“Precious Memories!” screams
the backlit sign in the lot across from the animal
shelter in the autumn of my life.
A sudden wind whips a spatter of hard rain
through gas-station plazas and funeral-home porticos.
I motor sedately, transliterating billboards and neon coils.
“Be kind to the wicked,” whispers each virtuous advertiser,
each quaintly brutal heart.
Heart, I know, connotes oleo and a diamond.
Define kind and wicked for yourselves.
[first published in Across the Margin (June 2016)]