Bruce McGuffin



When I was a boy I knew apples could fly.
All you need is a long limber stick;
Push the apple on tight, then to launch it in flight
Swing it hard, with a swish and a flick.

You can stand back and smile, watch it fly for a while;
It will land, but there’s no telling where.
If you carefully aim at the side of a barn
Then the one place it won’t land is there.

So although it sounds reckless (it may have been feckless)
I threw quite a few at my sister.
Very soon she got bored and from then on ignored
All my shots which, predictably, missed her.

But the gods can be cruel in the way that they fool
With us mortals, a fact I’d forgotten.
Until a stray shot hit her square on the back
With a big juicy ground-fall, half rotten.

Her shriek woke the dead; there were things that she said
I would not have guessed sisters could say.
Her blood curdling cries soon foretold my demise;
I decided I’d rather not stay.

She was bigger and stronger, with legs that were longer.
She caught me in no time and then
The licking she gave me was frightful, and yet
If I could I’d have done it again.


Last month I sold my house but kept my books,
Resulting in some rather strange decor.
How odd (but fun) my new apartment looks
As I wind through big book piles on the floor.

In search of open space I’ve made a plan.
Some piles must go and other piles will stay.
I read the go-pile books fast as I can
And when I’m done I give each book away.

Now every time I browse through my collection,
Ignoring content, I choose books for speed.
The main criterion for my selection
Is how much space I free up as I read.

I need to read much faster though. I’m trying
To overtake my rate of new-book buying.


Bruce McGuffin’s poetry has appeared in Light, Lighten Up Online, The Asses of Parnassus, Better Than Starbucks, The Lyric, and other journals. He divides his time between Lexington, MA, where he works as an engineer in a radio factory, and Antrim, NH, where he writes poetry and otherwise avoids being useful.