Caleb Puckett

The Boutonnière
The widow’s spindle bore a bouquet of white roses over winter, but by spring her tears had turned them into a single red specimen. A maiden dove into the pond searching for a dropped locket, only to find a chest full of rosewater awaiting her at the bottom. Some say the thread they shared between them was blood. Some say blood begets certain unalterable oaths, while others say change is the only promise a body can know. The grave face above the suit mistook the terms it should use, making a bullet hole of its buttonhole one rainy evening in April. Silence keeps the mistaken in good repute, said the parishioner to the priest, in response to the accusation. Upright eyes have no need for the frivolity of garden parties, replied the priest to the parishioner. We say, a fable differs little from a sermon to the heavy of heart. Beware of the boutonnière’s pollen when choosing the part.

A Story of Wall Street
The ___tracts (con) to copy, the grey areas, The Tombs’ tones. The violence of compl_ance (i) withal. BS watches for a ____et (bull) to break through the board. Soon, a fly-by-night d__ived (er) err or a drive-by terror plot arrives by a_r (i) mail for: _______? A stock character or an absent con____ (test) ant in his ___ice (off) who is likely off colonizing the trade ___vention (con) hole-ups with stolen bread in the Schenectady area. So BS (dressed as everyman) balks at being ___ice (off) pistol f___er (odd), saying, “I’d prefer not to” again and again. But BS must work, must mind debt, must yes___ (sir) from lunch break to breaking point and back, mustn’t he? So BS blows the whistle on his workplace with WRITES-WRONG-ADDRESS-RIGHTS-WRONG-ADDRESS in all caps in order to let the dead let t (er) off___ (ice(rs)) in HR f___ (ill) in his blank s paces like a cross____ (word) puddle reflecting STOP LIGHT RED. And the pow__s (er) that be all the while sell arms and shares of law to the Would-be Ass___in (ass) behind the tinted glass and keep the coppers in their pockets for good measure. Mr. Would-be’s gold makes for a price___(less) grin, even when he’s feigning remorse to the newsmen. Mad as hell in a padded self, punching at an ___icious (off) __thing (no), BS almost loses it. Luckily, though, he meets a young man named __clair (Sin) Lewis who shows him the layers of laughter available in serious fiction. Today, we’re happy to report, he’s back on his feet selling life insu___ce (ran) policies to those teachers still managing to meet state _____ards (stand).

Austerity Measures
Law’s axis spinning on the king’s calloused thumb. The ethered men already in heaven’s class for a lesser cause. The fierce flattery, implacable profanation and bloodthirsty offenses remind us that life is a perfume to breathe in passing wide of the man. Why the theft of close proximity’s seeming pleasure, then? The stern stride, dumb jump into the fray of finery? Because fear of obscure darkness carries Chaos home. Revolt inspires, does it not? And reserve tempers us in the deadening long run. The great, silent Tantalus watching dreams fall into plain white sheets sends shivers. Saliva crossed in cry. The messenger of the kingdom's guests lost to impenetrable halls of circumstance. Other gods tried already, defeated by Fortune’s guardians. Base objects elevated through martyrdom. Wine drunk whims. Corrupted arteries. The sweet Hell of leisure beyond Arcadia's gate. Friends shake the stars, swearing them stable, true. Oh, you march the same, Tartarus accuses. Dare a complaint. Argue Fate. Olympus explores the work of unhappy Fortune. Feel the damn ground, friend. Heat bonds the young heart to ancient rock. Cruel prohibitions of being exist between order and violence, the idol dichotomy. The ethered theft of our substance spent in holy incense. Nether sent to dwell. Never them among the ends, greed answered. Bride of light stripped to the vein, jangling blue on the olive branch. Why is perjury a prison regardless of the conviction? My broken father, tears suffocate us in the open. Stanch them, useless. Stand and defend the self sent to appease nothingness.

Caleb Puckett works out of NE Kansas. He has published several chapbooks and a few books, including Fate Lines/ Desire Lines (Mammoth Publications). In addition to writing, Puckett edits the journal Futures Trading.
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