Three Poems

by Nate Pritts






Human Pets

The tree uprooted. Sinister music.
Dangling, helpless, I find myself poised
for action when there is no clear warrant.

Impression is what’s important;
you should be aware that, at any second,
I could pounce into the thick of things,

I could explore the unknown with such
finesse & vigor that it would gladly yield up
its most secretest of secrets to me. Let me fly

through the pale green sky of forgetfulness
& you’d better believe all those hands
that make a clumsy grab for me will have

their fingers printed. I’ll know who’s
taking a swipe at me out of the clouds.
When my errant space pod crash lands

in your new life, watch me burn
the lovely vegetation to the ground, smoke
& cinder & regret wafting.

Night time is when I get like this, always
the most challenging time for me—trying to keep it all
together when I can’t even see myself.

Yellow beams of light projected from an object called the sun
hold me in place; ditto the look of concern on your face.
Willingly, I entered into the giant glass container

of a life with you & you alone. My torment
is that I can see out. I build a ladder one ruin
at a time, each of the one million moments

of shame & rage I feel every day
taking me higher & higher, but never over
the walls I’ve trapped myself behind.




Duel on the Island

Hidden: a meticulous list
of the many secret weapons I’ve stashed on my island.

Whatever the situation, I can quickly locate
my best defense. So come at me

with your giant, mutated attack whales
& I’ll shrink them to tadpoles, keep them

in a glass of water & sometimes threaten
to flush them down the toilet. Drift by

on your plush & righteous flying carpet; watch
as all your pronouncements unravel in midair.

There isn’t much that will surprise me.
Each medal pinned to my chest stands for a time

I got the better of somebody who tried
to get the better of me, baby.

What bothers me are the empty spots,
a different kind of badge: the misses, the failings.

Loss. In my quest to become insurmountable, to be
the strongest, the one thing no one can get past,

I’ve had a few set-backs. When you come at me, come quickly.
Bring any weapons you want. I’m ready.

But when you leave, leave forever. I have a feeling
& I’d rather be alone.




Never Be The Same Again

My life’s a funhouse: giant faces taunt me
& every cornering reveals another hazard:

volcano simmering in the guest room, dinosaurs
holding bazookas. As if their teeth weren’t enough,

as if your quiet rage in the next room doesn’t already
scare me. I’m stuck halfway through the wall

& there’s pie on my face. The first two mirrors
show how I’d look if I were short & fat or tall & skinny,

but the third shows me as I really am: attractive,
magnetic. How else to explain the paperclips

stuck to my face, the loose change scattered over my back?
Some days I think it’s better not to move at all,

to just stand & watch while the innocent tumble from the sky.
Such lovely music. Such unbelievable piercings.

The clown who runs the show didn’t count on my big dumb head,
couldn’t have known I’d run at high speeds into the same problems

over & over again. His red nose deflates while tears streak
the white greasepaint on his face. I can’t tell you

why I do the things I do. I eat the pie off my own face,
savoring the custard of my mistakes. I run down the street

punching with both hands, knocking out
anyone who’s hoping to see me made a fool of.