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Richard King Perkins II



He sings in sepia and cyan of tors and lost eminence.


The nighthawk that flew through a window

is his final note.


Life begins again with the sound of raindrops.


So quietly         listen carefully


the earth is being born.


You never really had faith in chaos.

You believed in simple random disorder—


a wholly perfect cadence of rationalization.


He would have forgiven you anything

except for the dream you dreamed for him—


anemone eyes in a sky lit by candles.


Eveningtime is a pinnacle of silence,

piles of sawdust in a talus

where he learned to tolerate sharp stones

and the constant reimagining of all that had passed.








Freshman Barometer


Four girls sit on a bed

in the summer before their

first year of high school,

playing the game of revelation

called “Truth or Dare.”


“What scares you the most?”

is the cycling question to which

they will all tell their truth.


“I’m afraid of getting fat.”

says the first. Murmurs of assent.

This is a good response.


“I’m afraid of being poor.”

says the second. Murmurs of assent.

This is a good response.


“I’m afraid of bad hair days.”

says the third. Laughter of assent.

This is an excellent response.


“I fear not being understood.”

says the fourth. Bolt of silence.

“What do you mean?” says the first.

“I mean,…. I’m afraid of bugs.”

says the fourth. Screeches of assent.

This is the best response.








Geppetto’s Flaw


I love you hardens and splinters

on his lips like glazed sugar

flecking with smiles and grimaces

never truly part of himself.


The hinge of his jaw traps


I love you

I love you

I love you


mimes on and again still another

eight hundred ninety-six grating times or so.

His mouth, layer caked with sickly-sweet frosting

grows like the face of Pinocchio—

who is, to the unloving eye,

simply a wooden boy marionette

fashioned and enlivened by a hollow enigma

and an appointed conscience

that chirps without end

in the dangling night.








Gypsy Moth Chicanery and Conifer Ghosts


In Maine— I think it is,

look for a tree stump made long ago less

by chrysalides more potent.


This is the throne of consideration.


Feel the phrenology of its trunk

and range of branches.

Find the objects hidden in its leaves.

This is how we learn

numbers and letters

and “down there”  symbolism.


On a heady floor of red mushrooms

a chrysolite crown lies

severed before the portents.


This is the dungeon of the cavalier.


Look for a flowering tree— birch, I think,

and when it falls in the desolate forest


everyone hears the sound. 







Sun Lore


Let my hand cascade

down the small of your back

enchant tulips and eucalyptus

into being

unraveling faithfully


though the ivy round

your elbows spawned

from a different hand


and you climb intricately

toward sinews of sunlight










                             Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in

                             long-term care facilities. He has a wife, Vickie and a daughter, Sage. His

                             work has appeared in hundreds of publications including Prime Mincer,

                             Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Two Thirds North, The Red Cedar

                             Review, and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in

                             Bluestem, Poetry Salzburg Review, and December Magazine.



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