The Widowmaker at Owl Light
A Bards on the Run Poem

Michael Brockley

Aloha Shirt Man finishes off a poem about a woman who collects roadkill skulls. The fragile craniums of nightbirds. The souls of possums. He is typing poems for hire on a gunmetal-gray Underwood in an abandoned warehouse that hosts a twentieth century speakeasy. Two highpockets in zoot suits escorting even taller women in Prohibition dresses pass by as Aloha pecks out the first line for a waitress named after a state famous for its peaches. He hums “Sweet Georgia Brown” while imagining himself a virtuoso accordion player. Although he thinks Squeezebox might be the bee’s knees as a juke joint moniker, he autographs his poems The Widowmaker. Claims he can “erase” unwanted spouses with the Underwood backspace key. At the bar, Stilts and Goliath argue over how to jury-rig fuse boxes into robots. Ignoring their sequined Shebas who tap their stiletto-heeled feet to “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” Two keystrokes later, the goons vanish, replaced by the ghosts of barkeeps eager for a last-call hustle. A crackerjack pick-up line from beyond the pale. The widows celebrate their windfall with a devil-may-care jitterbug to the dance floor. At his typewriter, Aloha tinkers with a poem for an artist who crafts sculptures from dryer lint and the gum she scrapes from the bottom of her shoes. The ghosts of moonshine runners mingle among the revelers, picking pockets and switching key chains. Having worn away the arrow on another backspace key, Aloha downs a shot of Heaven’s Door whiskey, an appreciative bump from another newly-minted widow. 

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana where he needs to have a tree cut down so his pollinator garden can get more sun. His poems have appeared in Hobo Camp Review and Wild Word. Poems are forthcoming in Book of Matches and Unbroken.

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