pantoum noir

A Poem by Dennis Mahagin

The past is not a spy, but avenger
gaining entry through a skylight
with rappelling rope, Beatle boots, Derringer.
Touching down, as any escapee might

gain entry, past a crack of unlatched skylight
into night-bumping bloom, a palimpsest
touching down, above ground: where cons might
tell stories of blackmail repeating incest…

Goosebumps bloom like a palimpsest
in anteroom: the past stays alive, a private eye
stalking extortionists and/or rapists.
With binoculars, knife, mac, etc — collar tight, high

as street lamps snapping on, in unison: Instamatic eye
of the moment — n o w — tart vapor, darting breath
past glass eyes: a Mackinaw set up extra long, high
See-Through, for the maypole of the last one left

in mist moments and/or incest.
“Come on back, lover,” purrs a Mike Hammer blonde,
hourglass palimpsest, ghostly chalk outline of vapor, lust
for the mark who cries out, “Jesus, where’s my wife gone?”

“Come back,” says a platinum cut-out, neither angel nor
secret agent, — only a fallen one, having found her level
time after time, it’s where these lives have gone for
the past is no spy — r i s i n g — but avenger.

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