Nathan Parker
On Being a Christian
New Poems From the USA


what a carnival
two women eating
potato chips in a tin coffin
one red tent replete
with dense mousse and quick-fingered children
the winning pumpkin's
strand won't stay down
ranch hands wait impatiently
a mallet a quarter
a parlor full of milk
tuna chunks sharing
saucer space with Camel butts
widows fingernailing hymns
for twelve lard-riddled cats
the laziest of which awaits a gold bell

and an imported pillow
this the third day of competition
the pianists hunched like scurvied wasps
a poached rhinoceros stumbles toward the hutch
there is china in it
the thoroughbreds unfazed
continue to nap with moderate abandon
I come back to the buried women
I want to know if they are pretty
I like that sound
surely they are pretty
dehorned rhino tonguing the candle stub
band-aid for your thoughts?
they giggle between bites
surely they are pretty