Alphabet's End

So I'll speak ill of the dead. A was crooked,
planting the small left finger of the raccoon in the upholstery
before he sold the car. B made certain to point out Celia's
bewildered look before her pink slip came in the flimsy institution.
In the videos of C, a jejune overwhelmed the cast.

D built dollhouses. Even Lonnie down at Shell
found him less a man for it, the night they went off to see the stock
cars break. I wanted E's hair, but by the end it was no more. F
refused alms, pulling the man up by his shirt in the street, and
G sought rewards. Marybeth said H fondled her for sport.

Now you, I, Smokey, hell
bent on a village version of Club 21, embarrassed by our attentions.
Mistrust it was. Dig me a chamber of preparedness.

                                                                          William T. Osborn, 1964-1993

Susan Wheeler, "Alphabet’s End" from Smoke. Copyright © 1998 by Susan Wheeler. Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books.
Source: Smokes (Four Way Books, 1998)
More Poems by Susan Wheeler