Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Two Poems

by Adrian Slonaker

Happy New Year

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka were battling Baba Yaga, and
the Twilight Zone marathon had marched on to
“The Midnight Sun” when
the scarlet Arabic digits on the
garage sale alarm clock gifted by ex-in-laws
flickered from 59 to 00,
triggering gooseflesh like an icy swig of blueberry lassi 
after a thermal mouthful of vegetable vindaloo. 
At a beige basin lit by spherical bulbs 
that should have lined Ava Gardner's mirrors,
I slathered a smear of ash-hued exfoliant,
pulling and dragging drugstore apricot kernels
across a countenance tepid with tap water
to tackle twelve months of crud:
the ghosts of encrusted snot from the head cold 
groggily contracted on that cruel five a.m. flight from San Juan,
the minuscule souvenirs of smoke from Dmitriy's sequence of cigarettes
dragged on during parking lot prattle about panic attacks,
the dregs of dust driven from between the clacking black laptop keys I 
hammered on to rout homelessness, 
the spittle sprayed from Vladi's warm, wormlike lips when they invaded 
the dimple in my unshaven chin behind a cheap third-floor Days Inn door.
Cleansed by clumsy fat fingers, my face is flushed 
from the rite of epidermal redemption
with cells screaming to be repolluted.

Three Like Me

I'm not a Jr.
or a III,
but a IV, a carbon copy of
Dad, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa
as far as the Office of Vital Statistics is concerned.
Ashkenazi Jews nix name-xeroxing 
to keep the Angel of Death from nicking Junior 
when it's Senior's time to shtarbn.
What luck that confusion
for III and me
was caused not by Malekh-Amoves, but
commonplace calls and correspondence.
When a calico kitten came to us, I kidded that
she should be christened after her predecessor; 
Lucy, Mom maintained, merited her own moniker.
If we inherit the sins of our fathers, 
then I was slapped with III's lapses and label
the moment I moved from the womb.

Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. Adrian's poetry has appeared in Amaryllis, Ginosko Literary Journal, The Mackinac, Eunoia Review, Oddball Magazine, and others.