This crime scene is
for rent. Shell casings
leave their gold

minuses everywhere.
Chekov’s Gun has not
gone off in the second act—

it is not even a gun
but an octopus’s
purple rune, signifying

This one’s means
of enlightenment is
very moist.

At the amphitheatre,
the paraplegics bet
on subatomic particles,

and the barkers bring
out a new contestant:
Next up is Edna,

a recent widow who
comes to us from
Ohioawa. Tell us

a little bit about yourself,
She wants to be
transformed into Betty

the Lesser, she wants
to be a Radical Spastic,
which is really just

a Platonist with tendonitis.
We have to look hard
to make out the small

charcoal particles of grief
swirling around her.
Is it better when we’re

purely theoretical, or
when we’re bleeding
inside our bones

but easily subtracted?
We don’t know. But
the records are clear

on our market value.
Here, we always sell
the negatives for free.


Author Image

Simeon Berry lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. Recent work appears in Hotel Amerika, Western Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and American Letters & Commentary. In 2013, his manuscript was selected by Ariana Reines for the National Poetry Series, and is forthcoming from Fence Books. He can be found online at

Feature image by Thomas Lazar, from Theater of Life series. Courtesy the artist

Click on the image to enlarge.

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