Bewildering Stories

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Tortoises or Turquoises

by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

Airplanes are houses like bullets with white metal wings,
Suspended on ether over American back yards;
a floor, a ceiling, and thirty thousand feet of nothing

Circle plots of out-of-season flowers are
transfigured with faint strains of songs
the Faeries only sing for you, with your one
foot in the ring and one in the forest;
a bridge between a life of endless treachery
and a tryst with plain reality

Insanity is the crawl of intangible bugs
that click their mandibles
and whisper of a time
less haunted by the ordinary

(like a broom with three arms that speaks
from the hollow of a dark brown knot
in a splintering voice; three tone,
taking turns to let me know the worst is over —
the worst is yet to come)

“Sure and you could find a nicer lake
to drown yourself in. Sorrow and
sense make a tense relationship;
why not lift your legs and dry them off,
go on now, there’s a good boy, there’s a
towel over there.
don’t you wish you could be home?
don’t you wish you could be calm?”

I like nutmeg jelly
spread out on a piece of toast
gabbled over at tea with three
old ladies: a maiden, a mother,
and the other one —
sometimes they are kind
sometimes they are furious.

Copyright © 2004 by Ian Donnell Arbuckle

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