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‘Desdemona’s Corpse’ and other poems by Barry Vitcov

By: Barry Vitcov

Desdemona’s Corpse

Desdemona is asked how to play a corpse
Shallow breaths
Running future lines in my head
She said

When confined to bed
And my cells are almost done
No longer subject to the sun
When roses no longer bloom
Nor sweeten the air with their perfume
My room forever empty
My breath growing shallow

I’ll run dreams in my head
With pictures for you to imagine

When we walked in a park
For the first time
Became intoxicated when smelling peonies
Drank coffee with endless abandon
Spoke of the future
Lived in the present
Wistfully measured the distance between the two
Looked at each other for the first time every day in those early years
Found the power of quiet touch
Made love outdoors by the creek

Those are the dreams
I’ll leave for you

Desdemona’s corpse is alive
And so is mine


Gefilte Fish

There are always a couple of jars of gefilte fish in the fridge
And a couple of back-up jars in the cupboard
I must alert my wife before opening one
She can’t tolerate the smell
And the plate I use must be thoroughly rinsed
Before being placed in the dishwasher
I don’t think it’s about the plate holding kosher food
Contaminating the other Christian dishes
At least I hope not

It seems that my son has inherited a distaste for this delicacy
He snickers when I have a couple smothered in horseradish
I prefer the red beet colored horseradish over the white prepared variety
With a couple of dry matzos on the side
(Which he enjoys with butter and jelly)
But his Chinese girlfriend enthusiastically tried some
Savoring it for some time
Before declaring it good
I think our cultures have quite a bit in common

I used to eat at a Chinese Muslim restaurant
The food was halal and close enough to kosher
I’ve never kept kosher but enjoy the experience
I’m not a believer in myths
I rather cherish the secular results
And Moses is the most mentioned prophet in the Quran
Unfortunately Abraham’s choices cleaved two cultures
Families are strange sometimes


Spider Web Tango

The fragility of spider webs is age-related
Astonishing old timers
Whose web-making becomes more chaotic
Over time and decomposition

These intricate structures
Composed like Brazilian tangos
With rhythms and sensual undertones
Seductive entrapments
Growing ancient and intertwined

Spider webs collapse from the weight of dust
And their remains are used to build another
The residue of toil transferred
Like mass and energy
The physics of our lives


There’s A Pet Crate

There’s a pet crate in the middle of my living room
Where my standard poodles often lounge
We call it a condominium
I doubt they discern any difference
Between a wire crate and luxury living
Although the crate has a fluffy pad on its floor
And does rest on a carpet
An inexpensive carpet
But a carpet no less

One black and one white poodle
They won’t share their open-air condo
It’s always one dog at a time
They seem possessive of their space
I often wonder if dogs are connivers
Seekers of the unknown and misunderstood

I’m always apologizing to the UPS and FedEx
Deliverers because of my dogs’ harsh barking
There doesn’t even need to be a package left at our door
Just the sound of the vans idling outside initiates
A barrage of guttural barks and yelps
I seem to be the only one disturbed by impulsive mayhem
Disguised as affection

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