Two Poems

Charles Simic

Flying Horses

Neighbours leaned out of windows
To see a pretty girl pass by
While bombs fell out of the sky
And flames lit up the mirrors.

Our building was a rollercoaster
We took a ride in every night
Wearing only our pyjamas
And clutching a suitcase or a small dog.

It was like a street fair in hell.
Death had a shelf full of stuffed animals
At the shooting gallery
Where we were a row of ducklings

Marching in line with me tagging along,
Pulling a small toy truck by a string
While trying to make the sound of a motor
Rev up as it sits stuck in the mud.

Encyclopedia of Horror

Nobody reads it but the insomniacs.
How strange to find a child
Slapped by his mother only this morning,
And the mad homeless woman
Who squatted to urinate in the street.

Perhaps they’ve missed something?
That great city after a bombing raid,
The corpses like cigarette butts
In a dinner plate overflowing with ashes.
But no, everyone is here.

O were you to come, invisible tribunal,
There’d be too many pages to thumb through,
Too many witnesses to listen to
About how the guards played cards
After they were done beating their prisoner.