Two poems by Mignon Ariel King

Bean Counter

The girl would purposely choose the rickety chair,
for that was part of the ceremony. She’d heard the tale
of the little boy who brought back beans for his cow.

Kneeling, she’d shuffle, sort. 1…2…3…. Pinch.
Pick up. This one, Mummy? Sometimes it wasn’t
a rock or grit of any sort, just broken; however,

her mother might say, “Oh, no. We don’t want
that in there at all. What a thorough job!”
Much later, she was a proofreader, then file-

clerk-finder of lost charts at the big university
hospital. Friends became mothers, counselors,
legal personnel. That was not for her though.

She swung in a swiveling chair on a cushion
brought from home, smiled at night, remembering
the occasional unusual beans she’d slipped

into pockets, metal lozenge boxes, and slid into
socks, tucked away where no one else coveted
them. How well she had loved each strange bean.



The Happy Hour

For an hour each night, the children bathed
and bedded down with stuffed bunnies and Pooh,
she lay white-nightied in the chirping dark to wonder
if her husband were alive, whiskey-soured and darting
or in the literal gutter instead, with motorcycled men lit blue
in flashes, attempting to identify grey matter, teeth, bone, glasses
splattered, shattered, sharding the pavement, guard rail, trees and grass.
Then the drone of exhausted rubber, airless on asphalt, ended the hour again.



Mignon Ariel King was born and raised to be an English teacher, but she has been AWOl for about five years now, working 9 to 5, finishing an autobiographical trilogy which includes her first published collection (The Woods Have Words), reading at open-mics, and editing two online journals (MoJo! and U.M.Ph.! Prose).

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