Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2018  Vol. 17 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

The Flavors of Despair

Every New Year, much like this one,
He would take the dog outside.
Together, they would discuss things:
How the universe didn’t exist
Before she came along,
How it was natural to hide a man’s
True feelings about government,
Until the demons took over,
How crying late into evening,
Into a good dark bourbon
Used to be enough. The dog
Had stories, too, but chose
To wait, knowing these things
Had to be let out, in order
For the three of them to go on.
He went on: When she fell,
Almost a year ago now,
His heart went into hibernation.
No one knew the flavors of despair
He would turn to in the middle
Of any given night. Once,
While shelling pistachios
By the light of his computer screen,
He’d considered it—what Chandler
Called The Big Sleep
Then looked over at her, resting
In the oversized chair, her hand
On their dog’s belly, stroking
The two of them into contentment,
And he’d decided to stay on.
Which brings us here, into
The wilderness of said universe.
God’s off playing a jazz club
In another galaxy, where
The clientele appreciates good sax
From pros. Sometimes it’s like
They’re on their own these days,
The three of them. The old briar,
Once lit, is a signal—as convincing
As the fire that began the affair—
About how far they’ve come
In perfecting and balancing the tale.
They look at the morning fog. Clearly,
Someone important is about to tweet magic.
Clearly, spring is just around the corner.
They have decided to change
The dog’s name to Attila. The neighbors
Are beginning to talk. Attila breathes in
The Syrian Latakia and Attila sleeps.  

return to top