“Oradea” by Ben Schutz

Despite or due to the murder, high
up in deformed trees, of crows
who have splattered the zoo below
with splotchy guano from their witch’s brooms,
this trip to see emaciated tigers
missing raccoons and mooning baboons
has rejuvenated our slowly souring moods.

So it seems, sucking on lollipops
red and blue, tough bubblegum
nuggets to chew – or blow – but
you know those ominous cackling
crows could have been rooks,
the murder simply storytelling
built to clamorous climax – a nut
plucked from a love-struck peacock.

The spell works both ways. Turtles screw behind
porcupine spines, our laughter is reborn.
The next morning as we too screw,
I think back to our Fool’s Day afternoon
at the zoo, and at the climax
sucked of tension, lollipopless
I ignore my instinct whispering
we’re not alone in here.


Ben Schutz grew up on an island in Lake Michigan, studied German at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and currently resides and teaches English in Debrecen, the “big village” of the Great Hungarian Plain. He talks to crows and blackbirds in the forest, writes poems, and enjoys a good soak with his partner in the thermal baths of Eastern Hungary.