The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Guy Serle

The Little Blackbird In the Wine Glass


Seedless grapes take
years to produce a crop.

Birds love them.

They'll risk a
pair of hands made
raw by the splintered
handle of a drain spade just to
feel the skin, held
taut by juicy flesh
give way in their beaks.

They'll wait till the grapes
hang from the vine in overripe
clusters, pregnant with sugars
meant for a seed they were born





Homemade Wine: Prep 5min

Combine a quarter ounce of active,
dry yeast, four cups of
pure cane sugar, and one can of
frozen juice concentrate in an empty
gallon jug.

Fill whatever space is left with cold water.

Rinse out a large balloon,
fit it over the lip and
place it in a cool dark place.

Within a day the sugar will ferment
stretching outward as it turns to alcohol.

The wine will be ready to
drink when the balloon lies
limp over the mouth of the jug.

It takes about forty-two days total.





In the space between teeth,
lips loosen, breath
drunk with cheap beer mingles.

Tongues scrape roofs
thatched with flesh,
dried in the heat of bodies
pressed together on a
summer night by walls
soaked in sweat.

Hair clumps wet, loose
behind ear lobes
flushed in strobe lights.

Hands roll
heavy under
shirts, faded in the
darkness of a pulled
over sheet.

Underwear, lies
forgotten in the
shade of a bedframe.





Homemade People: Prep 2 1/2 minutes

Combine a stainless steel
corkscrew, a bottle of pink
barefoot mascato, and the
pullout method.


It takes about two hundred and seventy days total.





9 weeks (in the womb)

My doctor tells me an embryo becomes
sensitive to sound outside the womb
around 16 weeks. It can only hear
internal sounds.


At first, the bubbling of stomach
acid, the rapid thumping of sinews, fibers
pulled tight around a fist sized drum.


But what about muffled
shouts through belly
fat? Or, the click of a double
barreled shotgun, pressed
between a pair of shoulder blades?


Can it hear the flat
slap a fist makes
against a cheekbone?


I ask him how far along I am.


9 weeks





10 weeks


Donna asks me
about the new baby.


I close my eyes and smile.
He's great
He's wonderful
I'm happy.


I can feel the callouses on my nipple
catch the padding of my bra.


Randy, in the cubicle next to mine
asks about the baby.


I close my eyes and smile.
He's fantastic.
He's adorable.
I'm happy.


A fluorescent bulb flickers
lighting the space between my teeth.


Cheryl from accounting
asks about the baby.


I close my eyes and smile.
He's stupendous
He's a saint.
I'm happy.


I've always wanted to be a
teething ring.


When my eyes are shut
I see a baby.


My baby.


A pink noose
around his throat.




GUY SERLE is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and a recent Boston transfer. He loves poetry, his three cats, and German Expressionist Cinema.



Previous  |  Next