Jeffery Bahr

In The Bunker

The sommelier pours hock into the L'Angelus
while children restack Legos into tombs.
A journeyman barrista sports a new tattoo —
the steam hits skins of scalded milk. The rooms

here tingle with WiFi and heirloom jewelry.
The ceiling is a trompe l'oeil of rout.
The floors are stainless steel on stilts, the three
walls without views are sandwiches of doubt-

proof R15. Between the artful sponge-remarque-
on-plaster and displays of cashier's checks,
it's easy to miss windows looking out on stark
white rage, behind which veil, a raven pecks

the body of its mate, a black bear eats its young,
a lynx chews off its leg. All miracles
without the transubstantiation. Here among
the rank converted, housemaid Vera culls

the canapés and proffers trays of fresh Bee decks.
The Dummy wanders over, whiskey-propped
to see his Ten harrumphed, a royal card wrecks
Daddy's rubber. Weaveresque “Have IQ's dropped

so sharply?” dribbles from the East. Someone's been wise
about the latter days of Rome, someone has left
the door ajar. What's left of all that's warm defies
the Second Law and, pulling in its cleft

and tummy, leaves the realm of univision,
squeezes, soundless, through the bright incision.



Because there are no trees nor hope
       for trees & light like this
       means painting the deck red

every year, whorish
       until the first snow, then dull blood
       then tamed beneath a deck chair

& you in it. Because
       there are no birds besides
       a third-class tourist bus of grackles,

the odd consonant of geese,
       your view is undisturbed: cardiogram
       of rock, rise & backlit pass

from God's ring finger. Because
       winter is fickle you sleep
       on redwood (blizzard, bastard sun,

blizzard) & swap out brass
       & touch up spots from March
       to May & the trees,

if there were trees, bulk up
       & chitchat, sweat bees
       whispering Sisyphus,

brush in your hand,
       one color
       in mind, one color.


Fred and Betty Take Their Vitamins in Estes Park

The painted bear outside the French doors is caught
in the rain, parable on his lips. My mother's hand
is out. Dad drops red gelatin, small white coffins.
I've had my brushes with death, and now they say
life drifts from here to Mars and vice versa. A man

in a slicker fishes the brook that runs through
the lodge grounds. I'm always surprised
by expressions of faith. Now, green powder,
brown diamonds for the bones, bubbles of yellow oil.
Their palms rise laden with the weight, their mouths

expectant O's. I'm reading the Gospel of Saint Thomas
(elks bellow). Maybe He was just a bossy Jew, quick
with a tale, the rest a retrofit. It's time for my kids
to arise from their sleeping bags on the cabin floor.
The bear holds a shivering finch in his wooden paw.

bluebutton.gif:   bluebutton.gif:   bluebutton.gif:   bluebutton.gif:   bluebutton.gif:

© Copyright 2004 Avatar Review
Comments or contact: