journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.