The Corpse Veterinarian         



Prefers robot cats

With gold eyes & rusted paws


Blue tattoos

On the skin of snails


Feeds his children lightning

Drained from telephone wires

In bowls carved from skull fragments

At night he coaches them to give up barking


I howl at the moon
Every time I pass his house

On my way to kill another sundial

With a putty knife

And the tape recording of a tear

Impersonations Of A Corpse



Daffodils in the field

Chalk line of an accident

Drifting snow

Bent mist off the sewer grate

Coffee cup steam in the gunman’s paw

Curlicues of rippled horse sweat

Chimpanzee breath in winter

High lightning without thunder

Vapor of the policeman’s horse droppings on a city street

A handful of bluegrass seed pushed to form the letter J



The Corpse Kept Smiling




Down the road


Kicking up

Tiny clouds

Of red dust


I am everywhere

What is a straight line?

How do flowers

Give people intense pleasure?


The corpse kept whispering

Swaying   Snapping his fingers

As if afraid

The single white cloud overhead

Might melt a skull

Family History

My grandfather died an especially
Violent dust covering both eyelids

That man over there vomiting

Sterno into his ripped blue shirt


Surely is one of my relatives but

I have forgotten his name & phone


Hey Crow   Up there on the top branch

Of the pine    Why did you eat my brother?


& you there  King Yesterday   How

Could you insert those star—


Light needles into my father’s eyes

Draining every drop of Omaha


From his skull?   Look at these Stalinist

Photos of me wearing that T-shirt


What bull whip   What kind of barbed

Wire did they use for those creases


Around my lips   Each word caressed

By a wild species of dirt & sundial


& you there Prince Adam pissing

Your smile against the apple tree


Who taught you to use your rib like

A sword in an alley of switch blades


table of contentsON6_contents.htmlON6_contents.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0

Allison Scarpulla

four poems by John McKernan


Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.