When a friend of yours dies,
in you he keeps on dying.
— Pablo Neruda

Freight screeches iron rails across the savior’s face.

Cousin phones (or Aunt, Uncle twice removed) determined
to consolidate what must be consolidated lest the bank
take it all.

Snow leopard refuses the flaming hoop, opting instead
for ten thousand years of solitude.

I drift to Rilke’s panther loose among cotton candy vendors
and aberrant pitchmen, pausing beside some green tea frozen
hunger artist cross-legged on a bed of filthy straw and shunned
in favor of rifles spitting corks at vanishing rows of plastic ducks.

Every one of those coaches lied, life hanging by touchdown
or 3-pointer knocking ’em dead, two possessions up with time
for one more . . . least that’s what Ecclesiastes said—I read
the Sunday Times!

Time to squirm like a star nosed mole, headlamp intact,
to sniff those moldy arteries.

Just say Uh! and we’ll know you’ve been hoodwinked.

Me, too.

Whatever shall we do?

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, including his latest, Violin Smoke, translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published by Iradalmi Jelen Könyvek publishers. Read other articles by Alan.