memories that no longer exist | Sunday Brunch Tuesday | Bill Yarrow

Mother Died Tomorrow

Bill Yarrow


words she can’t define  


words she can’t pronounce

          death of Uncle Aminadab
          anniversary trip to Boulder
          birth of Joey
          birth of Joey Jr

memories that no longer exist

          the golf course fire
          the wedding by the lake 
          the Christmas the car wouldn’t start
          skylights in the bedroom

memories that no longer make sense

          to serene a ballerina
          to quickly the stars
          to immunize the income tax
          to remarry Guadalcanal

her dreams

          radish hearts
          Sinai nights
          a vanished autumn
          a burnished cross

her hopes


subordinating conjunctions she mistakes for nouns

This poem originally appeared in Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015).

Jesus, Zombie

Bill Yarrow

"Jesus was a zombie?" I ask, shocked. 
My red-faced uncle turns towards me with 
a look of surprise on his face. Absolutely!
He was the King of the Zombies. He was 
one of the first to die and then come back 
so he’s among the original undead. Sly
zombie. Very crafty, let me tell you—
gets people to eat his body and drink 
his blood, and when they do, they belong 
to him—forever! He not only eats their
brains, but he also devours their hearts, 
and then they can never die. Watch out 
for this Jesus fella. He’s coming after you. 
And he’ll never stop chasing you down.
"What’ll I do if I see him?" I ask, shaking 
in my chair. Cross your fingers like this—
that’ll make him think you’re one of them, 
and he’ll leave you be. "What lies are you 
telling my boy?" my dad shouts running up 
from the basement. He grabs Uncle Shaw 
by the shirt, jerks him up, starts to 
choke him. Hey, take it easy, brother! 
Just teaching the kid to fear the Lord.

This poem appeared in Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015).

The Best Banana Bread

Bill Yarrow

Ed Raglan was a spoiled banana no one wanted to touch. Inexcusably bruised,
the kid turned rotten, descending into dice and mash and reds and chew.
I couldn't understand anything he said. Like "My car has acne."
He means rust, my father explained. Like "I want surgery
for dinner." He means takeout said my mom.
I flexed my ego. I dismissed him
as unlettered, a no account,
a rube. My arrogance was
raging and rancid.
The condescension of a thirteen-year-old punk has no peer. 
Thank God we don't stay thirteen forever.
I thought my neighbor, drug addict, alcoholic,
tobacco addict, gambling addict, a total failure.
What of my own addictions? Who am I to judge him?
I thought my neighbor unsophisticated. No acquaintance
with literature or art, ignorant of any kind of culture or class.
Turns out he thought in metaphor, which Aristotle calls genius.
I thought that a banana that had turned black from age was garbage.
Turns out that sour milk and black bananas make the best banana bread.

This poem appeared in The Vig of Love (Glass Lyre Press 2016).


Bill Yarrow

Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and an editor at the online journal Blue Fifth Review, is the author of The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and five chapbooks. His work also appears in the anthologies Aeolian Harp, Volume One; This is Poetry: Volume Two: The Midwest Poets; and Beginnings: How 14 Poets Got Their Start. He has been nominated eight times for a Pushcart Prize.

Bill Yarrow Online
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