Two Poems By Askold Skalsky

MOUSETRAP

Troubled in endless infancy am I,
pressing gobs and gobbets down the throat, 
merging with edibles of sound and plastic images 
of eye, the open mouth in awful wonderment,  

needing a voice to drown the watery odors 
of flesh’s lullaby. Why move a token pebble’s 
mass across the hollowed marble slate of self  
when I can throw my fictive die under the press

of stars in ever-looming dénouements of day 
where all the plotted complications start, 
waiting for the protagonist’s arrive with wants 
and vaunts of metered speech, conferring 

a semblance of the real on the supremacy 
of breath, the stubborn beating of the heart.
WORDS

I love them for themselves,
unrooted from their sentences, 
clinging stragglers after and before.

I hold them upward to the light,
watching the afterglow 
slide downwards through their parts,

the suffixes and prefixes in tow
as the roots thicken in their burly embryos,
baring their traces to the sight. 

Then, fixed upon a screen or page,
they take their places in a dead-dumb show,
laid out like little ants before mind’s firing line

inside their spaces, row on row.

Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky is a retired college professor living in Frederick, Maryland. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines and online journals in the USA as well as in literary publications in Europe and Canada. A first collection, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011.

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