Fred Hates Robins

A robin perched on Fred’s car
and talked to itself in the rearview mirror

and because Fred feels so forsaken
by the rich people in his church
who live in deluxe “cottages” on the lake
and attend each other’s lavish parties
and visit each other
in vintage wooden boats
and don’t invite Fred
whom they dislike
because he is abrasive
and citified in a way they
disapprove of,
he shot the robin

He hates robins anyway
Michigan schoolchildren voted the robin the state bird
First of all, why entrust such an important job
to schoolchildren?

Dumb kids don’t understand that robins don’t stay
over the cruel winter
abandoning the bravely suffering Michiganders

but chickadees hang in

Every winter morning when Fred goes to his job
at the ice cream factory
which runs just the same as it does in summer
he sees chickadees
on bare branches
and in the snow

Him and the chickadees
They’re not snowbirds
They don’t fly off to Florida
or to second homes in the Caribbean

It’s the modest and loyal chickadee
that should have been the state bird

When, in the Spring, Fred sees robins
perched in various places around his house
he feels bile well up
anger and
Yes, raw hatred
as he feels for the members of the lakeside mafia
who built the church in their image

hold auctions in which his wife
in her white-blonde wig
is always outbid

Couldn’t the rich bastards let his wife win once?



This generation’s Rasputin
makes “creepy dolls”
like the folk artist who made a thousand
images of his mother
some in pornographic poses

Rasputin is admittedly bitter
cold and cruel
His ancestor’s famous image
lives on the breast of my black t-shirt
which advertises a North Coast beer
On the back it reads “Never Say Die”

I wear it on a cruise ship
packed with a nursing home crowd
Some of them look at my receding back
as I jog on the promenade deck
and think, Can’t I say it? Or even think it?
Are we all required to live forever?

This generation’s Rasputin
has ice in his blood
and in his heart
He tears up his ticket
for the Trans-Siberian Railway
and trudges through Siberia
his boots shredding to nothing
frostbite claiming his toes

Across the globe
the wind is a fierce slap across this mesa
It has taken me half a century to begin
Nicholas and Alexandra

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Queen’s Ferry Press’s Best Small Fictions. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.