Robert Beveridge

Barking Up the Wrong Thermostat

The effectiveness
of the vaccine
depends on how
high the corn
on your elbow is
on the fourth
of next helping  

Only God Can Judge the 1979 Raiders

The map promised to show
the way to Poughkeepsie, but
nothing in this forest where
you find yourself looks
anything like Vassar. You
assume there isn’t a coroner’s
office for miles, and is there
really any reason to look?
There’s not a tree with a neck
tattoo in sight, no undergrowth
out to rob you of your compass,
the package of gorp stuffed
beneath your hat. It may be
tough to find a good reuben,
especially come winter, but this
strikes you as a minor annoyance. 
If you can find a landlord, the security
deposit nestles in the hidden pocket
of your jeans, its weight
a comfort against your thigh.

Ten of Pentacles

The tech places his palm
on my shoulder, asks me
to lean into it. I push
as hard as I can. In response
he shakes his head, laughs
a bit. “I don’t think
we need to try the rest
of these exercises.”
I ask what would have 
come. “I’m pretty sure
you wouldn’t be able 
to crabwalk.”

I’d conceived this poem
two, maybe three weeks
before that appointment.
I planned on writing it
the day I landed another job.
I’d been out of work
eleven months; financial
security was as ten
of pentacles as anything,
and probably more so.
Then came the appointment,
my demonstration
of arthritis for a doctor
who only needed
to see step one.
A month later,
an approval letter
in the mail.

Disability is a third
of my previous paycheck.
But it’s better
than six months
of crowdfunding the rent,
and it appears
on the third of every month.
Works for me.

Flights, Issue Eight, March 2023