Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 1
Spring 2010

[Two Prose Poems]

Jamie Iredell

Playing Hands

He'd fallen in love with his hands. The fingers had once combed through the black tendrils milimetering out from a woman's head. They'd also graced the elastic waistband of his Jockeys, and the keys of a Casio electronic keyboard. He hadn't an ear for music, and disparate notes—a sound like the transmission of a machine that crushes the spent husks of what were once vehicles, which families had ripped around America—drifted out from the hands. The hands themselves had turned into mangroves. Every finger sprouted yet another finger and then that another finger, and the hands were the mangrove root system for the canopy of his head. But it was beautiful still, he thought, the fact of his playing.


Tumor, the

celled its way to a golf ball-sized clump of cells. Tumors and certain weather phenomena are always compared to sporting balls and fruit. Example: There’s a grapefruit-sized tumor in his colon. Our town was pummeled by softball-sized hail. Why are not tumors and hail tumor- and hail-sized? The doctors and meteorologists wander their offices tapping pencils to their temples and eyeing through stacks of Sports Illustrated, their walls wallpapered with fruited still lifes. This particular tumored man, about whom we’re discussing, possessed good teeth, bad gums. His gums smelled like dead flesh. He jogged. His heart was a very fat man’s, and he pounded it inside his chest. As many syllables as “cardio vascular disease” lined by on a sign inside his head. His tumor was a basketball under his shirt. Sex evaporated as quickly as his wife’s presence in his apartment. His body remained, tumor-attached. The body was named Larry. Outside the hail was the size of hail.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury