On Sundays I enjoy a hike in the hills but not when hunters cascade from their duck blinds, giving chase to whatever they despise and fear.
Just after dawn an irreproducible moment seized my ankle, but by the time I turned to confront it, the body of a predator lay at the bottom of a gully.
Inevitable that during plague or war wolves infiltrate this settlement where we gird our cathedral in a scaffold of pathos.
With unwarranted zeal a lone boy kicks a soccer ball in a courtyard shaded by our clock tower. Passing by I lob the ball back to him yet feel disgraced somehow.
At home I peel the makeshift bandage from my ankle beneath running water while the cathedral irritates the morning with its trio of bells.
A neighbor summons me to confide his perplexity over the lethargy of his herd. He clears his sinuses then peels a brown orange, offering me a wedge.
Though the bells fall silent, the hunters keep firing away in the hills. A soccer ball bounces into the road with no boy behind it.
My neighbor augments his orange with black market sugar. He blames the wolves for their hunger and his sheep for their congenital languor.
Hoods Down, Pants Up
In the public library my black face darkens under lighting as blunt as a buzz cut. From behind his uniform and coffee breath, the security guard classifies me. Shelves surprise me with difficult corners. One room has computers and small noise like money. I don’t go in. I avoid stuffed noses in the room where children read with everything but their eyes. Smaller words save money, so I use them. I’d rather sag than straighten. I’d rather be a street of African faces like the one outside, yes, without books, but with rounded corners and eyes to the ground.
-- Alan Elyshevitz is a poet and short story writer from East Norriton, PA. His collection of stories, The Widows and Orphans Fund, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. His poems have appeared most recently in South 85, New Fraktur Arts Journal, and Riversongs. In addition, he has published two poetry chapbooks: The Splinter in Passion’s Paw (New Spirit) and Theory of Everything (Pudding House). Currently, he teaches writing at the Community College of Philadelphia.