burls and bird’s eyes

it was not supposed to rain today

none of the mourners

has brought an umbrella


gentle mist

is beads up

on black suits

polished shoes


runs down the sides

of a mahogany casket

tracing manic patterns

across its burls and bird’s eyes


giving way


tracing a serpentine

path through a forest

of nicked up chairs

and tumbledown couches

he finds his way

out to a decaying deck

standing still

his mind consumed

with nothing


he begins to wonder

how many times

he would have to jump

before the wood

at his feet

gave way


she is marvelous

while most folks

would lean

on a stubbly brick wall

welcoming all casual

Observers to bask

in their carefully

crafted casualness

perhaps a cigarette

burning forgotten

in their hand


Sophie looks

to the untrained eye

(and those schooled

in observational technique)

as though she is a critical

component of the building

as though the architect

has placed her thus

with great intent

form following function


poor Sophie

it appears

has been tasked

with holding up

that damn wall


J. Lewis Fleming, a graduate of Michigan State University, lives in a house on a hill in the fog with nine other mammals. He was poetry editor of: nibble, Cranial Tempest, and CannedPhlegm. Fleming has seven chapbooks to his publishing credit. The first: Delirious and Purple, from Kitty Litter Press. The best: Shades of Green, from Alternating Current Press. His favorite: it is winter, from nibble press. Tweets @nibblepoems.