"Too Soon?" and "Birthday 2005"

Too Soon?

headed to get groceries and
run errands with my wife
I notice the the gargantuan flag
at Camping World, where they
sell recreational vehicles is at half mast
this flag is the biggest
that I have ever seen
I ask my wife
“what happened, why is that flag at half mast?”
she doesn’t know
she hasn’t heard anything
I haven’t been keeping up
with the news lately myself
we get our groceries and 
on the ride home get to the intersection
of 59 and 90
where roughly thirty flags fly on poles
and none of those are at half mast
then it dawns on me that maybe
nothing at all had happened
maybe the workers at the r.v. place
are just too lazy to lift that
heavy ass goddamn flag
and to justify their said laziness
assume that another mass shooting
will happen soon enough



Birthday 2005

I went to a parade downtown
saw floats, saw tits, saw drunks
drove to my folk’s rental in spanish fort
my mom, taking tequila shots
my dad, working shift work at the mill
a great meal offered and ingested
a great day
I thought
“is it hot in here?” my mother asked
“not to me,” I replied
as I searched for drum and bass ringtones
for my new phone just purchased for me
“I’m having trouble breathing,” she said
time is of the essence I thought
I called 911
I put a leash on the dog
as my mother went to the back
to get dressed for the ambulance
she returned with fear in her eyes, asking
“when will they be here?”
at that time
I assume
realizing she had no heart beat
I was unaware of this at that point
looking back
I should have called again
but I was in complete denial and comforting her
I watched my mother die a fast death
to her
I’m sure it was slow
suffocating, turning purple, and scared
no breath to be had
despite trying
I said, “I love you.”
somehow between gasps of air
she was able to get out
“I love you too
tell your dad”
I said, “I know, save your breath.”
no heartbeat
no breath
no hope
no help
flailing and convulsing upon the floor
not a goddamn thing I could do
but stare in shock
where the fuck are the paramedics I thought
finally they arrived and began working on her
at the hospital questions were answered
blood pressure skyrocketed
heart stopped
and lungs slowly filled with fluid
my mother had drowned from within
the lungs drained
the heart revived
but consciousness had not returned
her brain had been without oxygen for about an hour
left in a vegetative state
we waited two weeks for a miracle
or at least
any sign of improvement
or life
kept alive by machines
that’s no life
that’s not life
the machines were switched off
and I watched my mother die 
for the second time



Anthony Dirk Ray

Anthony Dirk Ray lives in the deep southern portion of the United States. He plays music, does the occasional stand up comedy routine, and attempts to complete poetry and prose.  After years of writing just for himself, he is now sending his lines out. Most recently, his work has been on Beatnik Cowboy, Madswirl, and HorrorSleazeTrash.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 21:39