Robin Ray

What a Difference Fool Comma Makes

I’ll blow up, America.
Seasons of posturing kaput.
Obscurity eradicated from my
dictionary, name carved on
sidewalks, Wikipedia entry in
braille. Television regular.
Pepsodent-whitened smile on
the cover of People magazine.

I’ll blow up America.
FBI on my trail like hellhounds,
hands trembling, throat too full
to swallow. Shackles, interrogations,
Public Enemy No. 1. Hangman
salivating like a hyena at the gallows.
May get unwanted kudos from ISIS,
won’t ever witness a sunrise again.

I killed, Eleanor Rigby.
No more living in a dream.
Standing room only, rafter-
quaking encores, tinnitus-inducing.
applause. Temporarily blinded
by eager flashbulbs. Management
pleased. Contract renewed for a
fortnight. Finally, headliner.

I killed Eleanor Rigby.
The Beatles, particularly un-pleased.
An icon erased. Friends, family.
public, disappointed. Constabulary
reigned me in, fed me swill when
generous, changed my name to
Solitary Con, where I’ll spend the
rest of my forfeited life.

I ate, my love.
Rice pilaf Caribbean style, even
microwaved, Michelin-level cuisine.
Thoughtful, her remembering me,
she, suddenly called to work. Sun
won’t set on her generosity. That
tune she hears? No fantasy. Just
me singing her praises.

I ate my love.
Recipe on loan from the head chef
at Le Bistro Borneo. Should have
marinated longer, still gamey.
Fricasseed next time? Maybe paired
with chianti. Goes best with red meat.
Hannibal would know. He was my
guest for dinner.


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