Living without incident for days at a stretch
yet conditioned to retain a readiness
to tighten casual manners—
On the rack of good behavior
after air-drying jackhammers & linen
and then to a sit-down lunch:
chopped lion in a lamb’s bowl.
I’ll be just as nice as I possibly can
and as mean as I have to be
as wires crossing a jumping rope
from little girl to Mike Tyson
hold sway depending on which
image gets flipped off:
The springbok in her waning breath
does not take the cheetah’s jaws personally.
Mark Kerstetter is an artist and writer from St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the author of One Step: prayers and curses and The Mockingbird Sings.