Written by Phillip Woodruff

 

 

i drank nine beers with nine chasers

to glue the nine pieces of my mind back together

walking home i walked past the red house

over yonder

same one i’ve walked pass ninety-nine and one-half times before

i stopped right there and thought, how drunk am i?

so i did the math 

nine beers and nine chasers, nine times nine is eighty-one

in nineteen eighty-one i was nine years old

and i walked this very path

with the same nine mailboxes to the left

and the same nine garden gnomes to the right

ninety-nine and one-half take-out menus piled up 

on the doorstep of the red house over yonder

and that’s when i saw what i saw

seven dogs fighting in the alley

for a leftover chicken bone

seven brothers forgot their bond and surrendered to the hunger

i saw their teeth grow long and their eyes grow sinister 

i saw mortal fear up close and personal

and then i saw the blackest crow i ever saw

swoop down and steal that chicken bone

then perch high on a steeple, seven tail feathers pointed straight to hell

i saw seven dogs in disbelief 

seven dogs, one dead chicken 

and a tax collector in the blackest crow-feather sweater i ever saw

nine creatures total

 

Text © Phillip Woodruff

 

 

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