Dream Poem: Of Driving a Red Convertible with the Queen
of the Underworld as My Passenger
When I ask her to tell me about Hell, She shakes back her Bette Davis-style hair And describes the circle Reserved for those who never learned to dance, How they’re hanged from nooses To sway and kick for eternity.
This is her way of saying that the disco is a must tonight, That she didn’t come all the way to Cleveland just to sit around acting dead.
But then the rains begin, The flesh of her human form Washing away Until all that’s left is a skeleton With an ash-blonde wig And sequined gown.
I drop her off at the abandoned subway station on West 25th Street, And she begins her descent down the crumbling stairs toward home.
O Death, my queen. Sister.
How long did I ignore your calls?
I leave my window open tonight,
For the screams of tires
Far off on Interstate 90.
Inside the Hoophouse
Falling from the sky over Beebe, Arkansas.
No one could explain what caused it.
Shoveling bird carcasses
From the garden,
By the dozen
Into a bucket
I continue my work,
Ripping out the sections of chard
The beetles have already eaten,
Trying to save what good harvest is left,
While raindrops break against the plastic canopy,
Sounding like the wings
Of a thousand birds taking flight.
I hold one of the plants up to the tarp overhead,
Inspecting it, careful,
As the tatters of a crushed wing.
Mark Schoenknecht holds a BA in English from Michigan State University and an MA in English from the University of Massachusettes—Boston. Schoenknecht has worked a variety of part-time, hourly jobs while focusing on writing poetry. contact