Remember when we walked out along

the gray mud track in the light cold rain—

the smashed fruit of the limestone nuggets,

almost like wet concrete. We talked of

tedious politics till we found ourselves

having to catch our breath. It wasnÕt solely

owing to the chill air that I shuddered in

such a racking way it reminded you of the

old dehumidifier downstairs. Your cheeks

were ruddy and cream.


We came upon that farm and rugged

field, peaceable animals. Shifting gears

we trod slowly over raised clumps of misted grass,

eyes drinking in the shaggy beauty; snowy coats

sprinkled with dirt. The farmer manifested in the

barn and all moved toward him—a staggered chorus

of that gorgeously obnoxious sound swelling the air.

We stopped and stayed, listening as if to an orchestra.

Later we agreed it was like our spirits had been

showered clean in the ancient warmth

of a sheep noise storm.


Nearly as clean, you mused, as the fawnÕs ribcage

we spotted back past the mailboxes—which stand like

a giantÕs crooked teeth, not far from the road.



Peacetime Recon


The trees are like graphite

sketches in the first morning light

(which is filtered through nimbostratus,

faintly blue round the edges of the gray).

Their leaves are all skittish, like a

restless living monument of bird or

butterfly wings.


I stand by, shoes rooted in the gravel,

arm holding the clarinet case, ears tuned to

hear the fearsome groan of the yellow whale.

A scout I stand, my skin wet-kissed by a thousand

tiny pricking points of mist, my mind knitting itself

into the wind, the hairs on my hands striking like

lightning. Legs sturdy, like the trunks of oaks, yet



I take her hand, together we walk up to the




Distant Parallel, Or Cousins

driving in toward Washington from the southwest, our automotive

approach along with thousands of others like a march, a smooth


rounded lockstep, the pavement a light gray, the highway signs in

green and white or digital, the people deposited stiffly in illimitable


natty vehicles traveling like giant fish each capable of such destruction.

My mind begins rooting around, intrigued and hypnotized


by the conformity, the rigidity and regimentation and regard for

lane lines, the willing obedience, the massive sense of responsibility,


the evident safety, not a crash in sight, the Achievement!—

the being, beings on the same page, whatever divergences kept


crammed in each speeding pen, kept under lock, under skull. My

mind is opening cabinet doors in there, little windows, some of them


I see now look on to certain YouTube videos—yes, thatÕs it, the

parallel is emerging clearly into view. I recently viewed several movies


of HitlerÕs brown-green troops (in black and white), triumphant fascists,

washing in to Paris like harnessed floodwaters, marching in on horseback—


the animals seemingly as indoctrinated, as conscious of cadence and the

importance of synchronized steps—and later marching down the boulevard


sans horses, all sharp-kneed and held tight together as if by black magic.

So this is what my mind is busy doing, constructing this elaborate


distant parallel, this visceral comparisonÉ Apples and Oranges I tell myself.

But that old Orange Line train now running alongside us on our left, once


so shiny new and silver now with age and use so dull and drab and gray,

is sporting streaks of dead-brown that are suspiciously like armbands


or sashes, and call to mind the word Brownshirts. These touches seem

to corroborate my story, seem to finish off my little picture which,


of course, I keep strictly under skull and key,

to myself.



In the Mundane Desert of My Damnable Indecision

I have a camel cricket good and trapped.

The house mistress wants it dead.


Off with their heads she half-jokes.

But itÕs a serious feeling that strikes

Inside me, like jarring a soundless bell.


She explains they will multiply and think

Nothing of chewing through all her papers

But I have come to regard the creatures as

Basement guardians in the night—intrepid

Patrollers; knights of the deep; eaters of



And their colors are quite dashing—

The flesh of their backs like swirls of

Salted caramel ice cream.


Now I have one surrounded by the high

Walls of the dehumidifier bucket, and I

DonÕt know what to do.


One last time I consult my conscience. Then

The internet. I realize camel crickets are no great

Thing to have around, that the mistress is right.

But when I go to maybe execute it, I find that it

Has, Houdini like, escaped.


Incredible. So everything works out.


It fled right into the desert of

My mundane, damnable indecision.


© Warren J. Cox


Bio:  Warren J. Cox lives and writes in beautiful southern Virginia, where he also works as an editor and artist. Beyond creating, he is passionate about human rights, animal welfare, and tennis. Warren's work has previously appeared or will appear in Eunoia Review, Ducts, Coup d'Etat, Intrinsick, Empty Mirror, The Creative Truth, Haiku Journal, and Fluland. He can be found on Twitter @WarrenJCox.