After each piece cancelled the other

the generals folded up their checkerboards,

declared to the homeless that the park

was now an open city, returned to their

hermetically sealed lives of solitary existenz.

In mirrors they checked themselves

for missing parts. From balconies

they flung Molotov cocktails

at high-flying birds. In empty parlors

they aimed guns at their heads

ones that fired never ending blanks.


They donated artificial limbs

to cabaret girls who wore

top hat and black eye-patch for effect,

who continued to croon

for their fathers,

girls who could no longer dance

without a cane.




Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox, and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne’s School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs at upatberggasse19.blogspot.com.