Poetry: Anne Hasenstab

The Difference One Button Can Make

is the distinction between
scarlet letter and virtue

a delicate variation of
sternum and breast

permitting eyes to rest once inch
below neckline instead of three.

The difference one button can make
is the misfortune of a mislabel

the reputational sting
of leaning too far forward

and the silent demise of perception
moving quickly to the posterior.

Black Licorice

It’s the invariable
of love versus hate,
the arid tang
of earth and sugar
confronted on the palate
by realization of preference.

Either choke or savor,
there is no in-between,
no moderate like or dislike,
only one extreme to another,
like ears to a Zappa record,
each riff unraveling

rhythm or drone.
Or perhaps a nose inhaling
gasoline, each scent a discovery
of saccharine under chemical.
And as the oddities
of our likings emerge,

there will continue to be
those who prefer black to red,
consuming in cult fashion,
despite tongues laden
with molasses and
inevitable cotton mouth.