Poem of the Month

By Michael Lista

Published on January 19, 2015

Bookending our VHS library
In the basement closet, beside ski suits,
Is our family’s one-man Capuchin Crypt,
A skull Dad kept from med school that just sits,
Waiting to be played with, bored, unburied.

Whose skull? A whoreson mad fellow’s it was,
The King’s jester, whose voice was once so clear,
Clearly a fool for him to end up here.
Maybe someone magnificent, then poor,
Who, if praying, never had a prayer.

I’ll hold the skull and think about his life.
Parents who loved him, children, and a wife,
The wind in his face on a summer drive,
His spirit storming through the skull’s brief night.
Here is the proof that he was once alive:

His tooth-jeweled jaw, lashed to his skull with springs,
Which I marionette to make him sing
Call Pizza Pizza hey hey hey.
Is here, with me, our suburban basement,

Where, after life’s indignities and glory,
Your organs mustered, bequeathed to science,
Having spoken your last words to family
Noli Timere, Memento mori
You’re interred with The NeverEnding Story.

More Poetry

Instead of a Christening

Goodbye, Romans said at interments,
Goodbye, and Goodbye. Hired clowns
imitated the dead, mocking
and reminding among the mourners.

I moat myself with winter sea,
I bury myself in woods.

Nursery Rhyme for Big Brother

Palace flags and shoot-to-kill orders,
cardboard tanks and well-lit borders,
dungeons and lice, grenades and books,
photos retouched and high-kicking boots,

Bond “Girls”


Everyone loves older men and even older cities. But women
must be girls, and preferably girls from out of town. But
I’ve lived here my whole life. And when you died, I fell