Reprieve



Tonight the nightís reprieve
is slowly growing
                   teeth.              Under full moonís grace,
I donít care how many teeth she shows.
Instead, I wonder
           are her toenails painted and if so
           what color?
           Why, only yesterday I wore
                           a periwinkle blouse and seven
noticed and two named it.
                                                       –Periwinkle–
But I donít think
the nightís toenails are painted periwinkle
or music box ballerina pink or
even madhouse red.
                                      If she has toenails they are
                      certainly barren
field-mouse gray
ragged from catch under shudder of moon–
not full
           but lopped off moon lopped off
           at cerebral cortex
           like Jack Nicholson in that movie
                                                        where mischief
doesnít pay
                       and when the night flew over
she swooped hard
                               down                and raw.
Imagine knowing
                               you are dead before you are
                               all under lobotomized moon?

But that was last night.

Tonight the unhungry night
is only sharpening her unpainted toenails
on her many teeth
                               and isnít that better?



Ellen Bihler

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