Issue 11, December 2013
{ Dr. Poem & Mr. Hide }
by Tim Hunt
Dr. Poem shot the sleeves on his silk
smoking jacket, leaned his head
into the wing chair's leather
and let his eyes wander the mysteries
of the swirled plaster, the smoke
from his hand carved meerschaum 
veiling, then revealing the trowel's 
abstracted curves. He was a man 
of science, culture, at ease 
in his own skin. But Dr. Poem
knew real men did not stare
at the drifting clouds imagining
a kaleidoscopic lava lamp of white 
paint on blue. No, real men rode
Harleys, kissing the grained 
asphalt with two wheels, as they leaned
left, right, left weaving full throttle
between the traffic jammed cars
of evening frustration. Dr. Poem
knew it was better to sail the plaster sea
than sit idling on the 5 to the dulcet
tones of NPR gently offering
apocalyptic gloom and marimba'd
interludes, but he sensed somewhere 
deep in a place he didn't really
know that this was not quite
enough. He hungered for a hunger
in his gut as if life could be hashbrowns
at dawn, a brace of sausage
patties, coffee bitter from sitting
too long on the hot plateā€”or dappled
shade, the sun sagging, and something
swilled instead of sipped. Dr. Poem
fingered the inside of his wrist
as if checking his pulse, his
exfoliated skin smooth as a simile.
He sighed longing instead to have
a hide, a hide so tough there
would be no inside, no self
looking out its windows. In Dr.
Poem's mind he saw himself
becoming Mr. Hide. He closed
his eyes as his skin tanned and thickened.
He pulled heavy gloves over his
callouses, kicked down with his boot,
engine revving as it caught. The
cycle reared and Dr. Poem wheelied
through the bay window, spraying
seeds of sunlit glass as his studded
tire rutted the fine lawn, exhaust
fumes eddying over the curved
brown slash of his wake.


   

Tim Hunt's publications include the collections Fault Lines and The Tao of Twang (forthcoming) and the chapbooks Redneck Yoga and Thirteen Ways of Talking to a Blackbird. He has been awarded the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Prize and twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He and his wife Susan live in Normal, Illinois.