Before he's had his morning coffee
he puts a silencer on the pistol,
goes from room to room, puts
a bullet in the head of those
sleeping in their beds, takes
a drive in the country and calls
his neighbor Walt and asks him
to check on Martha and the kids.
He’s at their country home, he says,
closing it up for the winter,
something he does every year
the weekend before Halloween.
He tells Walt that Martha and the kids
should be home from church by now
but no one's answering the phone.
Two black cats
come over the fence
circle each other
all over the yard
hissing and leaping
into a ball
rolling like sagebrush
into the pool.
I fish them out
with a trout net.
Two wet mops
drying on the lawn.
They Don’t Know I’m Listening
So here I am, all decked out
in a new suit from Brooks Brothers,
haberdasher to corporate stars.
My wife just got here, rattled.
The kids have been here for hours,
flying in for the occasion.
My wife will make certain
I look as spiffy as possible.
The oldest boy just told her
a neighbor has agreed
to cut the grass, rake the leaves
and shovel the snow, chores
I performed for decades in return
for a mug of coffee and wedge of pie.
Now my wife is asking the undertaker
to puff out my tie, something she did
before I’d go to the office, armed
with a thermos and brown paper bag.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.