The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

Derek Annis

Man for the New Millennium

I know it’s a cliché

but I could tame a snake     ride it through the city
smiling     gold teeth shining
with sunlight

certainly     we have all considered lifting
coins from the pockets
of these children as they chew on our rat
poison tablets

call me the one who does

those who fail at this violence
will grow     nothing

but useless     I once felt

a warm light on my cheek     a faint
memory of it roams
my room at night muttering
something     I believe
it is trying to kill me
the thought of losing it drives me
to knife myself repeatedly
and solder the wounds
silver     so that in moonlight

I shine

Sunday Afternoon

I walked beneath the bridge
and removed a loose
brick, but nothing happened.
The river went on
uninterrupted. I wanted
and wanted and lit
a smoke, threw the brick
into the river, uprooted
reeds from the muddy bank
and found a doll’s
head with all its hair
burned off. Orange-tipped
hypodermics winked at me
from the dirt. Traffic rattled past
overhead. My smoke swirled off
to wherever smoke goes. The brick
settled among the smooth rocks
at the bottom of the river.
When I asked myself
out loud
who cares?
the river made no reply.
Over on the other bank, a cloud
of flies sucked shit from a pile

of fish guts. Who cares.

Derek Annis is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses (forthcoming from Lost Horse Press). Their poems have appeared in Colorado Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, and elsewhere. website

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