Six paper snowflakes form a lantern,
connected, cut from one large white sheet.

Cranes flow into Geese in the manner of Escher
where the candle light brightens the walls.

In her fever dream, grandmother starches
white paper collars with butterflies.

A music box constantly reminds her
of a long ago birthday and grandpa’s gifted hands.

On the bookshelves he crafted with Winnie the Pooh inlays
rests her collection of children’s books

read to each of the children,
grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Grandmother clutches the hand-tooled
leather bound family bible

with its history of births and deaths
recorded throughout the margins of Genesis.

The original cover sanded bare
by over four centuries of rough laborer hands.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

Artifactual Slumber Party

Annie finds herself in a room
floor to ceiling in blue tile mosaic.
An ancient emperor stares at her.
Of six scripts, she discerns six languages.
None of them a tongue she knows.
There are no doors.
Only archways opening into darkness.
Annie finds herself thinking of Dick & Jane
and apples, serpents and Genesis.
She looks up to inspect the domed ceiling.
Pizza, chocolate chip cookies,
molded Jell-o with fruit, sticks of Irish butter,
and bowls full of sweet and sour chicken
loaded with MSG descend
on clear plastic serving platters.
Annie deeply inhales the mixed aromas.
Nineteen grey burka dressed Barbie dolls
goose-step from the archway darkness,
each being pre-nineteen-sixty-five editions
of the iconic western beauty.
They play charades late into the night
snack, and share all they know about boys.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The early versions of Barbie (before 1965) did not have knee joints. So their knees did not bend. To walk, they would goose-step from here to there.