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John Heckman


What You Did Not See

The subject was the shell,
intrinsic in a life carved ancient.
You couldn't see the beauty,
the gaping jaw bone,
a skeltal masterpiece
in a sea of Plesiosaurs.

Only a shell, you said,
a husk of imagination.

Blanched, a frozen hinge at one end,
toothless like a hand puppet.

You knew I ate the salted meat
careful not to disturb its body.
I could paint eyes, nostrils,
and a green body with flippers.
You would still only see the pistachio.

Originally published in Samsara.



Summer of 1966

It didn't know the consequences
of running with a fast crowd
It's beauty flourished
wings opened
splayed markings
of the yellow swallowtail,
vibrant like a summer finch,
arching its stuck belly
of guts
to the road
writhing anguish.

Small round faces
extruded like playdoh
smooshed against, a nose-smudged
window of a '54 Chevy
mohair seats alive with itch
they watched the flip-flop
until an 18 wheeler squashed it
for good
or for worse.


John Heckman currently enjoys sculpting in metal arts, repairing wooden boats, and playing in the Chesapeake Bay. He has been published in Samsara, Supralurid, Poetry Magazine, La Petite Zine, Thunder Sandwich, the Hold, and NYCPoetry.
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