“Awoke by D-Ray’s B-Day Muddle”
for Dennis McMillan
When the obits fall silent, dreams take up the slack
I was lecturing labyrinthine digs in strait-laced Kansas.
Rather, some whelp was ignoring me until Gary C and D -Ray
Showed with drawls so rich we soon flowed like tepid syrup
Towards a Brutalist lecture hall while stars tinkled in full spectrum.
Frosted grass snapped crispy as crickets underfoot
When the crack of well-capping plywood disappeared them
Only splashes, mumbles, and a neatly-dug ovoid were left.
It widened pool-sized, and Gary crawled sodden
Up a slant wall, and joined me, dress-shirt bright
D-Ray still at the bottom, pale as catfish belly
Not bad looking for a corpse, we agreed.
“Can you save him?” I volunteer.
“I won’t make it out under this load.”
“I’m too weak, too,” I brag.
Bubbles so feeble they wriggle sideways
Is all that’s stirs: Water’s never been more clear.
“Maybe we’re too late; it’s been a while.”
“But it really hasn’t, just a couple minutes,” says Gary.
“The cold’s gonna kill me. What about a rescue?“
“You’re it,” I now see around us useful rubbish, frayed hoses
Slippery rags, and the thickest cordage coiled short and fat.
Spliced, a perfect fit, soon I’m wrapped neat as an anaconda’s gorge.
One goes in and two come out, me a-shuddering while
Fuckin’ D -Ray sputters not, his creases sharp as ever, ordering,
“Let’s git! Before an air of unease fucks with my high.”
Bio: I once published drug fiction under the nom de plume Charles Fischer. Now, I anxiously await the news about who won the race—the world or myself—to go up in flame.
Artwork by Michael Kellner.