Volume 33, Number 1

Evening in the ER

Knackered troupe of heartache, dust-
festooned carnival in a God-forsaken
land, where anguish comes full-throated
and all grace and giving have been called

back to heaven. Aptly, the drunken
badger, sucker-puncher clown assailed
by a bevy of cops like distraught birds
in pursuit of a trespasser of nest.

Or the young bride, rawly afraid, kissed
by amulet of crowbar, matrimonial
bouquet of day-old blood, wedged
beside twin widows, fortune-

tellers with flesh as bright as
metaphors, dry hearts crackling
like tumbleweed inside their
chests. Inconsolable satyr of

pathos, wailing polyphony, in
search of phantom sleep or the
nub of noose swinging up and away
from memory and sublime afflictions.

And me, hobo of acute vertigo, elegiac
epilogue, ossified dirge, trundled off
to some austere sanctuary for those
who seek nothing more than a way out.

—John Muro