an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22

 

Paul Koniecki

THE DAY FISH AND CHIPS WITH MALT VINEGAR
IN OURAY, COLORADO WAS BETTER THAN DEATH

Our first clue was a sign that said

In its best Charlton Heston voice

Narrow Roads Ahead

And No Stopping

For the Next 8 miles

No guardrails was a bonus and to clear the snow

Safeguards inhibit the surreal

Three ten-thousand foot passes in a row

Dancing off the edge of an earlobe

The ear is cartilage

My hands are cartilage

My brain is cartilage

This car is cartilage

Blind-turns switchblade cataracts

The switchbacks are cartilage

Then like a mystic fever vision

Or a bumblebee

Appears with surprising familiarity a

Clutch of Amish hovering

Three feet above their buggy

And I know I’m dying

And this my final moment of consciousness

The men

Their hats and beards looking

Exactly as they are portrayed in film

And that one time in a flea market

In Indiana when I was lucky enough

To see them in person

And buy a jar of their honey

No wives in sight ever

Like the Ents of Middle Earth

The honey and their sadness a

Heavy amber

Like metal for the tongue

Bumblebees too heavy

To fly and me and wife and car

Amish women in cerulean blue playing Entwives

Call Tolkien

To the birch forests just outside of Silverton

And we are back at the

Edge of the Million Dollar Highway

Inviting me like a selkie or siren to turn

Skin of air hot/cold avalanche loud

Stripping away my will

To turn

Swimming the mountains

Ocean-like

Beseeching to be touched

Making me want to meet the edge

And the over-edge to turn

Then and there

As a honeycomb

Fly into the ether sea-sponge coral reef

Dropping only like an inch

Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal. His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.