January 9, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Joshua Willson/Pixabay photo



Paul-Victor Winters




The Flaming Hoop



A lion says to a tiger, “Come, now, it isn’t as bad as all that,” but says so in a series of low spits and hisses.

The Whipperman comes.

“Que Sera Sera,” says Mama Lion, mid-leap, singeing a few tail-hairs.

The tiger thinks, it’s a matter of cognitive distance, and Mama Lion strikes a fierce pose for a moment before quailing away into her corner.  She surveys the pen like a pollworker.

When the Whipperman flicks his wrist, it’s a vote cast.  Each cat wince is an act of acquiescence.  What is the force that makes the lion leap?

The lion leaps.  Cousin Tiger sits still with dead eyes.  The Whipperman corrals the lot into a new pen.

“Fresh straw!” says a lion.

“This is all for the greater good,” says Mama.

“He has our best interests at heart,” says a gray-chinned tiger friend.

Now they walk in a circle around the pen, as taught, single-file, high-stepping, certain of the logic at work, certain of the blurred, amplified organ music—walking in circles, willfully calm, as the Whipperman lights another hoop.





New Year’s Day



He slept seven days and had seven dreams. He fell asleep in a yellow house and woke in a garden of swords. He dreamt and figured his dreams significant, but there is no difference between this and that. He was an ant. The king of ants. He was weak but felt strong. He fell asleep on the eve of a new year. He fell asleep under a quarter moon and woke under a half moon. He dreamt he was the king of ants, but he was an earwig. He dreamt in sepia. He thought himself kind. You see, nothing means anything—cups, wands, swords, pentacles.  This guy thought himself a hierophant. He dreamt himself a hornet and woke to call himself Emperor. He misremembered seven nights.  He was cyclopic but dreamed himself handsome. He thought he might spread his gospel, but he might not even be real. Who’s to say?  There are silk moths and silverfish in a sword garden.  We like to think images mean things. We like when emotions marry words. We sleep an eighth day, dreaming cups and wands, dreaming full, new moons.






Paul-Victor Winters

Paul-Victor Winters is a public school teacher, occasional adjunct professor, and writer living in southern New Jersey. He works for Murphy Writing of Stockton University and for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Poetry Program. Poems appear in anthologies from Jane Street Press, Serving House Books, and others, and in numerous journals, including KYSO Flash and Eyedrum Periodically.

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