October 2012


Driving Through Minerva, Ohio 

This town’s dead, you say.
Nothing ever happens here.
I mean to tell you, my dudes and me
are here to put a little bite in it,
me, who they call the Bed Wetter,
and Zombie Bob and Zombie Bill,
some pretty cool names for a vamp
and his hybrid buds.
I make beds wet, all right,
soak them with blood and feed
the scraps to my vamp zombies,
the double double dead.
We’re going to give you plenty to talk about
besides the weather, besides
who’s been stealing your parking spot, besides
the local who’s who of screwing.
Soon, pretty damned soon,
you’re going to be 100-percent right
about the town being dead,
this time for good.

The Conservationist

A child of the Great Depression,
my father was.
He shared the same bathwater with six siblings,
was third in line of hand-me-downs,
taught me to waste nothing—
like the scraps I feed to my pet Alfred:
livers, gizzards, bones.
Nothing goes to waste with Alfred around—
Alfred, a good old zombie.
Pet zombies are the latest craze for vamps.
We are dead only by definition—
zombies and us.
We waste nothing, not even death.

Robert E. Petras

A Heartless Fire Consuming Itself

You shock me.
Like a lightbulb
afraid of the dark.
I cannot burn out.
You cannot burn up.
Even when you find me.
Flashing backwards.
And using up your night.

Pillowed Like Clouds.  Or Torpedoes.

The disasters numb within us.
One after two.
They build the glaciers.
The rivers.
And the frozen forests
of our breath.

Don’t touch me.
I am too afraid of the fire.
Feel me sweat.
In nothing
but the gaze of your eyes.
That suffering is enough.
To kill.
So why must you always take more?

A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has previously published four collections of poetry: The Difference Between Shadows and Stars, Carrying Yesterday, Cognitive Distortion, and . . . And Other Such Nonsense.  She has also published her work in national and international literary journals such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Writer's Gazette, and The Penwood Review.  Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at Facebook and Twitter.

The Memory Of Love

As sleeping children
Place their arms
Around their pillow,
So we embrace our grief,
My fingers tracing circles
On your moist cheeks,
Your warm breath
Caressing my ear
With words like “it’s all right”
When clearly it is not.

Language cannot bear
The weight of our sadness
Our grief is inarticulate,
Torn from the heart,
The barely audible cry
Of a lone whale
Seeking out his pod.

Our son has disappeared
Without a trace,
An almost man
With stubble on his chin
Who loved funny hats
And Monty Python songs,
Who played klezmer
On his clarinet
And danced to gamelan.
Who wanted clowns
To lead his funeral.

What dark vision
Propelled him
Beneath the truck’s wheels,
We cannot say.
He left behind
No parting words,
Just an out-of-tune piano,
Sitting in a corner of our bedroom,

People greet us on the street
With homilies about “God’s plan”
And the “peace” of Heaven,
We don’t want him in a “better place.”
We want him here with us.

Yet all that remains
Is the memory of love,
Tentative and fragile
Like insect wings
Preserved in amber
And the half-completed imprint of
Cretaceous leaves on shale.
Our only proof of his existence,
Our only consolation.

Kite Flying at Crump Park

I searched for you
In early morning reveries
And midnight dreams,
Turning in my sleep
Until the covers
Lay  entangled at my feet.
But you had left
No forwarding address
And there was silence from your grave.

So I composed a poem for you
Of all the tender words
That had remained unsaid between us.
I wrote it on the streamer of a kite,
Praying that the wind would find you.
Your grandson insisted on drawing
A bright red heart at the end
For the Mimi he had never known

I hoped the purple dragon
With its fire-breathing nostrils
Would not offend you.
I knew you would have preferred
The children’s favorite animal,
But the store was all sold out.

We raced across the field,
I unwinding the spool
And your grandson clutching
The last bit of line.
A gaggle of sleek black geese
Scattered in our wake.
Let go, I cried.
The kite performed a somersault
And slowly started to climb.
I alternately tugged  and let out twine
Until, reaching the end of the spool,
The dragon broke free at last.
Soaring higher still
In the boundless azure sky,
It shrank to the size of
The dot in the question mark
Which follows the words,

Art Heifetz is a retired State Farm agent, returning to his first love, poetry. 13 poems published thus far. Submitting since June