Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Coleen T. Houlihan

Illustration by James Conant

How May I Help You?

Lips are well slicked for the task.
I know I ask a lot; speaking is the easy part.
“Smile baby, baby! Say,
‘How may I help you?’”

When the tigers got all five claws
buried deep in an ass,
I beg myself to bray
in a pleasing tune.

Hiding behind red delicious
temptation, I chew my food slowly;
there’s a ‘Fuck you’ buried in my throat;
there’s a homicidal maniac eating with me.

How many ways
can a body be pulled?
They push past the pop.
Spanish inquisitors say

salvation is in the burning.
They disarticulate me
and leave me to dangle like a broken tree
or a pair of cheap glass earrings

swaying forgotten
on the ears of a little girl’s
‘Last Year’s Favorite Toy.’
They do it with a smile.

Is it any wonder
I don’t trust my own?