Bio Note: I am the author of a little rain, a little more, published by Bent Paddle Press in 2018. My poems have appeared on the internet and in print journals, including After Hours, Bramble Literary Magazine, and The American Journal of Poetry. I own Avol’s Books LLC, which sells used and out-of-print books on the internet. I also serve on the board of directors of The Council for Wisconsin Writers.
There are zero places in the world named Compassion. There are four places named Hell. Too many? Too few? There are zero places in the world named Empathy. Two places named Hate. And though there are forty-three Paradise and eighteen Jesus, there is no Heaven. There are zero places in the world named Racist, but five named Bigot! All of them pronounced “be’ go” so they don’t count. To some it will come as no surprise there’s one Straight in Oklahoma. Around the world there are twenty-six Gay. Indiana and Ohio have one Patriot; of the twenty places in the world named Freedom, the US claims seventeen. Can you believe there is no Deception? With three each it’s a tie between Happy and Sad. Fortunately there’s no Boredom. And though Friendly numbers two more than you, that’s no reason to give up, Lonesome.
Jenny on the Bus
I like to feed the squirrels that run around in front of St. Vincent De Paul. My old boyfriend was ex-marine, arranged his clothes according to their color. Before I was evicted I fed a squirrel every day from my kitchen window. I’m on my way to meet my son and go with him to his first AA meeting. I was about the same age he is now when I became an alcoholic. I worry about what happened to that squirrel, you know, because she was pregnant.
A pile of bleached clam shells. One unknown caller after another. The low clouds weigh nothing. A tuft of fur blown by the wind. Yet their pressure is relentless. The breath of a wolf in pursuit. Color grows tense, vigilant. Every word is slick with rain. Rocked by sirens, by silence. The pallid hours filter through us.
©2022 Ron Czerwien
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