Donald Dunbar

Baseless Kindness
The baby is making not-baby noises. Stories for children should be about growing up. The baby is already well-acquainted with time. Jokes for children don’t require surprise, just smiling. The baby responds well to language. Jokes for adults should be ugly. The baby is pretending to be an egg, though it takes a mother to see that. “There is the baby,” the mother notices, “pretending to be an egg.” The father watches this through the window. “There is the baby,” the father notices, “pretending to be a person.”


Test Positive

Just cut the apple and put blood in it. Just pull your teeth and chew them. Comb the grain of the muscle, comb it fully clean. Release a holy noise, moan in the disposal. The daily affirmation of What It Is We Have Done. Select your smile and select your history. Select your pistol and then select your theme song.



Inorganic Vegetables


for Jessica Carol Hollis

My angel has arms for wings. It’s God that makes religion, it’s the news that makes the news stations. My angel eats only imagined things. Its head is just a face, and in its eyes are animals. Here’s a harp for you to pose with, beautiful angel. Here’s channel three with their camera posed. And here’s the cross to dangle over your solar plexus. It’s the gold that warms your breath, the shape that shapes it.



Bridge Collapse


for Jonathan Thomas Boyd Chin

     his fingertips whiten as he begins to push off      faint white horizon under his fingernails     The blade of his hand almost digs in, he’s using so much force   his elbow     straightens    Look at his face: his mouth tightening up to his jaw, but no real change in his eyes     no contraction of the eyelids, say      But those tendons in the neck      Now down here: his left leg he’s got planted, the tread bending there, but the right leg he never really gets down, does he    He’s pushing off with just one leg    There        both his hands are free of the concrete   his eyes  change, they’re wider and look at them move and focus on all these different pieces spreading out below him, like mosaic, sort of like an ancient mosaic     and there:  the first sharp blue of the river fills the craquelure beneath him    but I don’t know if this qualifies as a national disaster