Saturday 10/10/2015 Two Prose Poems by Michael Julian Arnett
I wake with a sneeze and shift in my skin.
A four year-old girl was shot in her own home by a police officer responding to a 911 call. She had been badly cut by broken glass. The quick-thinking officer felt that the right thing to do was to shoot the family’s dog because the dog had charged at him but he missed and shot the girl (still bleeding) instead. Whoops! the officer probably exclaimed. Both the girl and the dog were unarmed.
I go to the library because there is a book sale there, but all I find are dozens of copies of The Da Vinci Code and The Kite Runner and Angela’s Ashes.
I come out into inexhaustible rain.
I am only dressed for exhaustible rain.
I spend the afternoon in two different book stores, going back and forth, indecisive. The rain comes and goes, gathers, disperses. I’m wet and hungry and indecisive and hungry.
This morning in Ankara, Turkey 90 people were killed and 246 injured by a bomb blast during a peace rally. Tonight thousands more have assembled in the streets.
But for the old couple at the window, two listless waitresses, and myself, the restaurant is empty. I pay the bill and down the dregs of beer and walk outside. The sky is a bruised shade of purple. The streets crouch and contemplate the concept of free will. There is a man playing a piano at the street corner. I give him the $3.78 in change that has been jingling in my pockets for the past eight days.
I’m New Here
Settled as a marble sculpture at my desk by the window, soaked in the aluminum glow of a cloudful afternoon, the rest of the room shade by subtle shade getting darker. I didn’t know the power had been out for four hours, KO’d by the bluster aroused from the bay.
A procession of
wracking gusts elbowing its way
Tourists crouched into themselves, rattling across the street into the sanctuary of the corner antique shop. The tents at the street market under siege all morning. The black sand summoned by the gale stings like granulated sparks on my left cheek. The Olympic fires will revel beyond containment, whipped into frenzy by the wind. The glowing wound on the evening horizon will grow brighter, deeper.
The street vendors relent,
pack up their fruit and flowers
and go slouching home.
My sweatshirt hangs by the hood on the hook on the closet door like a limp, freshly executed ghost. Shall I go to mass or sit staring out the window? Both can be occasions for devotion if the heart concedes to take off its hat and bow. The ebullient clouds still hang over the bay
squall. Or was it a gale?
I’m new here.
I should be writing you a letter and sending you books, but if you could see the way the sun smiles on my hand as it rests on the blank lined page you wouldn’t write to you either.
I keep trying to
find your smile in my words but
Tonight I parted my hair differently and ate dinner in front of the mirror, even wore my tweed jacket. I opened the window as open as it could open and invited the streetlight in. Half a carton of leftover fried rice. Half a bottle of pinot noir in a bag under the bed. I should call my mother but she will just ask me if I have been eating well.
Michael Julian Arnett‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in BOAAT, Eunoia Review, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, HARK Magazine, The Altar Collective, and tNY’s The EEEL.