Glen Armstrong

The Awful Egg

Paloma showed up at Eleanor’s funeral 
disheveled and incoherent. 

She was asked to leave, 
but Eleanor’s mother intervened, 
insisting she stay.


Though I never feared God, 
I feared the beatings doled out by believers. 

School would have been Hell 
if not for art class 
and the occasional fieldtrip by train.


Paloma assumed the boys would know what 
“under the walnut tree” meant.


I was reading The Awful Egg 
when someone pulled the fire alarm.


The lesson was twofold: 
know your place — 
control your body.

For Sedimental Reasons

I have earned medallions, 
plaques and various 

colored doodads associated 
with rank and expertise,

but I still nearly tip the lamp 
over every time I reach

to turn it on.
Sometimes light lies in a heap

at the bottom of a light bulb.
Sometimes I settle

in a heap at the bottom of myself.
Nothing has shaken me

for years.
Sometimes I imagine a tiny sun

above the soccer player’s foot
just before she kicks 

the winning goal.
Not even that restores me

to my former flow and consistency.

Symbols that Look Like Rabbits

They know only wonder.
They would rather know rubber 

floor mats and Spanish
as a second language.

Their constant state of epiphany
supplies no baseline.

The fine silk lining takes
credit for keeping me warm, 

but the ugly tweed does
most of the heavy lifting.

Skilled actuaries decorate the city 
with long strands

of numbers and symbols that look 
like rabbits,

with long strands of holiday lights
that look like conjugated verbs.

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters. His poems have appeared in Conduit, Poetry Northwest, and Another Chicago Magazine.

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