Monday, July 25, 2016

Michael A. Arnzen


Math is an accessory
to my murder—
I know, because I committed
the perfectly calculated crime:
I timed the death stroke
by positioning the
rope and rifle, rigged
precisely with pulleys so that
when he swung open the door
its arc drew an imaginary
pi*r-squaring the tension
to perfectly pull the trigger
and send a bullet
to complete the equation
in his brain at exactly the moment
he realizes my revenge was in his face.
But I hadn't figured
the cops were already
surrounding the area,
manning the entire circumference
as they encircled me
with fourteen, maybe thirty
more, uniforms. But no matter
how I ran the numbers,
I still couldn't solve
the primary problem:
whichever way I ran,
they had me in their scopes,
the shot range always already

Mike reads "Miscalculated":

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Mike confesses: "Back around 'pi day' (3/14), I had math on the brain, and 'Miscalculated' was one of the dark results. It's rife with little math jokes. I think I have always found the 'shotgun trap at the door' trick an interesting murder method in crime fiction, but in this case imagining the geometry of what is involved with it all brought me to something a little different. It's a sick poem, but justice is served, I hope, in an ironic way."

MICHAEL A. ARNZEN has won four Bram Stoker Awards for his often funny, always disturbing horror fiction and poetry. He teaches full-time in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, and lives near Pittsburgh with his wife and cats. His award-winning "best of" collection, Proverbs for Monsters, is soon to be re-released by Dark Regions Press in ebook format, and a non-fiction study, The Popular Uncanny, is coming soon from Guide Dog Books, too. To keep up with his madness and receive new weird poetry in your inbox, sign up for The Goreletter at his website,

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