The caterpillar-yellow animal
chews hungrily on the corpse
of the Regency College Hotel.
The beast grazes left and right,
snapping up floors and walls
eviscerating their memories
of drunk post-game wrestlers,
pale faced losers and winners
of desire or despair, the robot
salesmen well-oiled enough
they’d finally crash into sleep–
all cement cells busting open.
Jets stream over fresh wounds,
holding the bloody dust down,
silencing voices, keeping peace.
I remember my uncle, the Irish
drunk, who’d duck to feign a jab
and whack me upside the head.
We’d twitch when he showed up.
In the days of those diseases you
never mentioned, when we heard
there was something in his head
that was bad, it was. Turned out
Aunt Vickie wouldn’t go to visit
because if he wasn’t tied down
he’d pitch his dinner clear across
the room, along with everything
his rage and meaty hands found.
Then they poisoned him good–
and the others– until he quieted.
All of them, just like the Regency,
pulled apart one floor at a time,
water spraying on every side like
fountains on fireboats, baptizing
battleships that slide triumphant
into harbor after a harrowing war.
Philip Coleman came to writing after years teaching chemistry in university and high school because, of course, poems are a molecular art. His work’s been published in The Mountain Troubadour (VT), Eunoia Review, Trouvaille Review, Neologism Review, Quail Bell Magazine, Interpretations II-VI (Columbia Art League, 2016-20), and in six ekphrastic exhibits in Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri.