Poems from Three Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors · Pamela Miller

1. Bamboo Shoot

Six o’howling a.m. and we’re
cranking up our hearts’ black gears
as we strompa strompa stromp through the mushy jungle
in our pixilated wingtip shoes
to shoot the sadistic bamboo
right in its corona of fangs,
our rickety bazookas just barely held together with goo.
The sun is a lichenous splotch on the sky
and the oldest of us is fifteen.
We’re the doomed Pediatric Battalion
of Ankles, Ohio,
about to disappear into quicksand’s shifty lips,
yawping a lugubrious battle cry,
our voices too vast for our heads.

2. Dard Hunter Green

The middle of gangly May and we’re
belly crawling through the screeching forest’s
corridors of sodden fronds,
our miniature jetpacks chirring,
our combat boots beribboned with earthworms,
to hunt the inexplicable dard
that spits noxious green gunk like a chlorophyll cobra.
But are we tremblers? Spiff spaff!
We’re the mad-beard Commando Furiosos,
ornery as oak gall pie,
our Teflon chests relentless,
our rifles bristling with chutzpah,
oh we’re Kali-armed pinwheels of destruction,
blasting Death’s teeth out one by one.

3. Belvedere Cream

London in the crevice of 1943 and we’re
sidewinding like spirochetes down espionage’s alleys,
an inch of blood asplosh in our brogans,
to cream that turncoat Belvedere,
that pianist of pain they call Hitler’s Grater,
before he strangles us with poisoned gloves.
First we’ll sizzle his molars till they pop!
Then we’ll shove him in the avalanche machine!
But he slips through our flaccid grasp every time,
his fake skin crumbling in our hands.
We’re the muck-it-up bungle-thumbs failure brigade,
useless like paint that’s allergic to walls,
forever unbuttoning humiliation’s blouse
beneath a sky full of snickering stars.

Pamela Miller has published four books of poetry, most recently Miss Unthinkable (Mayapple Press). Her work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Third Wednesday, Santa Clara Review, The Disappointed Housewife, Mojave River Review, Gyroscope Review and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her husband, science fiction writer Richard Chwedyk.