Two Bits

Jim Zola

The barber pops a pill,
sharpens his razor.
Lillian fills a glass bowl
with pebbles, listens
for scratching in the walls.
He thinks she’s crazy, but stops
mid-sentence when she lifts
a finger to her ear.
He’s covered in an itch
no one sees. The doctor
calls him back for testing.
The barber misses
the magazine with hidden
pictures. Find three birds
in the undergrowth, spot
an axe in the pile
of pumpkins. He doesn’t care
when the nurse catches him
scratching his crotch. There are
tragedies all over this globe.
One morning he finds a dead
baby cardinal in the hedges,
covered with flies.
The florescent green
freezes him. Lillian stares
down, puts a hand on his arm.
Isn’t that poison, ivy
she asks, there and over there.

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children's librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook -- The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) -- and a full length poetry collection -- What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC