poetryrepairs 16.08:087

DANIEL McTAGGART : Branch in the River
DANIEL McTAGGART : Airs of Absinthe
DANIEL McTAGGART : Short Order Cook

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Branch in the River

It's a lame limb. A discarded splint for a giant's now healed appendage. A makeshift pier for land-lubbing critters to fish from. It's a bridge for a step in evolution. A paint brush being washed. An adventure for children testing their balance. It's an arrow that landed the archer knows not where. A mystery for idiots. A solution for gravity. It's a compass for wanderlust. A serif on a flowing letter. A lash on a great eye.

poetryrepairs #227 v16.08:087

Airs of Absinthe

Water dripping on a sugar cube is akin to Watching a pot boil for tea, or an animal Waiting for its kill to expire. Dripping as syrup through A slotted spoon, into green liquor In a small glass below. The resultant ichor, a milky glaze. A concoction of culture And carnal desire. One that reaches its peak As coal turns to diamond, or As peat turns to oil. Imagine the determination And patience it takes To indulge in such a thing. This was no tea of commoners. This was the beverage of Baudelaire, Of Rimbaud, and of Verlaine. It was their destruction. It was the passion they once Poured into their works. Most rivers would go mad without Strong currents to saturate Stones swimming within them. This is why they shat themselves In shaded corners, letting their Once pristine clothes Disintegrate from edges inward. Why they allowed sinew of Their jaws to rot to the bone. Imagine a great green flame Throwing ashes up like stars, Chewed and spit out. Now imagine that flame reduced To embers, and you, Holding over the glow A pair of palsied hands In tattered gloves, the ends Of which were worn away Long ago, back when you Still could be warmed by Heat fading faster than you.

poetryrepairs #227 v16.08:087

Short Order Cook

his bulbous face, hewn into a permanent sneer by the chisel of his inability to enjoy life his stubble, a black stain dripping between his jowls and collarbones he's not allowed to smoke in the kitchen anymore an unsung policy dimly realized by consumers who comment he's not using as much pepper lately so he compensates by slamming the spatula on the grill the culmination of every impact splatters a greasy brown arc across the apron sheathing his rotund gut he doesn't talk to anyone without trying to bring them below his level when that fails his sneer becomes more deeply engraved the grill doesn't talk back so he attacks that with the temperament of a cruel child creating wide ellipses in the grease like scars of a victim healing again and again and again

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DANIEL McTAGGART's poetry has been published in Kestrel, Backbone Mountain Review, and amomancies. He edited the short story collection "Diner Stories: Off the Menu", out from Mountain State Press in 2015. He may be encountered in a bookstore or diner, writing about waitresses, the night, and other mysteries.