Two Prose Poems

Tim Kahl


The Sweet Half-Tigers

All the sweet half-tigers designed by lion fathers who can’t dispute love’s diaspora as it fans into May, in the June July of all that rich erotic fairy-tale business, into August and its research, into the sleep of September. Then the pilot whales circle in the deep water off the coast as a sign of optimism. The hive is fruitful and damage to the nudes is minimal — some resemble potatoes. The Buddha is curator. A composer is listening in on the fracas and writing a hymn to fertility, the Symphony Dionysus. It doesn’t matter which as long as every tableau is imbued with adequate lighting. A chandelier is hung to represent the brain exploding with pleasure from the unreachable past when a male figure rode on the back of a lioness. All the sweet little halflings tumble alongside. Their performance is famous. Pay what you wish.

That Hum You Hear

Outside where the drought is pounding, the mosquitoes are kissing. That hum you hear is their chorus of ecstasy coming to the park to mingle among the Marine Corps families. Then on to the farmers market to taunt the balloon sculptress who lives alone in a room off the alley and wears silly hats to her support group. She visits her niece at the hospital and tells her all about the popular cheeses, but she never mentions the swarms hanging all over each other above the stagnant pond, each tiny kiss a salute to taking advantage of wandering humans. For some reason, mosquitoes find bodies of water romantic. At the city pool the young woman who wants a baby finds one feasting on her thigh. It makes her think of her grandfather who spent a lot of time with his dog at Tioga Pass trapping bear and marten. The thought makes her want to attend a clown convention, watch a horde of buzzing lovers descend on their greasepaint faces to see if they get annoyed. Or will they just get happier, honking their horns to signal they never get tired of having fun. They can assault you with sound, but it just means love.


Tim Kahl is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He is also editor of Clade Song. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth}. He plays flutes, guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.