Three Poems|Glen Armstrong

Requiem for Pandora

 

She invented the sentence fragment

and a new way of appearing humble.

 

Her friends would stop by

to coax her out of her funk.

 

They tethered their dogs to a motorcycle

parked in the shade.

 

Only one of her eyes was misshapen.

 

Overnight, the bricks would cool

too quickly and crack.

 

Her family helped when they could.

 

They planted cottonwood

to obscure the house.

 

This is her history book.

The pages glued together.

 

This is her pencil box.

Sharpened sticks.

No graphite.

 

The gods still get a kick

out of what we call

attractive nuisances.

 

Once in a great while her clients

list fish bones as property,

but no one can rightly own a fish.

 

She gets that feeling again in her gut

every time the magician reaches

into his hat.

 

 

One Thing Becomes Another

 

Her knee is a falcon,

trained to seek and destroy

as soon as she releases it

 

from its hood.

Like a sentient cheese

 

Danish,

I crave my own

 

continued existence,

clean and fat.

 

I neither understand

nor fully appreciate the way one

thing becomes another:

 

Danger becomes desire.

 

Her leg becomes a skyline,

civility,

 

a wing.

 

 

Good Neighbor #53

 

Neither the cop nor the robber suited me as a child, so I would play at being the escaped lion from

the zoo, the lighthouse keeper who had talked to a mermaid, the sales clerk who measures feet for

shoes . . . I never understood why games were limited to two teams. Neither the cowboy nor the

Indian suited me. I was the agent from the patent office with a giant book of fantastic, annotated

drawings.

 

The goal of the game is to touch someone or to avoid someone’s touch. There are safe zones and

beanbags. Marriage and laser tag play out in similar fashion.

 

My people were farmers. They watched too much television. Maybe the thrill of the chase has

been bred out of me. All time is quiet time. I sit with blank pages waiting for you to land and tell me

a story about your wings, your fins, your tail. You lean in to tell me a secret. Something was

stolen long ago and never returned.

 

Bio:

 

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts,

Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has two current books of poems:

Invisible Histories and The New Vaudeville.

His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest,Conduit, and Cream City Review.

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