The Untoward ~ Donald Morrill


 “Poor Man’s Orchid” blows across the yards, scraggy purple blossoms “not native,” out of weak wood . . .


And the girl with bells strung around her waist—that first girl—


she’s come back from the Temple of Ishtar

in the guise of colliding dragonflies, the riffling of newspaper . . .


To stand behind the one on whom the kiss comes down, to put lips to the beautiful muscle—


could a spear have once flown here, a tumbrel’s wheel turned over this hill?  In the old poems, the gods filled the hero’s heart with valor—


now I so want to be about me hums this noon, licking its paws, curled in the great slowness beneath parked cars . . .


Dub it Tuesday, the appetites preparing this world for themselves alone.

Dub it moralizing, with Reality

the heretic.


Down the I-4 median, a scruffy teen marches and spins, arms swirling in his gleam. On Pluto—I’m sure of it—


the small hard tears ground back into the eyes


congregate for a last write-off before they’re shipped to galaxies less fortunate than ours.


People live as though they’re far away and intimate. People live as though.


And isn’t it fitting, Mr. Consciousness? Even as nails

pounded through a scapegoat’s feet


hit nails driven through others hung on that cross,


you’re not stuffing my ears with more tickets to paradise.