2 Poems By Phill Provance

Epigram for the Neanderthals

What woman wants a fireman,
a plan in case of morning,
a man with hands like Hoover Dams
who makes an easy hundred grand,
who trades his Viper for a van,
a man who’s, frankly, boring?

How It Goes

The woman shoves her way deeper into the
forest, thrusting aside some beech limbs
blocking her path. I watch her freckled
shoulders and thighs disappear behind a
thicket of brambles and picture her
shimmying into red heels, miniskirt and
faux-mink jacket. Then I discover the back
of my head has been resting the entire time
against a potato-size piece of limestone and
is buried up to the ears in a thick tuft of

With nothing else to do, I light a cigarette
and look up. The bare, black branches form
a net to catch the sky as two black birds
jostle in the treetops. Crows, it appears, and
whether they are playing or fighting is
impossible to tell. All I know is what I see:
one bird carries a holly twig in its beak, a
single scarlet berry dangling from one end,
while the other follows several feet behind,
bouncing along the slender bough where
they both landed.

Then, gaining on the first crow, the second
nips at the berry, and the pair scuffle. Their
beaks forget the twig amid flapping and
cawing, and it drops to the forest floor,
striking my chest berryless. Suddenly, I
realize I am cold.

Phill Provance is the author of the poetry chapbook The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky (Cy Gist, 2010) and the nonfiction popular history, A Brief History of Woodbridge, New Jersey (The History Press, 2019). His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, including The Baltimore Sun, The Crab Creek Review, and Third Wednesday. He was named a finalist for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Prize by Diane Seuss. He holds an MFA in poetry and fiction from WV Wesleyan and lives in Woodstock, Illinois.

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