great aunt

Libby
who moved
to Sun City
to live with
her 3rd husband
a retired driver for
Consolidated Freightways
told me that she
recently
found a coiled rattler
near her pool slider
and a scorpion
sleeping on the gravel path
alongside her garage
and she suspected that
wild animals had
infected Demetrius’
food bowl
(her Pomeranian)
and that Nip’s
water dish
(her Siamese)
was compromised
in some way
so
she said that
the lifestyle
that she had imagined
when she was a girl
growing up in
Manhattan, Kansas
had evaded her
and now
as she approached
age sixty seven
her expectations had collapsed
due to the uncertain
and turbulent
housing market
and the unavailability
of jobs in the
hospitality industry
and she told me
quite discretely
that she suspected
anti-government activity
in the desert south of town

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the bill

I dare you to come after me
I dare you…
…to taunt me from the shadows
of the side alley on Williams Street
after I have been drinking at that
no-name joint next door to the
pizzeria that’s open all night
and I dare you to try to find me
in the morning when sun is
five minutes from rising
and the last hangers-on have
toddled off to the serenity of
comfortable beds and crisp sheets
and morning love
and champagne cocktails
and I dare you to locate me
through some long forgotten
personal ad in a bankrupt
magazine,
or from the 1978 Mankato, Minnesota
telephone directory
or through some
mutual friend whom
I haven’t spoken to in 15 years
or some
long retired
derelict watchman
from a Denver train yard
who reported my death
two decades ago
and I dare you to show up
where you aren’t welcome
poking and prodding me
telling me I have to
pay up one last time
submit to a final examination
so I can make plans
for the next transaction
and I’ll watch idly by
as you exhibit your superiority
in matters such as these
So
I dare you to locate me
when I don’t want to be found
when I want to be left alone
But you will find me in the end
you’re a treacherous old
merchant.