The Birth of Munch by Kyle Hemmings

It was a cancer sky and a stormy night.
Wind chimes jangled in deep tones then did not speak.
Frightened dark-tossed ravens dropped from the belly
of clouds because the sky was a trick mirror.
That is to say their identities were reversed,
stratosphere to ground soul, their little hearts
were the shape of a witch’s omen. A displaced Maribou stork,
hungry and bill-clattering, ousted Munch from its pocket.
The weight would only bring the both of them down.

The stork eventually died from suicidal tendencies
that stopped being migratory. After living feral
in a forest of need, making friends with the foxes
disguised as lemurs and the toads managing the monarchy
as rabid kings, Munch made friends with the rocks.
After all, they formed a pattern of stepping stones across brooks,
ponds, shallow bodies, etc. From then on, he developed
a fondness for anything hard. The man who took him in,
wingless and a beard full of night, kept der Junge alive
with the fried souls of furry creatures. As Munch aged,
like holes in a cheese, der Vater illuminated his nights
with gangly fingers and the trapped reflections in animal grease.

Then the surrogate father went blind. Then he fell
from the last window in the house. Munch felt love
and pain and all kinds of self-betrayals. In the city,
he acquired a job selling perfumes to loved-starved
ladies imprisoned in their own loneliness.
Many claimed they were from Munich, but Munch suspected
they loved Paris because in urban fairy tales every girl did.
Their favorite scents: fig, cupcake, Indica, tangerine, Pink Martini,
Tibetian Spice. Forest rain. Munch didn’t have the heart
to tell them the origin of that one.

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey.  His latest collections of poetry/prose are Future Wars and Split Brain, both on Amazon Kindle. He loves 50s Sci-Fi movies,  manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the 60s.


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