Bitter Witness and other poems by Jerry McGinley

The icy-eyed moon gnashes her razor teeth,
shrieks like a wounded possum, glares
at the starry-eyed lovers who pledge fidelity
by her light.  I’m not who you think I am,
she screams.  Swear by your own veracity.
I know nothing about your foolish passion.
I orbit morosely in my own frosty solitude.
Affirm your silly promises by the sun,
that fiery mass of gaseous bluster who
mocks my lonely existence with periodic
flashes of pitiful second-hand illumination.
I want no part of your misfortunate folly.


In dank stone corridors,
pawns plot to oust the queen.
In a naked oak outside the window,
a crow laughs, as he always does,
at poor men’s futile folly.
Caw, Caw, Caw, Caaw!
Caaw, Caw, Caw, Caw!


The hangman prayed, Father, forgive me.
Then looped the noose around his own neck.


Obituaries read like poems,
Eighty-three years neatly compressed
Blank verse into fourteen lines.

But I wished they pictured pallbearers
Wearing long black wool overcoats
And masks, mythic man-bear creatures
Who feast like crows on funerals.

Someday I’ll be the ghoul poet,
Scale cemetery fences on black nights
To chisel epitaphs with an ice pick
On cold forgotten gravestones.

Sunlight strains through
the red flowered dish towel
draped across his only window,
as through Sunday morning
stained glass in a haunting
memory many years past.

Stumbling from bed, he falls
three times, regains his balance
and rises. Then half filling
a blood stained cup with warm
muscatel, he lifts his eyes,
lips mumbling humbly,
gasping almost inaudibly,
may my sacrifice be worthy

About the author:

Jerry McGinley, editor of Yahara Prairie Lights, writes poetry and fiction.  His latest book is LAKE REDEMPTION.

1 Comment on Bitter Witness and other poems by Jerry McGinley

  1. superb!


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