"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." - Dorothy Parker

With Skulls and Anchors Tattooed on Their Shoulders, the Horses Gather 


Kike comes from keikl,

that's Yiddish for circle ,

My step-sister's husband said

his words whipped the air

like smoke from a candle    

We talked words, words like whiskey and paddy

between the passing and sipping of tequila 

they'd flown here to California from Philadelphia

she a failed rock star, he a painter

with skulls and anchors tattooed on their shoulders,

the horses gathered beneath our breath of dust,

hoofing, and snorting into the ground, our saddles of blood,

explaining the obscure origin of the curse word,

Fuck , which binds the heard, and keeps the pedigree clean  

On Ellis Island, the Jews,

and the Germans,

and the Russians (them Russians)

signed their names with a symbol:

a circle stood for the Star of David,

while the X was a cross for the Christians

Today they'd be hugs and kisses 

The origin of words - the place from which they came

upon which they birthed into a million meanings

from a million lips kissing and sailing across country

into the bloom of new breath and debauchery

my stepsister - her husband

she, a Mexican - Italian - American

he, an Irish - American

They, a miserable - happy couple

The hyphen is a saddle  

The horses have gathered,

and my throat is burning

they snort and kick,

the smoke is turning,

the dirt flicks from the ground

into clouds of gray, and yet

we embrace and say,

It was good to see you.

Elizabeth Dosta