by Elizabeth Bolton
Green tears fall soft
Filth raked through thinning hair, what’s left
Plastered to the skull of the meek
The well wounded atop a glorious black nylon pyramid
Shorn by blades in want of new ways to be known
With a cool-fuzzed back of the neck.
Green tears lie cupped
Leather crushed in a hand
Small, fleshy, weak as a cherub’s
Squeezed to a paste and brought to the nose.
Pungent green Death; who knew of its savory spice
Winter’s knife won’t cut anymore. It bends, frustrates
Against paper plate against checked cloth
On top of grass abuzz and itching
Its mud-scalp sticks and peels, sticks and peels
Beneath the lush wet earth, burgeoning.
Ground drunk off winter lolls fat with it, belly up.
Winter tucks its useless blade beneath a napkin, decides
On bare hands, favors the sauced meal over dry crackers
Comforting only because we’ve seen it before
Every year the burying of instruments in napkins
The plastic clacks and snaps.
Livers thoroughly poisoned
We wriggle our fingers with greed.
The Thing That Laughs
The driest of horrors
Screeched through leathery throats
And the warmest wettest of murders
Thrown from twisted bellies
Are laughable. Laughable.
As it watches one of us shout a great big word out into air
And the rest jostle bridesmaid-like for it.
When it sees us stutter, slip and splat –
It laughs like the great big rumbling body of parents at a school play
A black and twinkling mass that waits out the years
Till it seems near well enough understood that down
Elizabeth Bolton is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto where she studies writing and its effects on the mind. In addition to poetry, she writes narrative nonfiction, though in truth she finds genre distinctions rather meaningless.