THE ABSENCE

By Jeffrey Zable

Above the deafening sounds of laughter, a hammer is ejecting a nail,

while a pig is devouring a bacon sandwich.

At the head of the table a noose is preparing a neck

by shining it with the finest perfume.

And once it’s ready, the sleeveless blouse will rise to the ceiling

and swallow the only light bulb in the room.

The toothless hatter will break out in yodel

and dance in the field of broken glass.

Me, I’m trying to sleep through the pain

while degenerate teenagers stick pins

into every memory that I’ve tried to forget.

And when the wind blows through this one good ear

I will open the window onto a dead end road

in which bodies are piled into the sky —

in which it hasn’t rained for a thousand years.


Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in MockingHeart Review, Colloquial, Ink In Thirds, Third Wednesday, Remington Review, Brickplight, Soft Cartel, After the Pause, Rosette Maleficarum and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.