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     The Literary Review
                                                                          Issue 8

Page 73

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As Dulcet Tones sucks
juice from a pomegranate,
his mother tells him that he is

a blob. She laughs,
doesn’t mean it. Usually.
Dulcet lobs the pomegranate

at her head. Ouch,
she says. Night shows up
at the door selling subscriptions.

Dulcet’s mother tries
to convert the salesman.
No sale. Dulcet would have liked

A magazine. He reads fissures
in the moon’s surface, billions
of years near his eyelashes.

It’s enough.

  Kenneth Pobo__


Dulcet Tones’ grandmother Ada
called herself the toast of ’46. Gentlemen
asked her out every day of the week.
She wore white gloves and corsages,
talked of this perfect necklace of time—
that ended when she married Herb,
nice enough, like a turnip on a window sill.
Ada thought he’d make big money.
She’d have corsages from rare
cataleya orchids. Instead she had four kids,
each like a car with something wrong
under the hood. My mother was the best.
She sighed often. It's like a dream
hid in the jewelry box of her life,
but a thief pulled her out anyway.

Dulcet Tones looks for a stronger jewelry box.
He hears footsteps in a dark hall.
The door opens—he looks the thief in the eye
and waits.

  Kenneth Pobo__


Mr. Cheevers said that his hero
was Robert E. Lee—Lee,
always honorable, we should be
honorable like him.

I bought all this, wore a gray jacket
to school, colored a Confederate flag
that I hung above my Illinois bed.
When I prayed, mom insisted
that I pray before going to sleep,
I asked God to make me good
like Robert E. Lee. Two decades later

I learned that Lee beat his slaves,
claimed blacks were inferior to whites—
he took this for granted. This history stuff,

who controls the stories? It’s better
to turn on a light in a dark basement,
even if you see cockroaches skittering
to the corners, even if they come at you
and crawl up your leg. I want the light.
Despite the fury that comes with it.

  Kenneth Pobo__


© Bob McNeil: Cruel Cop
© Bob McNeil: Cruel Cop


“Everybody’s Out of Town,”
a song B.J. Thomas sang
in spring 1970
when I was fifteen, wishing
everyone would leave our town,
including my family.
I thought that it would improve
with every house gone silent.

Instead, neighbors fought with each
other, gossip sang the hymns.
A gay boy, I didn’t fit
in a town with pink roses
and lavender mailboxes,
rainbows above garages.

  Kenneth Pobo__


Dulcet enters the storm cellar.
The tornado drops
garbage cans all over heaven.

He doesn’t go there
to protect himself.
Risk might be better.

He calms a wailing
Zanzibar stamp,

feels it relax in its mount.

  Kenneth Pobo__