Humor, Evolving

The art of humor seems to happen less on the page
            And more when direness

Pulls its reins – a need, hunger. The art of anger
            Has no reins, of course. Who needs

Control when it’s already lost. I can hear every word
            When the spiral happens. The slippage

Into cold sweats and clenched fists. I can feel it
            Right now. Art of humor, that’s where

We were. Almost lost it.
            Yes, humor is flinging bread

A little too hard at gulls as a child. Or changing
            Your voice to sound like that man

In the toll booth, who you later realized was
            Very Ill, and you never were the same.

I did forgive myself
            Eventually, once I had to work that same shitty job.

I now laugh at bank statements
            And foreplay. I laugh at you when you sit on the cat’s tail.

I walk to the kitchen and mutter something about
            The dishes and take a note off the fridge—

A grocery list with that funny way you spell detergent
            With a ‘j’. The man from the toll booth

Had his larynx removed. Birds die, often fly into windows
            Or get sucked into jet engines. The humor

Is there, somewhere in the back row, light as a feather.
            Maybe a girl in a sundress. Maybe a man

Next to her in suspenders—their lives beginning or
            Ending. They laugh at a spilled cocktail,

Maniacal at first, then with a soft touch
            To the wrist.

Ryan Favata is a graduate of Rollins College, where he received the Laura van den Berg Writing Scholarship and the Arden Goettling / Academy of American Poets Prize. His work has appeared in One Throne Magazine, Red River Review, 94 Creations, After the Pause, Ricochet and others.

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