Gingerbread House Lit Mag


Pipe zombie is pronounced in French. It is a Caribbean wildflower with folkloric uses.

It’s always hot love or vengeance
     That makes all you people
          Come here to see me.
You want to fly on hawk’s wings
     Past her old parents
          Right to her window.
Or smooth slither the garden
     With serpent’s venom
          For the one who cut you.
So you come to see Mama Lo
     So I’ll make you change
          And then return.
You think you’ll have satisfaction,
     I’m not so certain,
          I think you’ll learn.
Do you imagine, after riding the sky
     Above trees and the sea,
          Taking prey in your claws,
And after that, being yourself,
     Blinking your old, blurry eyes
          On her balcony,
Do you imagine you’d hunger for her,
     Or lust for the vision,
          Fast flight, and talons?
Do you imagine, having worn emerald skin,
     Having moved in pure silence
          Through the bright leaves,
Feeling soft heat and small tremors
     Of all life around you,
          Knowing at once,
Do you imagine that rage could still burn
     After you’d lived in
          The reptile’s calm?
Yes, I will change you with pipe zombie,
     Balsam apple and jellyfish,
          Ashes of girl’s bones.
But you will change past humility:
     In all shapes, a thing.
          A bug. A dead stick. Dirt.

Rick McKenzie

Rick McKenzie has been published in Minnetonka Review, Pearl, Wisconsin Review, Front Range Review, and Hiram Poetry Review. His poetry has also appeared in HIPology: Horizons in Poetry, an anthology published by Broadside Press, and in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper of South Florida. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University, taught as a preschool teacher for years, and then worked as a park ranger. He enjoys being outdoors, whether snorkeling, canoeing, camping, or hiking. 

Artwork: Chie Yoshii, “Pandora”


This entry was published on April 30, 2016 at 12:08 am and is filed under 18 (April 2016), Archive, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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