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The day before the croquet match

entry picture

Clubs, ace to king, prepare for a day of wicketness.

Yoga (downward dog) helps. Limbering ointment

promises more flex, less ache. If cards crease, it's


Off with their heads!


Diamonds are dispatched to capture

hedgehogs. They trek into the woods with hedgehog

horns and nets. Problem is, hedgehogs who've played 

croquet past years are not invited for rematch.

The moment the flamingo-mallet strikes, they recoil,

uncurl. It's near dusk, and all the hedgehogs

found so far sport disqualifying pink

feathers in their quills. If the hunters slump

back to the palace with empty nets, it's


Off with their heads!


Spades march marshward to procure flamingos.

Same problem. Birds that have played croquet

flinch at the moment of contact. A shell-shocked

flamingo with quilled jowls can't play croquet.

If spades return with flamingo wagon vacant, it's 


Off with their heads!


The croquet court is lined with white rose bushes.

Her Maj. wants red roses so paint buckets are passed

around. Ten hearts and one joker paint white roses red.

Their Maj's are exempted, and Jack's in jail on a tart

snatch charge. They work fast and reckless. Splotch

and drip of red on a leaf, paint streaks on the grass,

one tipped-over paint bucket. No doubt it's


Off with their heads!


It's up to you, Alice. Be bold. Due process trashed.

All four suits face genocide. Hedgehogs and flamingos

on the doorknock of extinction. Roses screwed

by lead poisoning. Things get so far off whack,

it takes supernatural reach to yank

them back. You are the supernat. Exert.


- Paul Jolly


◄ Lilacs

My father's gift ►


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