finished the cake), a soggy lemon
crescent lolling in the red bottom
of the drained punch bowl,
and the house a mess. We ate like kings for days.
2. Charlton Heston's Holy Rags
Our lucky man puts in his first appearance.
We cheer, ski the front seat's vinyl
into the plushy pit beneath the dash.
Just as sure as we're missing the chalky mints
discretely placed between the moistened lips
of the Reverend Sisters of the Eastern Star,
he'll save us from plopping frogs or locusts,
clouds of hissing told-you-sos
invading bed or pajama cuff.
This time around, though, he's neither
good nor wise: He tromps palatial corridors,
a smooth-cheeked boy in Roman bronze,
all greed and good looks.
No green smoke wiggling over a host of snakes
ready to be turned into walking sticks;
instead, he lifts his hand and an urn,
kicked, stutters across the tiles:
The car speaker crackles scorn.
What brand of righteousness is this? Squeamish,
we stuff our mouths with more buttered corn
and count the things gone wrong—
there's a sister rotting away in a cave,
too many sweaty people being whipped,
that skinny stranger's burning gaze ...