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Simone Muench




Trouble came and trouble

brought greasy, ungenerous things:

poke root and bladderwrack,

chalklines in bloody bedrooms

and black reptilian bags

smelling of acetylene.


Trouble came and trouble sang

shush-shush or tell-tell

for I alone will break your bones

as it bedded down for winter

in a small small town,

smelling of cabbage and tripe

where eight black chickens

wandered the street.


With trouble came clouds

agitating the cows, their thick

ruminant bodies clogging up

the riverbeds.  Trouble came

and sang and fish turned belly-up,

house pets appeared in the well.

Children started dying

of oddities that the small-town

doctor could not name.


Trouble-houses and trouble-towns.

Trouble came in one hundred waves,

in sparks and hexes, with horse-breath

and spiny borders.  Babies born

with clubfoots and cleft lips, babies

born with partial hearts and partial heads

and some just born plain dead.


Trouble is and trouble was

and trouble came and sang

shush-shush or tell-tell

in a small, small town.


          -First published in Caffeine Destiny


Desire Takes a Road Trip to New Orleans


Desire changes her name to Desirée

so people will stop asking if she’s an abstraction

or a reality.  She buys a blue Nova, spins towards New Orleans

via Texarkana where she saunters into Ricky Dell’s Roadhouse

for a Gibson chilled with onions that she pops

into her mouth before leaning over the bar

to lick the bartender.  Eight days later,

he still shakes with the wisteria scent of her hair

and the sweet acid of onions hovering over his upper lip

where his mustache singed away. 


All the matches in the bar are black by the time

Desirée shifts into second with the ease of a boy

switching his affections from his mother

to his first girlfriend that he finger-fucked in his Dad’s

silver Impala beneath a moon hung in the sky

like a wind chime.  The stars sounding out a song

that only those with an ocean beneath their ribs can hear. 


At Trenton Episcopal, Desirée decides to use the bathroom. 

The choir boys are singing Hallelujah

when she jaunts in like a lucky horseshoe.  Suddenly,

their platelets ring her name while God’s golden mallet

hammers away at their malleable, sin-soaked hearts.


When Desirée arrives on the esplanades, all the boys

on the bayou gather to sing, with crooked hearts

and crooked feet we flee, down a crooked road

as we pray, Oh Desirée.  She slits her skirt

up her creole thigh, strides likes she’s late for a date

with Dante Alighieri.  She’s got nowhere to go

but she likes the leg’s elongation, the stretch

and flex of muscle, the way the calf

bunches up like a ball that she could spiderweb

the windows of those indifferent to her siren serenade.

And she knows if she practices her fastball

she’ll shatter the glass ceiling of heaven and shards

will scatter the earth in a simulacrum of lust

as the flushed lips of sordid saints say,

Oh Desirée, Desirée, only to you we pray.


                -First published in Crab Orchard Review