by Ann Howells
Last night a cat burglar scaled the yellow brick wall,
jimmied my bedroom window,
snatched catalog, cataclysm, catamaran,
words hidden beneath my tongue,
also, caterwaul, catastrophe,and catechism secreted
at the back of my throat,
tossed them willy-nilly into his pillowcase.
My dictionary is pedantic, thesaurus extinct.
Pencils shift listless in their coffee cup.
Bulimic envelopes regurgitate anorexic papers
my impoverished breath might shatter,
scatter assonance and consonance across the carpet.
Computer, that ubiquitous cricket, shrills spondees,
rubs pyrrhic feet, peeps and pings.
Keyboard taps staccato rhythms. Blank-faced monitor
stares, refuses to play, remains spectator.
Surge protector winks – two cherries and a lemon.
Two lemons and an orange. Two oranges and a cherry.
No jackpot, no how.
Ann Howells, of Dallas, Texas, edited Illya’s Honey eighteen years. Her books are: Under a Lone Star (Village Books, 2016) and a D/FW anthology she edited, Cattlemen & Cadillacs (Dallas Poets Community, 2016). Her chapbook, Softly Beating Wings (Blackbead, 2017), was published as winner of the William D. Barney Chapbook Contest. Her latest collection, So Long As We Speak Their Names, a series of poems centered around watermen on the Chesapeake Bay, will be released in spring from Bowen Books. Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, I-70 Review, Paddock Review, San Pedro River Review, and The Langdon Review.