by Jeremy Penna

I sympathize with the vandals who
when I was twelve kicked over old Hap's flower pots.
They were hungry, those kids.
Their mouths only opened between their knuckles.

Sometimes when I walk past park gardens
swollen with hydrangeas,
palettes of colors as rife and thick as a carnival,
something in me hardens.

I wish, like the wind, I could strip the stalk
free of bloated tongues.
I'm grumpy. I can't explain. At beauty. And I resent
the sumptuous songs

gavaged into the trough of these surly gluttons
with soft bodies and hard faces.
I write to rip the mush and flab off around heart
to starve the tongue

until you see the ribs jut through the page.

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