Banshees, Jesus, Hyenas, Sharks But No Wine In Sight, Claire Scott

Michael Diehl, Forceful



Banshees, Jesus, Hyenas, Sharks But No Wine In Sight


I ask him if he heard the banshees last night
baying at the moon, a sure sign of impending disaster
my husband is slicing radishes with a spoon
he looks up but says nothing
I notice there is a padlock on the knife drawer
I tell him I saw man strolling down St. James Street
wearing jeans and a crown of thorns
he mumbles about being out of olive oil
and uses a fork to cut the tomatoes
I see there is no wine on the shelf
no bottles of Cabernet to unfray my nerves
no Xanax in the bathroom cabinet
to keep my hair from falling out in clumps
and clogging the sink beyond the reach of Drano
I want to drive to heaven and join Jesus
sipping sacred wine and nibbling wafers
while lying in heavenly hammocks
I want to live in one of the many mansions
where there won’t be howling hyenas
in the hall closet or sharks hidden
under the bubbles in the bath tub
but my car keys aren’t in my purse
I hear sirens, see the whip of red
on the driveway

Claire Scott


Review by Sue Fagalde Lick

Here we have an unreliable witness describing her situation from her point of view. At first, the reader believes her. Then we get to the padlock on the knife drawer. When we see a man wearing jeans and a crown of thorns on St. James Street, well, that could happen; people do that, but as the details pile on, we know and feel the tension of the husband slicing radishes, cutting tomatoes, and preparing a meal. We know he is doing so much more than that in caring for his mentally ill wife. The poet tells it matter-of-factly and never breaks character. I don’t notice the lack of punctuation until the last line ends with no period, only the mystery of the whip of red on the driveway. What is this? What are we not being told? Meanwhile, the narrator wants to escape to heaven to hang out with Jesus. This poem is rich with many layers and merits reading again and again.


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