The Spelunker
by Sy Roth


He waddles into the room.

They all watch his camel’s walk in their desert.

Heads swing like pendulums as he wends his way their way.

He spelunkles their cave,

lower jaw fixed in a smiling pout.

Ill-fitting teeth make a bat-clacking cha-cha as he moves.

Brillo-tufted chin jerkily moves in synch with them.

A toupee rests on his head like a beret on a bowling ball,

gray hair matted, weighted-stiff with muck

sponged from the air around him.


This day he changed his shirt,

a sere cloth of indistinguishable design.

Pearly-white skin peeps through a four-inch rent

where he clutches his pouch but fails to cover a droopy breast.

He unearths a seat, hidden beneath a pile of jackets,

people on either side leaning Towers of Pisa.


He mines his pouch

as their lemon-sucking faces glower,

and removes a sleeve of Saltine crackers,

gnaws at one daintily, pinky in the air.

Crumbs soon litter the table.


He mumbles garbled non-sequiturs

at the world around him.

Teeth and tongue conspire to splinter it with his presence,

then sighs as the Towers work to ignore him.

* * *

We gratefully acknowledge Dead Snakes and The Weekenders Magazine, where this poem previously appeared.

About Sy Roth:

He comes riding in and then canters out. Oftentimes, the head is bowed by reality; other times, he is proud to have said something noteworthy. cRetired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find words for solace.   He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications such as BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitsch, Scapegoat Review, The Artistic Muse, Inclement,  Napalm and Novocain, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mindless(Muse), Em Dash, South Townsville Micropoetry Journal, Vox Poetica, Clutching at Straws, Downer Magazine, Every Day Poems, Avalon Literary Review and Kerouac’s Dog.  One of his poems, “Forsaken Man,” was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle.  Also selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway, September 2012.  His work was also read at Palimpsest Poetry Festival in December 2012.