Three Poems
Daniel Pinkerton

San Diego

Why bother with the zoo or the beach?
The animals are interchangeable.

We're the only pair in the parking lot,
too scared to flip on the headlights
for fear of what might appear:

We might open, unwarranted,
an unwanted flap -- here where faces
spark, hands flutter, taking flight;

we might come to question
the veracity of the city.

Burn the maps on the bedside table,
order dinner from the phone book.
The bolted TV stays on;

even in strange quarters we know the TV,
its lean and silvery haunches,
the flounce of its main, the jib of its sail.

Salisbury Cathedral

We were wrong to be so quick,
to hover moth-like over the faces of saints.
Our wings adhered to varnished rails.

The Party

Two med students arrive, still fixated
on their cadaver -- how they opened him
from behind, warned to avoid the face
and hands, pinned back the skin to reveal

the well-formed muscles, table tilting
so embalming fluid could drain away.
When they vivisected the corpse
they scalpeled in a line over the pelvis

all the way to the spine before finishing
with the power saw, viewing through
the settling dust a man sliced in two,
duplicitous and clear.