We’ve Hardly Begun And

already have ruined this great
bullish experiment, the shining hill
city with no real sense of lasting
design or weight, flowers placed on an
empty casket. Too late. Most mistake any men in scrubs
for doctors: dazed by the prospect of good health, patients
guess incorrectly. Then, when begins the pitch —
Hey! A medical supplies salesman? Who let you
in the operating room? It is flim-flam for sure, like no
jam on your peanut butter sandwich, or the
knife used to slice strawberries from the garden, twitching
loose to nick your thumb. You should be careful,
maybe look for helpers in the world, those
nice morticians coming from upstate to move bodies
out of overcrowded NYC. See? It’s not hard to
plan ahead, to make wishes known so you don’t end up
queued last and lonely, hoping for a
real doctor or sandwich maker, at the very least
some daisies to brighten this empty room. That may be
too big an ask, butter yellow when the skies grow gray and we are
under it all — sleet and hail, gale-force winds, snakes leaking
venom as they fall from above and land to wrap around our
wrists like bracelets, like something gold and rubied
Xena might wear when she arrives to save our skin. I’ll always be with
you, she says, right after accidentally stabbing her best friend.
Zoinks! Bet you didn’t see that coming — the end, I mean. The end. 


Laura Bandy attended the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers PhD program from 2009 to 2013, where she received the Joan Johnson Poetry Award. In 2018, she won first prize in the ‘Trio of Triolets’ contest judged by Allison Joseph, and received third place in the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award/ Illinois Emerging Writers Competition that same year. She has had work published in Soft Skull’s Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry, Ninth Letter, Sin Fronteras, River Styx, TypoPithead Chapel, and The Laurel Review among others, and currently has poems in Midwest Review and Longleaf Review, with work forthcoming in The Florida Review. Her chapbook, Hack, will be out with Dancing Girl Press in 2021. Laura hails from Jacksonville, Illinois, home of the Ferris wheel.