Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Twenty-two
Spring 2010
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Symposium
Jessica Reidy

Would you massage the skull? Keep
it hidden?
Who agrees
with this man? Really.
Can you trust
someone who canít keep a cactus alive?
As you can imagine, there was uproar
among the marble busts.
Sophocles succumbed
to fits of cough and Zeno took
the chance to mutter ad infinitum.
But who ever knows how
to tend cacti? Itís an art of neglect.
Surely, it should count for him
not against.

Cold noises of assent
swept the corners of the room.
The walls turned the color
of the woman selling grapes.

Bring it here! For inspection!
shouted Socrates. There is a reason.
                      Green, to be expected. Yes,
                      and withered soft.
Its spines became a horseís slack
jaw. The soil brewed mildew.
                      In Mexico, this never
                      would have happened.
But in Mexico, they form like stars. Open
to a tiered heaven.

The busts speculated with no progress.
Sophocles announced it was a complex
issue. More angles than the cactus
need attention. The plant took
this opportunity to fold itself
and leave, a portmanteau tucked
under its claw.

About Jessica Reidy

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