Homeless Man in Central Florida Finds Body: Poem

Image of human skull

Homeless Man Reports a Dead Body
by Carrying a Skull into a Florida Publix

—Colin Wolf, Orlando Weekly
 
Imagine him in the act of crossing busy US 1,
a silver shopping cart to slow the murmuration.
See the heat shimmers above the road surface.
See a Maserati swerve. Hear a Bentley brake
hard enough to make the muscles of the heart
speed up. In no time, he is parking the object
on a trash can by a double-door to a Publix.
By the pink-flamingo-themed lottery posters.
Why did he take it? Maybe the eyes called up
long rows of tombstones. His own dear dead
or their histories. One witness says he used it,
the skull, like a hand puppet. One said it stank.
Which is why cruisers pull up and spill a cargo
of sheriffs in their Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses.
Later that day, another part of the neighborhood,
a van is parked in drifts and mangroves bordering
a strip club. Under night-marching moon and stars,
the doorjamb of the van hemorrhages arterial-red,
the factory-painted truth that this rough home
is limbed with death in the best of weather.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of four books and several chapbooks. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and elsewhere, as well as the anthologies New Poetry from the Midwest and Every River on Earth. His collection of poems Nosferatu in Florida is currently in search of a publisher, having been a finalist for the New American Poetry Prize (twice), the Moon City Review Poetry Prize, the Gerald Cable Book Award, and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He has received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (in poetry) and fellowships from the arts councils of Ohio and Florida. He lives in Pataskala, Ohio.

Comments

  1. James Welch says:

    My favorite American poet.

    • Roy Bentley says:

      Thanks, James. I appreciate hearing that. And it means a lot.

      So many terrific writers out there, really.

      Best,

      Roy

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