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Issue 18

Poetry » Danny Earl Simmons »

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The Williamette

There is a spirit here
along the banks of this sluggish
gray river, a frigid thing that floats
like fog and weeps like an eye staring
from the middle of the back of your head.

He curls his bony finger
and summons you to take his place
among the somber contemplations that haunt
these gray afternoons with moans that seep
into the mist like the sick sweet smell of decay.

This spirit is tired
of watching mumbling faces stare
at the ground in furrow-browed conversations
that walk from here to there and always, always,
always all the way back again.

On Ground Beef and Certainty

They’re delicious with onions
mixed in and ketchup baked
onto the top. Of course, killing
is required, but we don’t mind –
we don’t do the killing. We hire
that out. Well, we lack equipment
and space for draining the blood.
Besides, our stomachs easily quease.
We also pay others to do the grinding.
For a very fair price, they churn
the once live flesh into a thick goo
of squishable ooze easily molded
into a variety of delightful shapes
that look nothing like anything
that ever once breathed. We often
choose to make ours resemble a loaf
of life’s best bread. Then we bake it,
drain it, slice it, feed it to our children –
force them to eat all they are served.