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Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax
{the cat on the short yellow bus}
  peggy eldridge-love


The familiar pungent whiff of stale vapor rub,
three-day-old garbage and the defiant sprays
of his emotionally ill Cheshire cat greeted me.

I was close to believing the unanswered calls
were just a technical glitch or his legendary
forgetfulness.

Surely he would answer my intrusive knock
with unmasked distain, his horn rimmed glasses,
relics from another century, perched precariously
on the very tip of his alcoholically distorted nose.

He graced us at the center when he wanted to,
which wasnt often, but often enough
for me to fear it had been too long.

I hated the taste of the bile scorching my throat,
or was it my heart that rose with the knowledge
Id seen the last of that falsetto scowl
that hid the boy hed never had a chance to be.

I knocked again, only to be greeted by
the unmistakable mournful cry of his
emotionally ill Cheshire cat hed never taught
how to dial 911.