Monday, February 12, 2018

Michael A. Arnzen


She was incurable
so she asked me to kill her.
"How could I?" I asked
and she put her hand on my arm
and said
"If you love me,
you'll surprise me."

And so I took my time
hoping maybe they'd find some cure
other than murder
until I discovered
that she'd contracted her disease
from another lover.
"How could she?" I asked.
She'd surprised me.

So then it was my turn,
and I started counting
the daisy petals of doom:
How could I? How could I not?
all the way up till Valentine's Day,
when I gave her a cliche box of chocolates.
She laughed as she opened
the big red heart made of cheap cardboard
and with a head-shaky smile refused to eat
the dark truffles it contained
clustered and bulbously evil
as unexpected polyps.

"Too predictable," she said,
rolling her tired and bloodshot eyes
and refusing to take a taste.
"You'll have to do better than that."
And so I kissed her
while the contact poison
I'd sprayed onto the wrapper
of the heart-shaped box
entered into her system

And then I carefully plucked
a candy out from its holder
and popped it into my mouth.
"I love you to death,"
I said smiling all chocolate
and she laughed again,
or rather, her lungs did,
wheezing out her final breath
as we locked eyes like true lovers,
both of us, surprised by the timing.

Mike reads "Surprise Me Deadly":

Subscribe to Channel 52 for first view of new videos.

Mike confesses: "I am fascinated of those assorted chocolate sampler boxes. The hidden wonder of which flavor is which, the surprise nougat and nuts. There's usually a secret code to what you're going to eat, but it's on the bottom of the box where you can't see what you're doing. It's always a surprise. Anyway, I myself was surprised so soon after New Year's to realize that these heart-shaped candy boxes are for sale all over the place now—so I decided to write a crime poem about them."

MICHAEL A. ARNZEN ( holds four Bram Stoker Awards for his dark fiction and poetry. He teaches full-time in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, PA.

No comments: