2 Poems
—by Michael Shorb

Warning Label

Do not expose yourself
to sunlight while
using this material,
there are substances
lurking underneath
this text known to cause
depression, anxiety,
remorse and nausea,
if you are reading this
line in English,
exercise extreme caution
while engaging in
full frontal nudity,
whatever you do
don’t search for
metaphors or contemplate
the global crisis
within earshot
of this song,
in other words,
as the old saying goes,
just keep your mouth shut
and you won’t
get hurt.


Crime Scene

There wasn’t enough
pressure in the hoses
to wash all the blood
away, so we could see
places where it spattered
as far as the feet
of the monumental angel.
There wasn’t enough yellow tape
to surround places
where children met the same
stony end as hardened criminals,
dreaming of a scrap of bread,
fantasizing the feeling
of cool water running
down their parched throats.
We combed the waste
with ultraviolet light
but could not determine
who the killers were,
sheltered as they were
by oceans, by abstractions,
by the blissful ignorance
of luxury.

Michael Shorb's work reflects a satirical focus on present day trends and events. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Rattle, and European Judaism, as well as other publications and anthologies.