blackmail press 26
Caleb Puckett
Kansas, United States of America

from: Angipanis of the Abanimal People - Andy Leleisi'auo
Caleb Puckett lives in Kansas. He currently has pieces in Great Works, Otoliths and Radiant Turnstile. His prose collection, Tales from the Hinterland, is available from Otoliths and his poetry chapbook, Desertions, is available from Plan B Press.

The Bengali Bride
for S

Gilded with the gloss of turmeric and wrapped in a ruby sari, she hovers
past a twist of peepal trees and ascends across the arc of the shoreline
where a myriad of floating fires, fruit rinds and reflections of high-rises
merge with the interminable mehndi of curious gazes, generations seeking
or biding out such shimmering rites-living with the ripened idol of grace.

Oppenheimer's Child

After bidding farewell to the wind-blasted alley,
the yellow-eyed Mezcal mutt you nurture
will follow you back to the concrete bunker
where canned beans bake under a broken lamp
and a wet poster of Jalisco jukes and rolls
with each broken string of thunder
quivering like the heavy light over empty Okinawa.

It is there, in the sterile womb of broken war bonds
and the thousand-eyed hydra of umbilical cords,
that you will reacquaint yourself with the old hunger,
crawling low between sheets and shells,
crying out for exile and twisting your crook's thumb
in the direction of San Diego or Pomona-
somewhere back beyond the flowering arms of Okinawa.


The old granary stands scuffed at the roots,
stooping over this careworn route
where spray-painted trucks-for-hire
creak through another yellow Friday afternoon
in search of the verve that will draw out
sustenance despite the fallow future,
the inevitable weathering down of usefulness
among the errant sunflowers that swarm
around the mile markers defining easy exits,
suggestive always of some pardoning arc of time
pushing desire beyond the plans of the city fathers
who were long ago so defamed by their stakes
in the ground and bound by their greed that they
became little more than a pile of parched ledgers
flung across the cement floor beside these scales
stripped of measure but still able to gauge
the degrees between convalescing or obsolescing-
a red arrow of blood edging in from the West,
a plow blade breaking red clay under clouds
where the rain once again withholds its blessings.