Two Poems

By: Justin Karcher



After Watching the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere, I Go for a Walk in the Rain

to my mom’s house
to sign a birthday card for my niece
because I don’t really talk to my brother
and my mom’s trying to bring us all together
hearts like
wildernesses of scarecrows made of ice
the only birds we frighten
are the feathered suns
we need to light our wicks with
so birthday candles
pop up out of the ground
no matter what day it is

when I get to my mom’s
she yells at me for walking
but still hands me the card
and I immediately start writing
outside, it doesn’t stop raining
“Dear Annora
I hope you have a nice birthday
I enjoy following you on social media
you’re an awesome young lady…”
then my mom starts talking about ants

she discovered a trail of them
from a potted plant
leading to the cat bowl
the geriatric cats half eat their dry food
so there are half-chewed crumbs
circling the bowl like dead soldiers
my mom claims she saw the ants
carry a piece of Purina down into their soil
and all I could think of was
when that White Walker
carries that baby into winter
hands him over to the Night King

then the Night King
touches the baby’s chubby cheeks
and the baby turns blue
but not a death-blue
but a blue like the ocean
when it dreams of becoming a snake
so it could shed its shipwrecked skin
so it could start again
but the baby didn’t have a choice in the matter
so maybe I’m colorblind
so maybe we can’t start again
so maybe it is all about death

anyway, I finish writing my birthday message
and read it to my mom
and she predictably starts tearing up
but doesn’t think my niece will get it
I tell my mom to go to Target
to pick up some ant traps
she tells me she’ll go in the morning
but then also tells me she hates murder
I hug her goodbye
tell her I don’t need a ride
it’s like a five-minute walk

it’s still raining
a couple blocks from my apartment
I hear people loudly fucking
a window must be opened
the kind of moaning you confuse with dragons
when they’re hungry
when there are only goat bones in America
no meat anymore
only ghosts
who are now finally confident to leave their apartments
and haunt us
always whispering about marrow
but we think they’re talking about tomorrow
there’s no greater message in the air

when I get home
it’s still a mess
empty Domino’s boxes
a Xanax constellation shining bright
on the couch cushion
burning holes where we rot
there’s no greater astronomy than this
I want to be romantic
like the ghosts outside
but the blankets have done their job
and my partner’s fast asleep

the world always seems fast asleep
on the nights you really need it not to be



Melissa and the Meteorite

The sound of a heartbeat
but there’s no heart
just a tiny gold girl
banging on a funeral drum
following us around the Financial District
where our burdens don’t belong

An antique wedding ring
burning a hole in Melissa’s coat pocket
the jawbone of Cupid
brought from Europe to America
she’s finally getting rid of it tonight
giving it back to her former-in-laws

When love goes bad
you turn into a Boeing 757 of crumpled bedsheets
you start dancing too much
then jealous rainclouds kick you out of the sky
you fall down to earth like a meteorite

The earth’s most precious metals
arrived on meteorites
imagine meteorites stuffed with wedding rings from other planets

Before they were trapped on earth
meteorites were hopelessly romantic comets
looking for scraps of love floating in space
so they were always whizzing past planets bursting at the seams
it made them sad, but the show must go on

Imagine they were always opening their mouths
swallowing different doomsday scenarios
because nothing’s lost forever
the history of love doesn’t just disappear
it becomes something else

It’s important that we carry everything with us
so that when we arrive at our next destination
our memories arrive too
empty bullet shells, broken dinner plates, haunted iPhones

Always remember that there are meteorites of intimacy
buried all over the world
that we must work together to find them
spend the rest of our wild precious lives
breaking them apart
all the love of the universe sounds stupid
but it’s true

Anyway, after walking around for a while
we stop at this pastry place for tiramisu
I tell Melissa to imagine that all of New York is built on a meteorite
a love hotel from the other side of the galaxy
so get your hands dirty
barge through the door without even knocking


Justin Karcher Author Photo

Justin Karcher is a Pushcart-nominated poet and playwright born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the author of several books, including Tailgating at the Gates of Hell (Ghost City Press, 2015). He is also the editor of Ghost City Review and co-editor of the anthology My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX [books], 2017). He tweets @Justin_Karcher.