A Poem by Robert Beveridge


Refreshments, always, in the basement, sweet

on the tongue, yet ashes in the belly. Too

preoccupied, the crowd, to keep track

of their children, for once allowed to run

wild, play games otherwise forbidden—cowboys

and coroners, steal the turnip, charades.

You took time off from the elephant factory for this.



There's always one distant relative, in your case

a third cousin, who shows up already redolent

of Hanobska's cheapest marionette, pulls on a flask

when he thinks no one's looking. You try to remember

if he ever did, in fact, meet the deceased. You

come up empty.



                     The prayers are in another language

without warning. You wonder if something has gone

wrong with your brain's translation module; how

much of your family even knows Ukrainian? You

pick up another lemon curd, nails still dirty

from yesterday's shift, place it on your tongue,

feel it combust.


Vol. 2: Salad Days

Vol. 2: Salad Days

Vol. 1: Engaged and Proposed

Vol. 1: Engaged and Proposed