MR. AND MRS. HUGHES MAKE UP AND WAKE THE DEAD
Sunday morning and Sylvia
works the crossword puzzle with a
purple race track pencil stub
bitten to the quick like a
cocktail swizzle stick.
"Hmmm. Fauntleroy... As in 'Little Lord.' Or
is it Fauntleroy? With an "l.. e.." in the second
syllable there. As in "fondle?"
Ted shakes his head:
"Must we start
again now sweetheart? "
"Oh Teddy you know I'm so
reminded of that clever
cartoon on the Telly wherein
a lovable stuttering sailor
sucks greasy spinach strands
through his lung scars as
salve for his impotency..."
She blithely flicks a fingernail at Ted's
boxer shorts hanging on the handle
of the bedside Hoover, and regards
the croissant crumbs on his chest nest
like a swash of nascent gray hairs.
"And the skinny hysterical bitch with tits
the size of olive pits, she is terrorized again
and again by Uncouth Lumberjack -- only to find
sweet succor in the arms of her sailor chittering
back the night like a rabid ground squirrel."
Ted bangs the Op Ed
page against his naked thigh,
and stifles a sigh.
"The work," he replies, "Darling
how many more times shall I tell you
that our work is the only important thing!"
"Oh yes but then this Puffer Fish
of a sailor and that rakish bitch they
seed a spawn. And it will be.
such a sweet child."
Sylvia peels back the sheets.
feels the flutter-pulse
on her husband's penis
stiffening like the
ribbon spine on a
"Such a beautiful baby boy, yes. I can see his
pewter eyes pin wheeling like mercury pellets
in a petri dish, my darling. And that solitary
lock of hair on his shiny pate -- quivering so,
like Cupid's bow when he's held his aim too long."
Comes the blitzkrieg siren
in Ted's flaming red ears again,
together with Call and Response of
thin-air muses gathered like blue theater
gadflies on a Best Boy's gaffer plank:
"Her talent is so very
delightful to watch as it unfurls."
"Oh yes, and she will get
the upper hand yet. See?
How she inflames him?"
Muses tenderly blow
dandelion spores that
store sticky, tricky
of a poem Mr.
Hughes has not yet
wherein the head of some
unlucky beloved is wind-lopped
like a green sucker shoot on tap root
drooling slivers of white-hot sap.
Through gritted teeth Ted growls,
trying in vain to hush the voices:
"NOT NOW!" he
shouts above Sylvia's own
hair harder and
with both hands--
his poem will come
only in the instant
he lets go.
Dennis Mahagin's work has previously appeared in Absinthe Literary Review, 3 A.M., 42opus, LitPot, Edifice Wrecked, Frigg, Stirring etc. He was a Pushcart Nominee in 2004 and his book "Grand Mal" is forthcoming from Suspect Thoughts Press. He lives in Washington State.