Broken Subplot In The Scheme Of John

One day he'll think it foolish,
his arm cradling the body
to the wet alley aside the cold revolver.

He won't remember any of it.
Not the pistol-whip introduction
of a man three-times his size.
Not his overbite stabbing,
scraping at the bricks,
how his molars loosened.
His brain will lie
about the feel of himself easing out,
oozing down
the inches of his inseam.

He'll never remember overtaking the bastard,
how he broke the calm across his spine--
how tenderly the bones could cry to the night
with only a whisper of strength.

One day he'll think it foolish,
how he should have just taken the shot.
He'll recall the voice of God that night,
advising him to be a good lamb and fall.
These words of counsel echoing
in the damp nights to come,
the same terms his wife will lament
come the first of spring.

This Black Fear

The black fear sits inside her stomach
uneasy like a bubble of bile,
of coarse hair, of tobacco juice oil
gurgling up into the dark spaces.

A midnight Cadillac waiting in the silhouette
of Third and Third on a hell of a note.
Her slimming dress wrinkles about her nethers;
the baited pit of her red-lipped seduction tingles
in the moonless air. The streetlights zap dead, sizzling
under their new masks like the men in shadows
buzzing out of the dark nooks--
this building pulse she cannot escape.

This black fear is all she knows:
black-gloved hands and black intension,
creeping out of the night and into her thoughts
of evil men and bad intentions,
groping at her with bruised fingernails--
decaying teeth gnashing in the back alley
of the Black Cat Saloon. She licks the black jack whiskey
from their rotten tongues in a spotlight glimpse of salvation.
Hides beneath the closed lids,
fearing traitorous senses as the pitch consumes her--
memories of the again and again
of her mother's wicked hands a hundred times worse
than the coarseness these men keep.

That New Car Smell

The rain's come again,
streaking beads along leather interior;
day six, and they still haven't found her.

The TV weatherman predicted less than
what we got; said it'd be sunny today;
worse at his job than Jamie was.

And all she had to do was remain faithful
and not burn the chicken casserole.
In the end, she could do neither.

The rain's come again,
depreciating loverboy's down payment
like the naked bodies decomposing in the trunk.

I must say, Lee Iacocca hit it like the man who nailed my wife--
I bought the same model yesterday; even paid extra
for a CD sound system and chrome rims.

But this convertible has failed
to give me a rise like his did that night.
If only the sweat-soaked scent of murder

came as standard as the perfume of a perfect purchase,
would I be joining her joyously
in the heaven or hell she'd see fit.

The Industry After The IPO

She sat cockeyed in her pinto-bean Chevette,
uneven nails digging nervous canyons
through her silk pants.
A million lies scratching into her rehearsal--

Dean's list, Honors, Sister/Pledge/Something of LIT, or
some horseshit. Fifteen minutes till the shiver of spine,
the tingle along the inseam, sweaty handshakes,
and cocky old farts looking down their crooked noses.

The daughter of a diplomat, a gymnastics champion,
she knew in the end it would all be about her end--
no matter the tale; she'd disrobe before the chamber,
the weight of a breast against her name.

A g-string genius in a cat suit clawing,
ready for the scene with the funky music trembling.
She slides out of the whimpering car
like a woman ready to take a fat one for the world.

Mr. Huskey holds a B.A. in English Literature. His work has appeared
in 34thParallel, Perigee: Publication for the Arts, Red River Review,
and Word Riot, and is forthcoming in Aoife's Kiss. He currently
resides in central Virginia.

2008 Underground Voices