With a magnifying glass,
the children cauterize insects
found trembling in the grass.

Listen, Arthur, to the holy fool
who ratchets the cathedral bells,
extorting feathers from birds
with a dry and sunny clang.

Down at the picnic they hear the din,
and within a split second starlings
plummet into the salad bowls.
Smooth as meringue, smelling of hatred
and violets, the caterer hurries
the guests indoors.

You alone recline on the table
amid the berries, the birds, the overturned plates,
like a sacrifice to the god of good manners.
Arthur, I didn’t know you snored.

Alan Elyshevitz is a poet and short story writer from East Norriton, PA. His poems have appeared most recently in The Broken Plate, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and Wilderness House Literary Review. In addition, he has published two poetry chapbooks: The Splinter in Passion’s Paw (New Spirit) and Theory of Everything (Pudding House). Currently he teaches writing at the Community College of Philadelphia.

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