Ann Howells

His fists are huge, hairy and just barely prehensile.
His neck is a mooring post; his voice raw as thunder.
Ears, crinkled as chewed toffee, stand in bas relief.
His battalion of toadies and grunts wander away.
A perceived insult burns his ear—hot and bloody.
This man is fueled by fast food and adrenaline.
He peers at the world from jagged black holes.
His own steaming breath hovers around him.
He is bleery, blundering, boozy, blind-drunk.
Simple conversation has become contact sport.
His nose, a ripe eggplant, leaks slick emissions.
Slowly, unnoticeably he oozes essential fluids.
His tongue swells to the size of a snowshoe.
Every pulsing wound cries: Injury! Injury!
A grape-bubblegum bruise covers his chest.
He’s been dumped in this humiliating sprawl.
He has been thoroughly, threshed and baled.
He looks like something an alley cat coughed up.
His carnal shell is perishable bone and skin.
Scars are medals etched on both skin and soul.


ANN HOWELLS's poetry appears in Borderlands, Concho River Review, Crannog (Ire), RiverSedge, and Spillway among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited Illya’s Honey since 1999, recently taking it digital (www.IllyasHoney.com) and taking on a co-editor. In 2001, she was named a “Distinguished Poet of Dallas” by the city. Her chapbooks are, Black Crow in Flight, (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2007) and the Rosebud Diaries (Willet Press, 2012). She has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and been four times nominated for a Pushcart, twice in 2014. Her first book, a collection of Texas poems illustrated by Dallas artist, Darrell Kirkley, and entitled Under a Lone Star, will be released by Village Books Press early in 2016.