“Three Smokers” by Thomas N. Dennis

all are losing their hair
hands loosely clasped
between their legs
(one almost hears a woman
saying Do something
with your hands, guys)
none of them show rings
but marriage isn’t far off
one will go crazy from alcohol
within a few years
two will continue on at work
driving into the city daily
for decades
and at last ah
retirement
and the final thinning
the last breath


Thomas N. Dennis lives and writes near Lovick, Alabama. This piece appears in his new book of songs, poems, and haibun, Wings Match Mask from Feritas Press. His website is http://merefiction.com. His haibun “Chickenchasers” appeared is in the Steel Toe Review: Volume 1 Anthology.

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“Mezzo-soprano Walmartian” by Thomas Dennis

I know so little about opera. I wish, at least, I could say I know one or two famous songs. It may have been a famous song that an as-yet-still-anonymous lady started singing today at the giant mart. I understand from later conversations that her voice was a “mezzo-soprano.” She was in another part of the store from where I first heard her utterly unfamiliar song echoing off the metal rafters . . . staring directly at the cheese array . . . couldn’t see who it was but I wanted to see who it was. Perhaps (this realization hit me quickly and left as it came) I was the only person in the store who wondered all that much about the crazed song. Strangers’ eyes met, glancing like butterflies off roofs. A mother mumbling Somebody has lost it to the questioning teen behind her. Hm. Were they correct? I could return, later, to the Walmart: Hey uh anyone recall earlier today, the uh, the lady who was singing opera at the top of her voice? earlier today oh just after noon? By now someone knows what exactly happened; employees have discussed it. Was it an abundance of joy or the dearth of a chemical – a moth’s wing touching a candle? No end to questions. Was the lady racing down the aisles, chased, or was she being dragged, ungagged, out the magic doors? Was she someone’s mother as well as a walmartian guerilla-singer? Can’t know.

your high quaver-voice
lost nothing: found finally
cou rouge numinous


Thomas N. Dennis lives and writes near Lovick, Alabama. This piece appears in his new book of songs, poems, and haibun, Wings Match Mask from Feritas Press. His website is http://merefiction.com. His haibun “Chickenchasers” appeared in STR Issue #5.