Wander Word


o penguins how lovely

By Abraham Smith

Abraham Smith is the author of Hank (Action Books, 2010) and Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer (Action Books, 2014). He teaches at University of Alabama and lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

a dove in a tux for sure
and did they carry trays with salmon sandwiches
and thimbles of twinings and cucumber bits
like good little waiters
aren’t they smart like fluent in six languages
or am I thinking of blue whales yes I know it
greats are both lovely and moltenly
irritating when they eat for example chicken
my great uncle opens to entire wings
older lower flying times
asks after the washski after the barnski asks after
eye-talian dressin asks who it was what last saw
that neighbor of ours
the big dumb fat swede and
the hay ride cost a nickel do you think
we had a nickel? no we shore didn’t
though he can lord one tough over us
none have known
flour sack underwear
to nettle the privates
as we saunter through barcelona
lonesome and detached from the war
ploosh ploosh went his niece’s arms into washing suds

in other folks’ houses that’s how they made ends meet after
max got run over by a hay wagon and lived
yes it’s a shark vertebra I was dreaming it was
me slow dancing with a macaroon breath manatee
was the manatee put that ice shaving in my ear
shark swish of our boots
shark peck on the cheek swish of our boots
shark and lying on my kitchen table yes I see the seismic denture shine
it's a day glow green cowboy shirt constellated with rhinestones
like greg brown says people say small things
when they stay too long in little rooms
o I am at least a gooseful of hours outdoors everyday
the sun these days is geeked in bees dandified curative elixir
say now what is it the curate uses on his bleeding gums?
answer bee’s knees
bowling ball talc and the penguin joke
concerning the penguin and hyena
down at the rodeo it goes without saying
my grandpa’s head is one helluva circus
never was a religious man
people say he walked with deer
tickled their chins
flipped kernels of field corn
off his thumb
in and down their dog nun hatches
alzheimer’s now sad because
never would have wished to live this far from deer
happy when he doesn’t pine
happy when his bed is
cut from skin of moon
how much you need?
and bart and brett and starr and favre
a five a hundred
million million
my ball playing shoulder pads sleeping
thousand dollar bills
I sign a dream in ball playing turf
and pretty gals with dentist drills
dig up my scores
patch them in their watered patch and never
run short again
listen to my grandpa
thin as howled down birches
sawing off another
stretch pants aphorism
other day he says and he
paints his eyes up and down to where he is silken and invisible
could walk through walls into the blue pens if he wanted to
into the 69 ounce shit bag of cola if he wanted to
lifted to the painted mouth of the lady in the office who’s just now
licking an envelope full of tenants’ checks
costs 3000 a month to stay in this assisted hoohaa
would have wanted us to
put a little t-shirt on him and send him out in
zero wind chill saying go go on gramps
go on out and find the pin sheared off the tractor last june
paints his eyes up and down
last night jesus come by
you know jesus is back and he’s all around
I see him sort of sashay in and sing
jesus bill they’re making electric cars on the cold side of the moon
no joke and a raving coffee gnashing
flashlight coffee kind of guy jesus has his
leg up on my bed and he’s keeping time on
my sternum and he’s frailing on this little
guitar you would have thought was half dead
he says this guitar was once an orphan what got the mange
he says
you got good belly muscles seems you laughed
a lot in your prime mind and I says
cut it with the eye-talian dressing drizzled on
iceberg lettuce speeches bub
and I says the most pained thing ever happened was
brother clyde in that mummy ice down by the river
and no I never hardly laughed I was yelling
goddamn it this fucking christmas tree
my ma died giving birth to me why I
swing a heavy axe in the month of february
see then jesus sorta put his slipper up off my belly
and onto the side of the bed to where I could
contrive my arm under the bed and
jesus says I will just do a little elvis number for you and I says
fine that’ll be fine I might just call in some of my
good old great big dumb swede friends if you don’t mind
o bless his fig herring heart
jesus closes his eyes to say he don’t mind plus to
try and you know calling collect connect
and that’s when I snake skin my arm under the bed
and come out with this great big lug of an old tire iron
and rare it up
and just when he lays into how I ain’t nothing but an old hound dog
wham see I clock jesus right over his fool head
and awoosh see he separates into a million a million
breaks down fast to moths butterflies
sparks sparring gloves stars footballs
which I catch one of the footballs
and make a dash for the end zone
where this band is playing
I can’t say for fact the toot
but I do say galoots smooching tubas
and clyde swinging a fountain drink
drumstick down on frozen birds
and how I sorta slipped off
into the silver innards
of that music playing machine