A Hundred Gourds 5:3 June 2016

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Gabriel Patterson – USA

Shark Bait

Red eyes appear as light darkens. Visions of sharks swirling in tornadoes are the last images she sees before bedtime.

She begs me to remove the shark books from her bookshelf crowded with titles of fairy-tales. She knows that darkness – like blood – is the trigger for hunting prey.

She will not fall victim to these predators. They wait for the moment to explode upward out of their books, darting over the ledge and splashing – jagged teeth first – into the carpet underneath her bed.

They're onto her trail. They've witnessed her curiosity through underwater darkness and from the crystals in the backs of their eyes.

They're always lurking, watching, waiting. . .

beneath her halo
my guardian angel's
devilish grin

El Rey

(Dedicated to the memory of Tito Puente)

It's night, and an all black limo centers the alley. Smoke exudes from the venue's exterior as a thin sheet of fresh rain covers the asphalt. Yellow light frames the back door as his Latin ensemble, filled with vibrant brass instruments, crescendo into the night.

A young man devoid of facial hair waits in the alley. The conductor emerges with an ear to ear smile. He pats the young man on the back and places two drumsticks in his hand, before entering the ebony limousine and escaping into the night.

a smile from Tito

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