Two Poems by Linda Wojtowick

Beefsteak

by Linda Wojtowick

 

The glassmaker arrives in the gluey dawn and lights his fires.

On the morning walk his mind usually loosens, shakes free.

Past the anthills, through sheltering alleys and bread.

But this day is already strange. He finds a thing

wrapped in paper in the shop yard. There are teeth, pins.

He thinks he knows who left it. He has been a coward with her,

 

loving her thinly, passing for thick. He is afraid.

He wants to close the great rolled doors and slide the locks.

But he can’t. The heat, smoke. And he took an order

for halfmoon plates and has to work. His mind takes rasping breaths.

Sometime afternoon the nearby sea comes stinking to his ears.

He sprouts fever in a curling soup. He begins to pull

some new clear pellicles down and break them

in delirious arcs. The cement yard sinks.

Spiked grouse raze the fence like suns.

 

Vain

by Linda Wojtowick

 

Table 3, needs bibs, she can tell.

But they won’t ask for them. Unless a joke

is made, the wearing a scream. She guesses without effort

the evening’s events. Ties removed and pocketed

or discarded in their shiny cars. Now, white sleeves

pushed violently up. Hungry as dogs. Calcium shards flying,

pale strings of flesh. She brings them golden

beer for a while then, later, the glasses shrink

and the liquid gets green. She longs for

 

a clean room, breakfast at a window, New York music in the air.

A night’s sleep swallowed like a dense sweet cake.

 

A hundred fifty years before, in the building

across the street: pharmaceutical chemists leaned forever over tables

bleaching cloth and feathers and stains. On glass

they matched bacteria against wrecking chlorine in moving concentrations.

They wrung out parameters. Medical, commercial applications.

The thrill of wars followed them vibratingly home.

No filthy pigeons in their sheets. Radioactive glands

shocked the princely roaches from their sinks. Their tired ribs

adapted, spines fused. Like her, their bodies took longer each day to unfurl.

Breath pushing organs back to place. They tried each blue morning

to start unsorted. From a blank and bloody place.

 


Linda Wojtowick is a Pushcart Prize bridesmaid. She lives in an increasingly more crowded and expensive Portland, Oregon, where she can easily indulge her cinematic obsessions without restraint. Upcoming projects are: rest, and searching for things. Oh, so many things.

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Author: The Slag Review

A quarterly print and online lit mag

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