the beggar wretch by Julie Allyn Johnson

the devil’s horn blares
in a broken wood
its trumpet’s singular blast
obliterates the rumble of thunder,
the crack of lightning’s script
written in a jagged hand
across an unfruitful landscape

rain cleanses
the root and stubble
of last year’s harvest
still, evil’s clamor
bounces off crumbling chimney spires
of abandoned homesteads
in a dead-locked night,
manna from the heavens
dilutes the confluence
of run-off from rusted bridges,
decrepit structures harboring the secrets
of heinous men and ignoble women

spirited retributions threaten
an unholy alliance
as if Old Scratch himself
might ever falter in the wake
of such pitiful assaults
he’s a fat old man
with big ears
reads the morning paper                                                                                                                      enjoys a hot cup of joe
dabbles in small talk
with the locals

but make no mistake
when his tutelage
is denied
he will bide his time
perpetuating the terror
and dread for which he is feared
adjudication administered
on his terms,
never, foolish ones, those
of his transgressors


About the Author

Julie Allyn Johnson is a sawyer’s daughter from the American Midwest whose current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting and the accumulation of fabric. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her poetry can be found in Star*Line, The Briar Cliff Review, Phantom Kangaroo, Lyrical Iowa, Cream Scene Carnival, Coffin Bell, The Lake, Haikuniverse, Chestnut Review and other journals.


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