Barrett Warner

My Friend Larry Poodle

My friend Larry Poodle gets out of jail
so we throw a “Poodle Broke out of Jail Party.”

Just another party at the dump—our duplex—
joined at the porch and the tank of oil that warms us in January.

A few kegs, and blenders, and late into the evening
bodies fall asleep against anything that doesn’t move—
floors, speaker boxes, furniture.

I hardly speak, and I’m too shy to look at anyone,
and now a faint snoring comes from my right armpit.
Bomba’s face there, and someone else’s hand grasping my foot.

All the nightmares lay beside all the dreams.

Larry shuffles from ash tray to ash tray, emptying smaller ones
into larger ones. He has a thing about fire. It’s a new thing.
He never empties an ash tray directly into the trash can.

He is otherwise very smooth, with chuckling eyes,
and known for having the best Quaaludes in Tidewater.

About life, Larry and I have nothing to say.

It’s the quiet hour that makes me so anxious.

Barrett Warner is the author of My Friend Ken Harvey, which won the 2014 Chris Toll Memorial Chapbook Prize. He lives a life of quiet mayhem and visible darkness at An Otherwise Perfect Farm.

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