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Syndic Literary Journal

The Astonished Heart

Narrated by Bill Wolak

New Jersey

The Astonished Heart

She of the shining eyes

in the next booth

Ramada Inn Lawrence Kansas

Beautiful teeth and long hair

talking to a smiler in sharkskin

She is twenty and aglow

saying something important

about their life together

It must be serious

the way she looks at him

with her far-eyed look


or maybe it is just about the tragedy

of some movie she’s just been to

I can’t hear the words

Just the voice lisping a little

flat almost

except for the eyes

He smiles into them

They are both smiling

into each other

Maybe it is just a little joke

between them

not a tragedy at all

There is nothing to do about it

in either case

Just watch it happen

amazed and aghast

at the fantastic craziness of it

and of existence

which just goes on

bowling us over

Set ‘em up in the other alley

Wow watch this one

I got my crystal spectacles on

Soon soon their supper will come

Soon soon they will eat it

or each other

not necessarily a tragedy

Maybe it is all just a goofy movie

about eating

He may be about to eat a fish

whose baked eye glares up at him

Soon soon they will devour each other

Eyes feasting on each other

Each prepares the other’s surrender

Soon she will look away

with her long look

out a window

through the Standard Station’s neons

toward the plains

where somewhere soon

they will lie together hot

under the sun at noon

Soon soon she will finish eating

her appetizer

Soon soon she will look at him again

You can tell she’s still hungry

Woman is a wonderful invention

of man

And man a wonderful invention

of woman

Soon soon they will be born again in the sun

Soon too soon they will be wonderfully done

with each other

She looks away from him now

into the great American night

and seems to see very far

unless it’s just contact lenses

making her eyes

so shiny

There is a great crowded bluff

in Lawrence Kansas

that looks a long way

into the astonished heart

of America



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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