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two poems

by Mark Lee Webb

On a Very Average Painting of a Family Picnic at the Beach

Dad’s colliding with the sky

again a pelican black wing tips crash-diving mirrors while my sisters tread sand

Mom is turning into abandoned salt-water taffy and boardwalk dogs run loose no leash

hold the sauerkraut hold the mustard

hold the cheese hold the summer too late try to swim swim again

I get it all groupers are born females on bad days the ocean is the enemy and there’s a reason leaving at noon

for shade and a cold Pepsi might lose our spot or something after all

this is the beach and hard

When Dad Started Speaking

in tongues of epitaphs

the doctors collected his bones

and other broken parts

licked labels stuck them

on his skull

This Is The New One

taught him to paint

tombstones-by-numbers after he cut

himself on spilled milk

soaked his hands in

turpentine at night counted

leftover specks of dried enamel

in the morning


Mark Lee Webb is a poet, photographer, and musician. He received his MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte. His first full-length book of poetry, It's Not Easy Being a Moth, was released by Accents Publishing in 2021. His photographs of jazz musicians were featured at The fifteenTWELVE Gallery as part of the 2021 Louisville Photo Biennial. Mark is also a drummer, playing regularly with several jazz ensembles. He makes his home in Louisville with his wife, folk musician Molly McCormack.


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