Poetry: Selections from Aaron Sandberg



Hitting Hitler With My Car

Intentions aside,
            the Civic struck him hard.

Sure, I felt bad
            at first.

But after—
            seeing the imprint

of a mustached face
            smeared on my windshield

looking like mid-sneeze,
            I saw whom I had hit.

His tumbling into the ditch
            as I watched in rearview

is what I recall—
            then his rising

and shaking of fist,
            spit-screaming blame

over my acceleration
            and questionable crime.

A limping goose-step
            marches toward me still

though receding,
            if not dead,

along a mile marker
            closer than it appears.



Turbulent

Don’t dab my mustard-stained tie—
            it’s the only thing keeping us up,

my OCD drunkenly thinks
           when the altitude drop

flips my meal onto my chest,
            so I embank my meek courage

with mini-bottle booze, 
            palm plastic knife in my white-knuckled fist,

balter in the aisle on my lavatory walk
            in defiance of pleas to return to my seat

and fasten-belt dings in the chop,
            wipe the runny nose-bleed

from depressurized air,
            and dream the will to wrest

the throttle from this pilot
            of our barely-nubivagant plane,

and as a cursed mercy—
            novice as we both must be—

take aim at sheer cliffs for a final approach,
            which rose up as we whizzed our craft down

to fill the lacuna in our bones with its rock,
            bringing this damned flight down now.



A Carol, Redacted

Prepare ye for the first of three ghosts,
            I was told, so I did—

I hid it beneath a belt
           so when he took me to see scenes

where I appeared years before now,
            I held myself hostage

and asked not for grace
            but for something more simple like mercy,

untucked steel from my waist,
            and drew a knife to the neck

of the boy who was me
            so I could never be haunted

since I would never grow old
            to fuck it all up in the first place.



On Hugh Hefner Dumping a Casket of Sex Tapes into the Pacific Ocean

Kafka demanded it all burn
but Brod wouldn’t have it.

And now Franz can roll in his grave
with history’s cancelling dice.

Drowning is just as good as that
and better than things never lit.

Fall to the ocean’s floor
in a cement-lined box that won’t bob

like the head of a girl on her knees.
What an awful simile.

Lothario is a word I want to use here
for what it means

but more for how
it sounds.

Sometimes substance and surface
go hand in hand.

Sometimes a past and future
can’t swing.

Listen to him sing:

I killed us before
           I died.

Your secrets, sweeties,
           sea-safe with me—

our sin has yet to learn
            to swim.

Just be bunny          and wink—

we’ll sink
            to save
                       us all.




Aaron Sandberg has appeared in West Trade Review, Asimov’s, The Offing, Sporklet, perhappened mag, Lowestoft Chronicle, Abridged, Giallo, Right Hand Pointing, Monday Night, Unstamatic, and elsewhere. A Pushcart-nominated teacher, you can see him—if he doesn’t see you first—on Instagram.

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