Heroes

Old man raking leaves
his back bent into
the chore

not like indolent
young folk.
He pauses

itches his groomed beard
wipes a rheumy eye.
A lifetime of service

has widened
his shoulders

tightened up his calves.
Approaching eighty

with dignity
a sound mind

I shall rue
his inevitable fall

into incontinence
disability
incoherence.

Jungle

Our home
succumbs to vines

mildew
eats out the entire
roof

wild pigs spray
on the crumbling
plasterboard.

Grandfather hacks
at this encroaching
undergrowth

raising a thousand
biting bugs.

But new
tendrils soon writhe up
lustier than ever.

Ultimately
the jungle will
reclaim what was
hers.

It shall be like
we had never been.

Sister

I remember

your hair pulled up
under a greasy baseball
cap

indecently astride
our white gate

a stalk of wheat
between your teeth.

Impertinently
flush with health

a rotten example
absolutely tomboy

egging me on
to straddle the gate
and sit like you.

Longevity

You always smoked
boutique cigarettes

adored deep-fried foods.
With misplaced pride

you announced
you were that
rare species

an entirely sedentary
animal.

I never saw a varicose vein
pop on your calves.

Once you suffered
a ruptured stomach ulcer.
The family gathered.

You had no pain whatsoever
you were hale
as a spring season.

Life-changing ailments
supercharged bugs

could never fell
an invincible machine
like you.

Universe

When I put out the garbage
the sky is lucid

it is possible to ogle up
at infinite stars.

I glide a finger
over the only constellation
I remember

travelling parsecs
in milliseconds.

Alien life, amongst
this wealth of heavenly
bodies

is assured. The mathematics
simply leans that way.

Narcissus

Watch my kitten
recline on the bed
grooming a paw.

A convenient pool
of sunlight
dapples her fur

she is exceptionally
satisfied. Her tongue

is massaging her coat
until it radiates a glow.

The perfect hedonist
she understands
she is immensely beautiful.

If I interrupt
she’ll unsheathe a claw
and look appalled.

Dare to disturb
her impeccable toilette

you’ll be sucking
the wheel marks
of her claws.

What I admire
is her absolutely
unshakeable
misanthropy.

Fatality

Scattered traffic cones
glass fragments
sprinkled like deadly
confetti

the young girl supine
on the sidewalk
her face gashed
mutilated by gravel.

Her head has impacted
the truck’s windshield

which is a shattered
spider’s web of hair clots
and gore.

I know she is dead or
hugely brain-damaged.
She does not sit up

blood wells from her ears.
I can’t help thinking
her fanned-out nose

makes her look
like a mole. She’s

been pulverized
is a lifeless
floppy doll.

Teenager

I watch you
in your swivel chair
gummed to your screen

broody
inflammable

you stamp out
my small talk

like it’s disgusting
vermin. I am afraid

to inch open your door
because you’ll snarl
spit hiss

toss up your hands
like I’m an irritating
moron. I think you

still love me
but it is utterly
taboo
to express

emotion. Yesterday
wrecking your vow
of silence
you praised my cooking.

It made me tremble.
I treasure those words
like a holy relic.

Homelessness

At first
his big toe bled

the purpled nail
suppurated

a fungal infection
lamed his entire foot.

Because he could not
limp to the night-shelter

December hail
drenched his mangey gear.

Because the bars had closed
a sneering lout
kicked over his
tin cup of pennies

stomped his last smokes
into a burgeoning puddle
of sludge.

Now the mad vine
of his beard
is itching with tics.

Not even the thudding
dust carts stir

the despairing apathy
eating his mind.