MP

“Dress,” Parker Tettleton

I’ll be Bill,
if you wear
scarlet.

A native
digresses out
loud.

Fuck the
piano, you’re
alight.

“Three Streams,” John Swain

In the cavern where three streams met
a loose stone peered like a god mask
jagged as the mountain and crescent.
Water distorted its more human likeness
on the opposite side.
I lifted the object from a dripping shelf,
its weight was substantial, unexpected.
I wore the face one instant for myself
and glimpsed distances and aging
in the blue eternities of soul formation.
A limpid pool cleansed me of the mud,
then I left the guard in its sacred place
and returned to the surface of bears.

“Night of the Rose,” Jay Coral

     The girl with a red rose was followed by a guy with a bucket of roses. “Sir, will you like to give your sweetheart a rose for Valentine?” The girl spoke in Spanish as the guy translated into English. “No, thank you. I don’t have a sweetheart today.” I raised my eyes to see if my bus was coming. The young couple did not move and were blocking the passer-bys. They were dressed for a date and their perfume mixed with the smoke of downtown. “Sir, you can have my sweetheart if you like.” He gently pressed her lower back and lightly shoved her body towards me. The girl lowered her head and he continued as she preferred to listen inattentively. “You look like a good guy, sir. Mi amor is lonely and she wants to be treated tonight. She has very modest wants and I cannot give her that. A nice meal, dancing in a club and—” “Stop right ther—” “I know what you’re thinking, sir: A girl like her does not deserve a guy like me. I would rather share her with a stranger than have her myself.” I caught the girl’s eye, “Is that true?” “Yes,” she said. After awkward lovemaking, I paid her for her time and imagined the money as petals scalped out of the rose bud.