“The Reptile King of Albuquerque” by Whitney Hudak

died in his sleep
without ever having been
to the O’Keefe museum
up in Santa Fe.
Just a bunch of bones and flowers.

In a bathrobe, on the couch
his brain flooded with blood.
Miller cans resting at his feet.
So many mistakes left unmade.
Never found a country
that quieted the propulsive insistence
that there was some other possible life.

Potential thrumming
like the heart of a mouse in your fist
just before you stun it on the concrete,
toss it to a python.

A hot-cup of crickets
toppled over on the counter
and the whole place hummed
like an invisible violin choir
playing different movements
of the same concerto.

Death eats you of your faults.
The time for grievance
stolen from the living.
And maybe that’s the best
you can hope for around here.
Clean bones. Abstract blossoms.

Whitney Hudak is a CNM and poet living in Newport, RI. Her work has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal and Cactus Heart, who very kindly nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. She was a reader at Cambridge River Festival and has been writing with a phenomenal group of writers out of Northampton, MA on and off for years now.  She holds an M.F.A. from the Bennington Writing Seminars, a DNP from Columbia University, and is thrilled to be here in Pine Hills Review.

Image: “Langebaan” by Antony Burt

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