Where Is the Party

When they cast me for your role in the movie I want to hold the sword. A six-pack of Coors as I wait in the lobby. My arms feel like water. My first line is: I canít love you from inside these. You lift the sword from the dirty carpet and tell the receptionist the name of our hometown. You donít tell her why we came, or from where. From the lobby to the hallway we make dirt noises. Our children will be good listeners. We tell them to watch us as we hold the sword, the eyes. Where you read, silence gathers you in my arms. The whole shallow pond of you.

The Use of Tools

How many tools I have: A beak with teeth. A foot with a thousand talons with a pine nut in it. Princess Iím coming for you. Two more pine nuts and I am able to enter the heavily guarded emerald forest. I also have a mountain that I named Cross Bow, a hammer and a rabbit I fashioned out of five twigs and five stones. I seem to be a master at this sort of thing. A craftsman. Princess Iím coming for you. A bird that never falls from ledges is what you can count on. Three more hammers and I become a hammer. This matter has been pressing me. Like my father in that respect, I forge what I least fear. Give me the lightning sword, gods. Give me the magnetic boots. All night I dream myself with broken arms. Princess Iím coming for you. Princess, my arms.


Cary Stough was raised in the Ozarks and educated at the University of Missouri. He hosts poetry readings all over Missouri. He currently lives in Springfield.