I fall asleep in a wreath of pain.
The ground is compressing like
greedy hands, green-grey as
a split avocado left overnight
on the kitchen island. Disbelievers
in my injury quickly become
haters. I am miserable. Try not
to notice my stammering. It is
encoded with a message meant
for someone else’s relief. The
ground responds by ignoring me
I could be a philanthropist, a giving woman, a patron;
if I released the poor children in my palms
and freely gave the strychnine welling in my eyes
should it ever left my purse string lids.
Little Luke with glasses tried running from me at first,
breaking all the rules
of our cost/benefit arrangement.
Starving in my three and a half car garage
eating unaccounted ants creeping across the floor;
an education beyond price and value.
Crying in the thick dust—getting punched by bigger kids;
doesn’t want to tangle with their cold lashes.
And if he doesn’t watch the little ones,
he won’t see that danger when it comes.
Little Luke with glasses loses his easy personality.
He’s a rich woman’s dying child; kind of mine,
and he’s afraid of the music fluting through the air.
He’s a poorly given thing
and his will is almost gone.
He’s the descendant of black cats and triskaidekaphobia
trying so hard not to send his fourth mother
deeper into the mire of a black harvest cornfield.
Blur the Night
Blur the night when I last forgot
that I was imaginary.
So what if I blurred the night
when I first gave in to the certainty
that dying was real but momentary?
And the night old man Kenton
gave me a toolbox of hasps and files
and I laughed on the rooftops
because it hurt so much either way.
And that it made me sadder than
a swan twisting its own neck to breaking.
And when towheaded Sarah heard me
strangling myself, she asked me to
go away and took back her salutations
and native song. Such cruelty.
I still remember the greeting—
her hazel eyes holding back
six possible futures
and the promise of a danse macabre.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife Vickie and daughter Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Two Thirds North, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in the Roanoke Review, The Alembic and Milkfist. His poem “Distillery of the Sun” was awarded second place in the 2014 Bacopa Literary Review poetry contest.