Poem Noir by Jason Gebhardt

This time I try characters. I give them names, Scandinavian ones, impossible to pronounce, hard to trace. I put them in a room with a desk. The fat man sitting behind it. The slender one standing before it. It’s a backroom enveloped in smoke. The pulse of music from outside overpowers their voices. As the slender man slides a briefcase across the desk, the door opens to a silhouette leveling a pistol. Both fat man and slender man draw and aim. The smoke inside mingles with the smoke from outside. Triggers are pulled. The fat man slumps. The slender one crosses to the doorway. Skjeggestad, he growls. My name’s not Skjeggestad, I try to tell him, my throat filling with blood.


Jason Gebhardt’s poems have appeared in many journals, including The Southern Review and Tinderbox, and his chapbook Good Housekeeping was published in 2016. He has received multiple Artist Fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts.

Photo by Lenka Sluneckova