Manhattan, Sunday Morning

HERACLES TUMBLES OVER THE WAVE OF A TUGBOAT. His board, strung to an ankle tattooed with an arrow, bobs behind. Waxed and glimmering, an “S” necked swan adorns its surface, the bird’s cupped wings shadow a raven-haired woman, as yellowed claws pierce each breast. Her mouth is a slash of red. Stenciled beneath the picture are the words RAD DAD.

Dropping his massive head, Heracles gives up his quest for the perfect wave, suspecting his coordinates are off once again, and pulls his powerful arms against the Hudson’s currents to light out across a Jersey garbage barge’s wake. White serpent curls unfurl behind as he aims his strokes toward the gypsy cab parked on the wharf above where Pandora waits, driver’s cap tilted, skirted knees spread wide beneath the wheel to catch the errant summer breezes.

The New York Review splayed on her lap, Pandora scours the personals. A pink acrylic nail trails the columns for a message from her maker: “P: Hope is alive. Come home. Z,” but all she sees is a winter rental in Troy: 3 BR, 2 BA, breathtaking views, sand, surf, wine dark sea, parking—perfect for her upcoming getaway from this muscle-bound fool. She lights an Eve and sighs out the smoke as Heracles drips into the passenger seat, wiping bloody palms pierced by zebra mussels against the cloth triangle between his thighs.

Pandora turns the key, flips the cab into drive, and scans the face of the sky through the filmy windshield, searching for a thunderbolt, the lost taste of Ambrosia teasing her tongue. She tosses Heracles a dirty towel as Icarus, eyelids painted candy-apple green, soars past the glass and shoots them the bird. His delicate feet drag against the blue as twined wings of eagle feather, reed, and wax angle his young shoulders through a break between his father and the incandescent sun.

©JP Reese 2011
Published August, 2011 at Red Fez



Remove the silver slippers and slip them in a pocket safe from sin.
Your slip slides against silken skin as you climb the slippery stairs
of the child’s slide to slide down until your toes touch tawny sand.
Slip between the swings and sunset surf to take another sip of gin.
Try to fill the hollow space inside your chest that harbors hidden grief.
A lie slid off your tongue to leave you single, standing solo here below
the slanted sun. A sweet and slippery stranger slides aside your slip
with hands so soft you barely even notice you are lost.

©JP Reese 2011
First published August 2011 at Camroc Press Review: