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     The Literary Review

Page 16

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I possess the key to the box,
but decision weighs around my neck
like a noose tightening slowly
until breath struggles to pass
between in and out.
I yearn to toss the key into tall weeds,
but who would discover it?
Who looks twice at the past owner
dangling in flies from the hanging tree?

I covet the key to the box;
scheming, dreaming, planning
a plot to steal the key.
Like a piece of chocolate
melting in my hand the key
holds no decision. Pop it in
the lock and open, release,
credit or blame after discovery.

  Diane Webster__


Her red lips lead the high school girl
at Taco Time to take my order.
I try not to stare but glance
often enough that she should notice.
But isn’t that what she wants?
Attention? Red lips like the wax
red lips I clamped between my teeth
at Halloween and finally ended up eating.
Red lips like a match head eager
to strike against a coarse surface
and burst into flame exciting
and dangerous simultaneously.
Red lips like a clown smile smeared
in exaggeration to instill laugher/terror.
Not once did the high school girl
smile. Perhaps her teeth imitate
another Halloween wax of crooked
teeth marked by black, toothless holes
so her red lips press shut with hardly
a breath breaking free, and I almost
laugh thinking about her lips
turning blue for lack of oxygen.

  Diane Webster __


Under the bridge the homeless man lives --
a fairy tale troll imperiling all pedestrians
brave enough to cross in stroll manner.
I stand on one side wishing to beam over
in Star Trek style or at the very least
requisition a phaser, but this biscuit
must fulfill and pay my toll.

The old bridge flakes rust into the river,
and someone thought it a bright idea
to nail planks across the bridge’s floor,
like Oregon trail wagon ruts
in raised relief so if driving,
your car must follow in line
or veer off in bouncing holey hell
moment of plunging off the bridge,
splashing in the river, floating a second
before sinking, driving with the current,
then buried like a giant catfish in silt
awaiting a tidbit to drift past.

But I am on foot, and the troll listens
beneath the bridge for my shoe echo
on wooden planks, and I am afraid.
Afraid I will slip off the planks,
turn an ankle and lie in splinters
dreading who or what appears first.

So I run, I run sure footed, fast,
and on the other side I fling
the biscuit over the bridge’s edge
hoping the homeless man catches
and lets me pass on my return.

  Diane Webster__


The woman stands facing the bank,
her back toward traffic behind her.
She stands cross legged
like pee presses urgently
to escape, but she defies
bodily functions with a straight back.

Cigarette smoke dissipates through air
puff after puff as she balances one leg
across the other until she strolls
nonchalantly inside.

Vision of a crouched run,
unzipping, tugging
to the bathroom barely
made to ecstasy
behind closed doors.

  Diane Webster__