look back, look back
you will be Rorschach
a print of a man
so slit the blinds gently go ahead be my guest
and nudge the veins open to peek at your worth
the truck across the driveway, a barricade
its motor left running, pinned, wouldn’t you say
while scorchers with torches stampede through town
winds from the shipyards fan the brimstone
poisons break against the seawall at the end of your blood
the flood plains swallow the runoff of the wicked
who gasp incantations, a sea dead of sorcerers
knocked out by the whitecaps, skinned clean on the rocks,
and hardened to the landscape of a chokehold frontier
with tight leather gloves left behind dropped carefully.
Ken Been is a former speechwriter and copywriter. His poetry and prose are often set in Detroit, where he currently writes. He has placed poems in Passages North, Midstream and Chunga Review. More recently, his short story, “Iodine,” is forthcoming in Hospital Drive (University of Virginia).
It continues to snow dust.
The sun comes out of the closet.
Jays enter under the door
jumping over a line of air.
Maybe it was just the light,
cracked somewhere, leaked out,
lucky—I thought you shifted away
in voice, my mouth to hear,
My senses are a cushion, and yet this horror appears to taste my morrow. My alarms are useless because they are on fire with the rest of my home.
Be honest now—
just for a minute; I cried.
I had him locked out—
a perfectly good wish.
Privately, for over a year now you drove off and left me.
The place cooled down beaming and bright—
put my name on a silencer (it’s not the end of the world).
In the mirror, the wooden bust of Christ Nicodemus carved
and Joseph commended to the sea, stares out for reflection.
Only a true spell
of fittingly glamorous phenomena
repaired sunstruck imagination—
Too big for your body, the whale of a bed will go on sale; also the dresser, its
three-linked mirrors tall as sails.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.