THE SEASON OF THE PARASITES
by Slade Woodward

“Untitled”

I can see the neon sand
glow with every step taken.
The ground pulses
with music unheard,
with time unfocused.

Spectacles brimming with salt.
Spectacles brimming
with salt.

Vibrancy in a dance across
the moonlight, a shaken
turn to the ocean
before the wave
tumbles us away with the tide.

I wave to the hand that bids
farewell to the shore
and recedes into the dark
Blue hue
under the lamp-lit
water.

Burgeoning tenors twinkle
across the street that leads
to the ends of the earth.

I take my first step
into brisk bathwater,
Stretching further than my arms
reach.

-S.I. Woodward

“I Pagliacci Con Rose”

There’s a dog who lays in
 the middle of my dirt road
path on my daily driver
 to work.

 He’s a pug.

 He looks at me with lazy
 concentration as I
  bump down the dust,
his nose turned up to the life
this world has offered him.

He moves away without guilt
and trots to the ditch,
 only to lay down again
   and listen to the timbre
  of each passing car and
memorize the model.

 Everyday I wish I could
 get out and pet the top of
  his head.
Right between his eyes I’d
  gently put my thumb.

This dog has my sympathy.

  On this particular morning,
I hurried out, not wanting to
be late to the forlorn festival.

  I had my best suit on,
my red nose was pushed on tight,
My boutonnière pinned on my breast,
my face painted a fresh white
and a deliberate frown covering
  one much more real and present.

I bumped down the road faster
  than I usually did, not wanting
  the heat to melt away the
   hour of preparation I wore.

  It should only be appropriate
that my Worst Day–this day–
was the day I hit this dog.

   The true comedy came as
I was writing.

I was too hurried to allow myself
a justified reason,
A good chance,
to touch him.

-S.I. Woodward

“The Season of the Parasite”

It’s spring again.
 The season of the Parasites.
Seems this winter was the longest yet,
Yet I believe I said so last year.

The season
                   of
                       The
                              Parasites.
The plants feed off the animals.
The animals feed off the plants.
  And I?
  I feed off
The weather,
Be it shine or rain.

-S.I. Woodward

“To the Girl Who Cut Herself on My Kitchen Knife”
(or alternatively: “Guilt and Absence”)

It is a gash I will permanently feel
in your palm which I hold.
  In it, I will forever realize the part
played by I.
I
   should not have given you one so sharp,
I tell myself,
and asked you to do me
the favour of cutting the onions
while I was away, on about
browning the red ground chuck
just right.

   That scar will stare at me as
unpleasantly as the meal we prepared
that night
and the dusty bed you left me for
several months after.

   That opened flesh will cover and bloody
my mouth as I screaming each night,
waking from a dream worse than the last.
from a dream in which you
could not forgive me.

-S.I. Woodward

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