by Bren Lyons
Honorable Mention, January 2010
Judged by Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar

I sit awfully upright, silent
in my Japanese room: tatami mats,
the walls squared away
the hanging scroll.
Don’t forget the garbage,
the wife trills out and the door
clicks shut: she is away to work.
I pull out the shining sword
and lay it upon my lap,
sharp as a bastard,
you could shave with this fucker.
Breathe in, breathe out,
become Japanese.
I stare at the scroll,
trying to make out the Kanji,
this looks like “world” and “within”
and then there’s a load of squiggly pigeonshit
and then the sirens kick in,
the ambulances, dragging heartsore
victims to clapped-out hospitals.
I stare some more at the scroll.
Stare long enough and you might learn something.
I like this summer kimono,
it allows you to scratch your balls
comfortably, no need for zips or retainers
and the squirrels, they run about
in the trees, beyond the window,
they run about in the piece of the wood
where we had to bury poor fuckin Paul.
They haven’t found him yet; chances are
they never will. The good thing about this room
is that it has no mirrors. I mean to say,
you don’t need to look at yourself. Ever.