The Cactus on the Acropolis by Fred Zirm

The Cactus on the Acropolis

makes me imagine tumbleweed as well
blowing across the stone orkestra
of the ancient theatre of Dionysus
where Aeschylus and Aristophanes
circle each other and then square off,
six guns slung from tooled leather belts
wrapped round their gleaming white togas.

You know, Kid, character is fate
Aeschylus sneers,
his hands hovering over
his revolvers’ shiny pearl handles.
Cerberus barks in the distance.
Those saloon girl Muses peek out
from behind the marble pillars.
Thetis drags her young son Achilles
by the heel off the street to safety.

Smile when you say that, Butch,
Aristophanes replies
and spits at his opponent’s feet.
The Muses gasp; Thetis clutches
Achilles close to her chest.

The tragedian just stares
at the dark spot in the dust
and then looks his enemy in the eye.
This town ain’t big enough
for the both of us he snarls.

Neither one of them sees
the sniper on the roof.

Fred Zirm at the Tree House Coffee ShopAlthough Fred Zirm has an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of Iowa and has directed nearly one hundred high school drama productions, he now focuses on poetry and flash fiction in his own writing. His more memorable trips have included a thousand mile solo bike tour of Greece, another bike adventure in the French Alps, and more sedentary trips to St. Petersburg, Florence, Venice, Copenhagen, and Thessaloniki- the last to teach a poetry workshop at Aristotle University. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Voices de la Luna, Still Crazy, and The Rejected Quarterly.




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