Carson Pytell

White Elephants and/or Sacred Crows


All is misery-fraught in the realm of earth,
the work of fortune changes the world under the heavens.
Here wealth is loaned. Here friends are loaned.
Here man is loaned. Here family is loaned—
And this whole foundation of the earth wastes away!

Dick came home late again to a hot dinner
which his maid always sees is hot for him.
His sons, daughter, wife; all in distant rooms,
having eaten separately within the past hours.
Or maybe they weren’t even home. Hard to tell.

He sat down to a cheeseburger, canned corn
and a glass of milk with one cube of ice in it;
his favorite meal because it was the one he’d shared
with Evelyn on their first date, the thirtieth anniversary
of which was five days away and no longer celebrated.

Well, she’ll be at the spa anyway. It’ll be the weekend.
The kids will be out then too, of course. With friends.
Dick has a tough time on evenings like these, until
he showers and crawls into bed next to the wife;
by 9:00 every night asleep, chardonnay scented.

It’s just having that breathing next to him, some presence
which comforts him. By now he’d be just as cozy if it was the
maid he slept next to each night. Probably even more so.
This is why, that weekend, Mr. Corey took out some papers,
replaced many names with one, granted a loan, then defaulted.

Mappae Mundi Meet Nietzsche

It would be a breeze to detail
each of the correlations between
a map of all we thought we knew
and a man who, speaking of it,
introduced to us an entirely new land
to plow and plunder and proliferate.

Like how those maps placed Eden,
were considered complete with Cathay,
and encouraged endless expeditions,
just only to areas already on the map,
until some one made a mistake and
found himself asking Indians about India.

But the most sensible thing to say,
the point of interest, so to speak,
is that those mediaeval maps,
in their own time, were correct,
just as was that mustachioed
misanthrope at the very end.

Until they’re snatched by owls…

Lord, save little children.
The wind blows and the rain’s a-cold.
Yet they abide…They abide and they endure.

Fat rabbits make for all
the better prey for cunning
like innocence in kids being cute
and by adulthood clearly some sin.

Leaving interviews unburdened
and beguiled into the stockroom
at half the rate college had cost,
their dollar still goes to a Tiny Tim.

Then Tiny Tim walks home
carrying the crutch, counting
almost as much as he’d have
even without the perspicacity.

The rabbit has only change
left enough for one beef stick
to chew slower than a stogie later
while he gazes public television.

So Tiny Tim will become Timothy,
letting liars lead the crew, condemning
all those cotton-tailed and -nosed to
stocking or just taking stock of shelves.

But don’t blame Tim or Timothy,
the birds have to eat like fat rabbits
not masticating so slowly once learning
salvation skips the little little only at heart.


Carson Pytell is a Pushcart-nominated writer living outside Albany, NY whose work has appeared in numerous venues online and in print, including Artifact Nouveau, Perceptions Magazine, NoD Magazine, Rabid Oak, Backchannels and White Wall Review, among others. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Coastal Shelf and participated in the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in December 2020. His first two chapbooks, First-Year (Alien Buddha Press, 2020) and Trail (Guerrilla Genesis Press, 2020), are now available and his third, The Gold That Stays (Cyberwit Publishing, 2021) is forthcoming.

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