Two Poems
by Mark Callanan


The Odd Couplets

He dabbles in a bit of carpentry;
she ponders the chair’s asymmetry.

She stays out dancing at a bar;
he uncaps another beer.

He dashes out to grab some milk;
she finds they had some: bottom shelf.

She jogs at least 10K a day;
at night he dreams she’s run away.

He read her journal while she slept;
she hates it when he gets half-slapped.

She likes it when he comes home early;
he says he does, but doesn’t really.

They married on the tenth of June;
they talk of kids, but not right now.

The flat’s too small. There isn’t room.



This is a long shot,
a half-mile off,
strong easterlies
skewing the trajectory
of events,
but despite prevailing
weather conditions
(relative humidity,
bayonets of wind)
there’s always a straight
line between two points,
the muzzle in the bushes
to the officer
unwinding in the darkness,
suddenly struck
by the need to smoke
a pipe and have a think
on where he aimed
and where he ended up:
stuck, mired, idly
writing home on scraps,
wanting nothing
more than hot water,
a leisurely bath—the last
thing in his head
before he lights the match.

—From CNQ 97 (Fall 2016)

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