Our Complaints & Questions Bureau
is based in the bottom of a dry well. We will
help you down there if you wish to file
a report on my associates’ conduct.
Which creek-bed is your favorite?
We’ll mud you in, blame accidental causes
if ever a fisherman snags on an ankle. It’s simple.
There’re zero murders on the books in Trinity,
though dying strange ways trumps the totals we lose
to natural old age. We’re the law they’ll call
to solve your mysterious disappearance.
That’s what happens if once we think
you aren’t with the program. Nod twice
if you track my meaning. Promise silence
and the tape comes off. The ropes.
We never had this friendly conversation.
Go on with your normal day
and let's not talk again.
TODD MERCER won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry in 2016, the National Writers Series Poetry Prize for 2016, and the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts Flash Fiction Award for 2015. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer's recent poetry and fiction appear in: Bartleby Snopes, Blast Furnace, Cheap Pop, Eunoia Review, The Fib Review, Flash Frontier Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, In-flight Literary Magazine, The Lake, The Magnolia Review, Softblow Journal, Star 82 Review and Two Cities Review.