Salted Cod

by Jim Benz

Confronted with the head of a dead salted cod:

the animist pondered his sacrifice,
the beautician wrinkled her nose,
the corporate vice-president claimed ownership of a revised policy statement,
the Dalai Lama smiled enigmatically,
the eel gulped,
the fanzine editor wrote a worshipful column,
the guardian angel was just a moment too late,
the harpist cut her finger on a string and bled profusely,
the Iberian Peninsula just sat there,
the jurist opened her dusty book and said, “aha”,
the kaffeeklatsch held a moment of uncomfortable silence,
the litigant stammered uncontrollably,
the musicologist revived a popular sea-faring ditty from fifteenth century Basque country,
the number crunchers ran out of ink and panicked,
the optimist drank half a glass and asked for more,
the pessimist brooded,
the quiz master said something really stupid and everyone laughed,
the ringleader swallowed hard and tried to explain it all again,
the sycophant wiped her lips with a linen napkin,
the tyrant looked over the wrong shoulder at precisely the wrong moment,
the union rep made a salient observation,
the virus mutated,
the Walloon language stuck out its chest and began to sing,
the xenophobe refused to leave his room,
the yodeler slipped on a rock and split his head open,
the zither wouldn’t stop playing, but no one cared.


Author's Note: soon to be published in Calliope Nerve

Posted on 12/26/2005
Copyright © 2022 Jim Benz

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Meghan Helmich on 07/10/08 at 12:47 PM

congrats on the publication. 'the virus mutated.' haha awesome.

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