Ben Passikoff


Mikhail

Baryshnikov
and ilk pose taut
in special space before
their sudden feet
percuss.

Potent, their toes
utter new arcs
of somatic
possibility.

Inscribe the air
anew with birds
like Picasso
passing through.

Their listening feet
hear alien oboes:
subliminal
Stravinsky.

Alternate animals,
birds in ballet.
limbs in last music:
the end of flesh.

Death of Orion

Suppose the gunning hunter
murderful, intoning elegy
of older auricles, awaits
self-carcass freezing, terminal -
the winter of his skin.

The ending bells he hears
have tolling tongues of ghoste
deer and ducks gunholed
by dawn water or dusk
into his similar eternity.

Equally zero, their hoofy
or webbed specters holy his
sudden church, his unseen ever
edge of heaven - blue as the sheen
of stainless rifle stock unshot.

The Undertaker


Undertook too heavy
a coffin descending.
Slept suddenly.
Awoke only to difference
of death.

No-show: himself
mortal customer
of his black business.
Special delivery;
address unknown.

Jimmied into strict serge;
eternally veined
with in-piped ichor.
Well bewept.

Whispering shoes
eddy around the box
carpentered
for his ironed-out limbs.
Reverent Cadillacs
of eight-cylinder silence,
history-rich in float of funeral
front the murmuring quorum
of Chevies and Fords.

At last levered under
allotted grass in winter city:
past tense perfect.
"This is true black ink of the ledger",
he could have thought while harping the hereafter;
"It is is a business decision sainted by Muzak:
the elegant box filled with final profit."

No expense spared except him.


Ben Passikoff is a retired engineer. His poems have appeared in The Quarterly Review of Literature, the Atlanta, Harvard, Sarah Lawrence and Texas Reviews, Literal Latte, Orbis, Pedestal Magazine and a truckload of other journals. His pursuits are poetry and survival.

 

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