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Kirby Wright

At the Coffee House

She stands beside the doorway watching him wait in line with his old college buddy. “Tall Americano,” he orders. He wears the aqua shorts she picked out to show off his butt and a dobby hat to hide the salt in his hair. There are girls behind him, coeds really, and he starts flirting. A blonde with hair past her waist giggles at something he says. The old college buddy joins in and it becomes a party. So many smiles, so much flashing of teeth.

She steps back into twilight. She doesn’t want coffee or cheesecake. It’s something they do as a couple but the old college buddy makes her feel like a third wheel. She sits at a brick fire pit on the patio. The flames are orange and green. She spots him through glass—he clutches a venti-sized cup and performs exaggerated gestures like a silent movie star. The blonde is smiling. She hears the old college buddy’s machinegun laugh. She kicks off her slippers. She swings bare feet up on brick, toes reaching for fire.

Friedrich Speaks

The apocalypse has been cancelled.
There will be no smell of death
Wafting over the plains.

Wildflowers will still bloom.
Forget a blaring of trumpets
Announcing the end of days.

It will be dark soon.
Last kisses? Nonexistent.
I will be planted Catholic

In a plot on a green lawn
With a view of the sea.
I will be remembered

As an obstacle to the blade
Of the lawnmower man.
Sparrows dance on my headstone.

Slaughterhouse Flies

My body’s in that big steel cabinet, in the drawer tagged with my name second from the bottom. Yes, slide it open. Voilà my shaved and deodorized carcass, the remnants of our loveless marriage. I look alive, don’t I? I am a miracle of hospital refrigeration. I still need nose hairs clipped and glossed lips so I look good at the service. No, don’t tip the morgue boy. And don’t bring your new man to Church. We don’t want people talking, gossip thick as slaughterhouse flies.

Kirby Wright was a Visiting Fellow at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii and lectured in China with Pulitzer winner Gary Snyder.  He was also a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic.  He is the author of the companion novels Punahou Blues and Moloka’i Nui Ahina, both set in Hawaii.  The End, My Friend, his futuristic novel, will be released in 2013.​​
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