Two Prose Poems
Mark Cunningham

Peregrine Falcon

My great-grandmother rushed past me, her arms outstretched, grabbed a parking meter, whirled around it, and shot off toward the next one, pin-wheeling down the St. Louis street, while my grandmother called "Josie!" and my father chased after. When I was three, I fell down the outside stairs of our second-floor apartment, rolled across the landing, and dropped a storey to the February ground. My grandmother who called after Josie went into the laundry room, slipped on slick spot, and broke her hip. Bohumil Hrabal fell out of a hospital window while feeding pigeons. My grandfather (other side of the family) got up one night, and he wasn't found on the floor until my uncle stopped by ten hours later. A few years after telling the story about Hrabal, Miroslav Holub started to shave and never finished. I was bragging to Tom Clay about what a good winter I was having, then I was flat on my back in a vacant lot, looking out far past where I would ever breathe.

Olive-sided Flycatcher

No trip to K-Mart, no video to return. I look around: that stack of books is out of line. The whole stack has to be redone. Then I see how dusty the shelf is, so I get the Endust and paper towels. Then the shelf has to dry. The fight against unraveling never lets up: wet rot molders on during the drought. The man who set a date years in advance on which to kill himself, and then did, what repose he must have known. Matt! Here I am trying to do nothing, and I just thought of you, and you didn't even set a date to kill yourself, let alone do it. We loved Yojimbo instead, especially the scene when Toshiro Mifune goes to clean up some scrub swordsmen and tells the coffin maker to build "two coffins -- no, better make it three." You did a wonderful Mifune impersonation; you had the gravity. Then you left a town where the military experiments on animals for a town where the military trains torturers. I'd dedicate this to you, but I can't remember how to spell your last name. Still, I'm going to drink a couple of Newcastles in your honor -- no, better make it three. No: last month the doctor told me I might be diabetic.