Two Poems by Gregory Crosby

By  | June 30, 2014 | 1 Comment | Filed under: Poetry

 

Two Poems by Gregory Crosby

 

Unfinished

Our basement was Hell’s attic. Father called it
“unfinished.” We would sneak smokes down there,
under cover of sulfur, & play eight ball
across scorched red felt (all the balls were eights).
In winter, we would stay down there for hours,
even though only one channel came through
that Moloch-sized, black & white Magnavox:
The 700 Club. Whenever our parents fought,
one of them would scream “Go to Hell!” & laugh.
Once, we found the Devil’s high school yearbook,
in a blackened old box marked For Goodwill:
dig those crazy sideburns! We giggled & felt
the prickly heat on our necks. “I’d sell your soul
for an ice-cold Coke!” It was an old joke.
Good times, that basement. We never meant it.

 

 

Waiting for The Great Pumpkin

Nothing to be done, except: open bags
of Kisses, Red Hots. Staple a new
rubber band to your blank face. Work a razor
into the heart of a Red Delicious,
spotted but crisp, & push the needle
deep into the nougat with a snicker.
Make a Blood Orange punch to wash away
the dust of Pixy Stix, while remembering
that doorway: every year, a black monolith
in a shroud of cobalt light. Wide open, it
purpled as you blinked. No one said a word.
No distinction between trick, treat. Only
abyss, & the fog of masked breath. Waiting
for the moment when Death, her forehead high
& white, her blue eyes Kohl-black, arose from
within that pitch, & flung caramels
into your trembling pillow cases
& melted, black on black, back into
the void, not having said a word,
her skull’s grin almost a smirk. Waiting
until you were back on the sidewalk
for the scream: not in release, but promise.
Remember how you never knew Death’s real
name… only her address. Eyes, everywhere,
empty, flickering, watching, unseeing.

There’s something we know that we’ve forgotten
we know. That’s why you wait. Something asks,
shall we go? Forgotten—but the night is young,
getting younger, darker by the minute.
It will be any midnight now. This year
for sure. For certain. In the darkened
foyer, ready, holding your bowl, your breath.
The porch light is out, & you are silent
& swift. You are beyond faith. The doorbell?
Doorbell works fine. You tested it yourself.

 

Gregory Crosby’s work has previously appeared in Court Green, Epiphany, Copper Nickel, Leveler, Ping Pong, Paradigm, Rattle, Ophelia Street, Jacket, Pearl,  and The Scapegoat Review, among others. He used to be an art critic, but then thought better of it. 

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