Chapter One Second Coming Murder Mystery

The morning news stated
some local fishermen
fished out six of Christ’s fishermen
from the sea.

Saint Peter looked more sleepy than dead.
His hair was drawn back
and secured with a red rubber band
into a ponytail.

Simon (who was called Peter)
was identified by the tattoo Cephas on his arm.
Of the seven fisherman, Nathaniel, was missing
and presumed the murderer.

We confirmed Mathew the tax collector
worked for the Internal Revenue Service
and happily lived in the residential tower
above Balston Station on the metro’s orange line.

When I think of God in flowing white hair—
venerable yet cranky from constipation—
with his old testament thundering reputation
I figure he ordered the hit.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cottonwoods

One night long ago
a murder took place
under these three trees
and the soil thickened
with spilt blood.

Because this fact
was forgotten after a time
houses sprang up
around these three trees
as the city expanded
and loosened its belt.

When I hit puberty
puberty punched me in the face
and changed my eyes
so they see through time layered
upon itself.

It was a hundred and fifty-eight layers down
if you count each year as a layer
that I saw flesh undressed from bones
and long braids tucked in belts.

This became my first lesson
no fights are fair
if you plan on winning them all
as the blue suits went on
to cut down all the apricot trees
from here to the river.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney