The Art of Tetman Callis Poems the dead-baby truck

the dead-baby truck

there’s this truck
it’s the dead-baby truck
it’s being driven around downtown
it’s as big as a moving van
its license plates are out-of-state
its driver is this old guy
he wears flannel shirts and a feed cap
his jaw is set pretty hard

his dead-baby truck has these pictures
huge photographic blow-ups on its sides
they’re as big as the sides of a moving van
they’re pictures of dead babies
itty-bitty babies next to coins
tiny babies posed in fresh red stuff
the red stuff looks like blood
it may be blood
the dead babies are posed so that their hands
their little dead and bloody hands
are clutching at the coins
quarters and dimes
who knew quarters and dimes are so big
who knew a photographer could get dead babies
could get them to hold on to coins

the old guy in the flannel shirt
and the billed cap on his head
and the grim expression on his face
he drives the dead-baby truck around downtown
he drives it up and down all the downtown streets
he drives it past all the office workers who are going to eat their lunches
he doesn’t honk his horn or try to call attention to himself
but it’s a big truck
big as a moving van
and it has these big pictures on its sides
of bloody dead babies clutching at coins
it has a phone number too
and a website address

a car follows right behind the dead-baby truck
it’s a white sedan that looks like a police car
it has a black spotlight
extra radio aerials
some letters and numbers painted on its trunk
a prisoners’ cage in the back seat
a red-white-and-blue license plate
it follows right behind the dead-baby truck
it goes when the truck goes
turns when the truck turns
stops when the truck stops
a guy in sunglasses drives it

office workers go to lunch
the dead-baby truck goes by
the white sedan goes by
some of the office workers look
most don’t
they are hungry
lunch is never long enough

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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