Another Thing I Love About Her

I mention downing some coffee at one
of those European cafes this Friday evening
with an old girlfriend who wants me
to see some shots from her hike in New Zealand
and help her decide if her boyfriend's marvelous stamina
in the sack and his potential as a successful accounting magnate
can compensate for his awful fear of commitment,
his incompetence at house repair and auto mechanics,
some things that to her seem questionable
she found amongst his underwear and read in his diary.
Without looking up from the newspaper,
she adjusts up a strap of her blue halter,
squares her shoulders, yawns,
and calmly asks if this woman wants
bullets in both her bronzed, elegant kneecaps.
She settles into another position in her chair,
throws me a toothless smile
with a flash of her green eyes
without seeming to notice or judge how small
in gratitude and relief I am for wanting
this simple sign she still cares.

Lest The Public Might Miss It

He scanned the syllables, the stresses
in type before him on the page,
and with an eye detached from pride
and ego, as if that of a summoned stranger,
studied the freshness, the lucidity,
of line, rhythm, and image -
how the sleek red head of the woodpecker
peppered the bark of a sickly willow oak
with its beak. The theme could be Darwinian -
the predator nailing the least clever
and slowest of the parasites, strengthening
the fitness of the gene pool in the swarm.
Not, certainly, enough to sustain a canzone, sestina,
villanelle, or even a sonnet, but something
the Muse might return in greater substance
that would prove worthy to be a stone
increasing the majesty of his life's monument.
And if not that, he could suggest the image
to his mother, who might well tat a doily of it.

- William Aberg