Nancy: Have you ever known someone who seems so intense – so needy – who makes you feel like a picked bone?
Hungry Woman Exorcism
can slip your bones out through your skin
suck your breath
steal your soul
folks with the no-smile smile
What you can do
is spell the words wrong
say the names backwards
hold your hand over your heart
can shoot needles out of their eyes
you feel your soul
beating its wings
folks with the no-smile eyes
What you can do
is sit way back
walk backwards fast
hungry folks, make me nervous
That woman there
makes me nervous
I don’t want to see her back teeth
when she smiles
What I gotta do
is sit way back, far back
on the other side
keep my mouth shut
keep my hand over my heart
Hungry folks like that
give me a flutter in my soul.
Alan: If a world ends and nobody notices, does it really happen?
When It Ended
In that year, the tree frogs
did not clatter from their April puddles
at the feet of the spruce trees,
and the peepers’ helium chorus
failed to echo from the swamps by night.
In that year, the green frogs
no longer tuned their banjos – boing! –
in their pools, nor did the pickerel frogs
creak from the grassy edges.
Even the bull frogs went teetotal:
no more jug-o’-rums from the summer lakes and ponds.
The salamanders, the newts and efts,
silent already, went missing from the woods,
and the toads’ midnight trills
that once had electrified spring’s horizons
shorted out completely.
Country folk, who might have wondered,
felt their ears full of pulsings and fretted not.
Perhaps they imposed memory on absence,
or perhaps it had all been prerecorded from the start.
Everyone, country or city, in that year
and afterwards, had faces of the palest blue, and white eyes,
and they could not notice what they no longer cared about
“When It Ended” is from a work in progress, Annals Of The Nearer Soon (preliminary title).