Another Small Death

Assured his references would be fine, two week’s notice was given, severance check guaranteed.  That would give him one month total to get a life.

Freakyfour years gone just like that.   Exiting in long strides through swinging doors, Gary walked to the elevator.   This whole building, all twenty six floors, would be there when he was gone.  His work was unimportant, in a few weeks nobody would remember him.

His hands hung in a gesture of hopelessness.  His tongue covered with thick crust leaving a bad taste in his mouth.  He sat down more numb than anything else.  Shuffling his options like broken glass through his mind…if only one thought could come out straight, one sliver of truth.  But truth could be hard to handle, like shards of glass, slashing your face.  The bleary sky was streaked by blood red rays from a setting sun.  Night approached deep and dark.

After a few drinks, he fell to a troubled sleep.  Down down down in an enormous black elevator.  Pushed down in a dream.  Too short way too short to push the elevator button to make it stop going down down down.  How had he become so short?  Down down down hating it, not wanting to be in this enormous moving grave.  Angry and wanting to cry out.  Too short and no matter how much straining to reach up, he could not press the stop button on the enormous black elevator which plunged at breakneck speed down down down.



Light and Shadow


Red yellow and brown leaves colored sidewalks, it was Saturday.  A surge of energy filled her right after leaving home.  Honking their horns, cars and trucks sped by.  Winds caught her hair, cold air snapping her awake.  Gloria glanced at her wrist watch… about three hours to visit the school library before closing time. Hunter College library contained neatly lined titles all stacked in rows.   Large numbered placards hung from book cases.  The Dewey decimal system arranged everything in order.  She liked that and the feel of books thick, thin, short, tall, dense, light.

Professor Adler had explained how philosophy is the love of wisdom.  “We begin with some questions and continuously burrow far beneath the surface of ordinary thinking.  What is real and what only appearance?  Can we find truth by thought alone?  Without referring to reality?  Whose reality do we consult?  How can we conjugate the verb to be?  What is?  What is not?  Is it possible to define nothingness?”

Gloria sat near the bus window watching ideas grow before her.  Enormous elegant ideas sprung alive effortlessly.  Probably trillions of thoughts had eluded her previously!  Perhaps the mind held a safe-deposit box where delicate mechanisms wait to be spun open?  Certain combinations cause our most essential thoughts to tumble forth.

She thought of her favorite tree, the sycamore standing on the corner.  That tall tree seemed to have always been there. Remembering last spring how it stood with leaves swaying in lemon green whirls through warm breezes.  Months later everyone gathered in the ample shade.  Then racing against the first sign of frost, foliage dropped to the ground…brown and crumpled.  What had once been fall becomes winter.  The moon waned behind the sycamore.

Arriving home, she set about preparing hot chocolate.  The kettle sizzled, boiled and finally whistled.  Warming her hands with the steaming cup, she leaned against her bedstead.  The last heat had sputtered off.  A small assignment pad and large spiral notebook lay on her nightstand.  Over and over fingering white pages, waiting to press her thoughts upon them.  Every sheet must be filled with knowledge written in beautiful script.  Listening to the clock softly tick in the dark, she waited as if on the edge of something.  The glossy cover of her notebook fell shut.

An icy blanket covered her bed.  Leaving on her socks and robe she shivered between cool sheets.  Night time inched forward with ideas too enormous to simply rest.  They must be considered under star light, under white moon.  Shadows caressed her then slipped their long robes over her.


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane and Poppy Road Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Two of her poems were finalists in our 2014 Halloween contest.  She has four e-book titles and four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.