The poetry of Les Epstein

The Fossil Life

What plans shall I make once I am found as a collected skull.  Might I trade baseball notes with 4th Millennium paleoanthropologists or should I prepare a statement of misgivings for misbehaving

When I entered earlier years of academic drudgery, which leaves concern as to whether my old noggin preserved my baldness for all times and would its interior still reveal a passion for afternoons operatic

Not to mention Dorothy Hamill but then again can old skulls really laugh at themselves when finally acknowledging having never met Hamill or the ability to carry the right tune

For things truly operatic so then it would be my hope that I will be saved for Halloween settings on porches.  Yes, I might be set upon an oak bench.  A candle lit in my cranium, and with orange glow through my sockets, children will gawk and quiver at mighty horrors as they stash sweets in bags.

Or perhaps it would be a theater afterlife for me and I might sit upon as that haughty Scottish king upon a spear or wait, even the better, on some rainy afternoon, a dismayed teen will lift my head and say from his bench: Alas! Poor Epstein, What a Mensch!

Will any then look inside my salty flat bones?  Will they seek truth behind the American chaos that dogged my later life?  Will they ask where I stored my devotion to a wife and daughter?  Will they handle me as treasured trophy or place me in warehouse of stranger skulls?

But should anyone ask what really happened all the odd years of my life, then let them floss my fossil teeth, as this is what they will hear: “which moment was best to fear”?


Les Epstein is the author of eight plays and two operas that have appeared on stages across the U.S. Most recently, his plays, “Ira’s Fantastical Ride up New York 9,” premiered at the Greenbrier Valley Theater (West Virginia), and “Thus Slud Zarilla” at Virginia’s Page to Stage. The former play appears in the current edition of the Irish journal, Silver Apples Magazine. A new play, “A Poe Show,” is slated to premiere at the Performing Arts Luray this April Les’ work has appeared in journals in the United States, Philippines, India and the U.K. as well as on line publications. Recent credits include Eyedrum PeriodicallyRizal JournalIntersticeSweater WeatherMojave River Review and Saudade. He teaches in Roanoke, VA.

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