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JB Mulligan

mulching

The crunch of rotted wood and mold
as the pitchfork bites in, then pulls.

The wobble of unruly wheelbarrows
down the cobblestone path of the park.

Raking the mounds over patches of dirt
in the grass, around trees and bushes,

next to the stone wall.  The body groans
underneath the screaming yellow T-shirt

slashed with the sponsor's name.
A day off from work to work harder.

Those who did and do this every day,
who scratch life from indifferent soil,

don't joke about beer and back rubs,
or watch a perfect ass in taut gray pants

clench, release, clench, release,
behind that skittering rat of a dog.

Life somewhere might be limited to
a woman who has sagged with work and children,

whose face is a soft puddled smile
that used to light like a lover's moon.

But here, I get this T-shirt,
and we stop at noon for free pizza.

JBMulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years. He has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, and two e-books, The City Of Now And Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation from the Bible). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them, Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet. 


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No Mote
black swans i almost didnt see
but for their glowy beaks
red as sumac- they didnt match
the dark tones of lake, stuck out
like your lust for me while i read to
the children all cloistered- who could
hear me even from the colonnade,
all hickory and hops-vine, where
i saw you watch me from inside
a white willow tree.

mergansers with their heads trailing
swam among dead stakes of lotus.
that belted kingfisher bode us a
good day, and returned the
children to their cages below bald
cypress knees so naked i had
to look away.

you willowed no longer, i took leaf to mean wing, and feather to mean ivy. i took a shaded path back
to the armory. it got hot and thick
and i could breathe more heavily,
rapt on high, no mote of hope.



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