Sunday, July 1, 2018




The day was a forgery
so the night could get away
with stars
that is how the brain-trust remembers
turtles out of lumbering monotony shells
plodding spherical skullduggery
and a latch across the basement door
applesauce spoons used for heroin
our faithful commissioner recommissioned
to linger too long anywhere is to imitate shadows
to lay under bodies and remember the parks
of your childhood, how the parents pretended to watch
and everything else was just pretend
and later nicotine rings to joggle the mind
St. Adrian in the window standing guard;
I have left you so many times the harbourmaster
is asking questions.


I sit in the bathroom and flip through the magazines.
Everyone looks so ugly these days.  Like bank vaults after the take.
That empty look in their eyes as though the markets have crashed
and everyone has been cursed with forty years of bad sex.
I am constipated.  There was a sale on cheese and I have this thing
with dairy.  The door left ajar because there is no one else
but the cat and he distrusts anything he can’t see.
And he comes and goes as he pleases.  I have no doubt
he will eat me when I die.  And everyone will feel bad for him because
he is small and furry and beautiful and they will forget all about me.
Keeled over on the toilet like Elvis.  Trying to squeeze one last puppy out.
Knowing toe tags are just autographs from the afterlife.
Some upstart coroner from the university coming in on his weekend
landing double overtime.  To pronounce.  Make a recording.
Judging my death accidental like climbing into a blender thinking
it some sensory deprivation tank of better understanding.
The way cremation leaves itself open to smoothies.
Healthy living with someone else’s wife.
The kids on weekends under court supervision.


I have been summoned.  There is sickness going
around and Bill has caught it.  I have brought soup
and crackers and ginger ale up many flights of stairs
and cherry lozenges and boxes of tissue with nature scenes
on them so one thinks of tranquility among the sinuses.
The bag is see through and bulging which makes me think of
the invisible man before they take off all the bandages
even though that doesn’t really make sense.  And I pass
these two kids in the hall fixing a bike.  One noticeably older
than the other who has obviously borrowed his father’s
wrench.  The younger one is relegated to holding the greasy
chain in place and his obvious reticence makes it appear
as though his fingers are sliding through a pit of snakes.
The older one is stern, he will make a splendid father
someday, barking at the young one to hold the chain
still.  And I shuffle past sideways, neither taking notice
of me.  Before knocking on a door down the hall and being
let in.  Bill is thankful, we are not as close as he thinks, but
present circumstances have foisted us together.  When I leave,
the bike is still overturned but the boys are gone which
makes everything lonely, like walking through a graveyard
counting the headstones.


RYAN QUINN FLANAGAN is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Our Poetry Archive, Setu, Literary Yard, and The Oklahoma Review.

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