by Richard King Perkins II

A Few Pages of Elric in the Night

It is too early in the night for me to die in the stories;
tales of romance, of war, and all infinite, godless virtue
beyond the rising of the moon; bitterness in the deepest dark.

I’ve read this dozens of times before and the waxing of Chaos
doesn’t concern me. I take up the saga in my hands and the
words are as familiar as that which holds them, sinking

deep into me until I can think of nothing else.
This is the strain of winter, the moon ascending outside
the earth, the ether of time, cold against my imagination.

Silently, you will understand me as the words alter my body,
recognize the new countenance they have given my face, and
the strange shadows created against the whitest of albino moons.

* * *

Currents of Time

A city lies just around the river’s curl.
You place your foot over

the boat’s edge and your toes disappear
but not just from your view.

When your foot is retrieved it has been
changed into an amorphous hoof.

Your club foot is not a deformity
but an evolutionary advancement.

Civilization is the distant past in a boat
which drags against the currents of time.

* * *

The Sleeper’s Requiem

This is not the first time it has happened
but you have been told not to remember.

The secret plans to the doomsday machine
are buried in a lightless crater of your mind.

You have been anguished with truth serum
and the maddening pain of water.
So far, you have said nothing.

If you can last another fourteen days,
they will possibly forget you.

With weary certainty,
the man with the monocle and scarred face
is asking you the same questions
he has asked all the others.

What is hidden beneath the Face of Mars?
Where is the Blue Rose?
When will the attack begin?

You do not answer. You know nothing.

The scientist who implanted
the concealed answers is also here.
He places his finger to his lips, imploring silence.
Your blank stare reassures him.

Two weeks pass.
Your captors have learned nothing
and have made you forget this entire ordeal.

You are thrown from a moving cab into the street.
Seeking orientation,
death rays unexpectedly shoot from your eyes.
The attack has begun.

Just like before,
you will have your freedom

but they will never let you go.

     Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He has a wife, Vickie and a daughter, Sage. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including Poetry Salzburg Review, Prime Mincer, Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Two Thirds North, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Bluestem, East Coast Literary Review and December Magazine.