The Coined Phrase

A poem from "Sublime Subliminal" from Floating Bridge Press, 2018
Rena Priest

The newspapers are epiphanies.
There are clues in the beginning,
a pleasingly round narrative arc
with 56 minor, and 21 major, twists.

and a denouement that feels
like krill on your skin—the silk
of a half mill, in life
and a whale’s meal made null.

It smells like vanilla, 
and tastes like the sound
of coffee beans being ground
in the next room.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I give to you Dr. Paul Ekman,
researcher of micro-expression,
creator of the Atlas of Emotions.

Update: The newspapers
aren’t epiphanies,
but if you open the obituaries
and monarch butterflies flutter out,

don’t be alarmed, for they are merely 
the souls of the recently dead. 
However, should a row of pissants
go marching two-by-two instead,

follow them. They may lead you
to their motor-scooters
and thus enough fuel to fire new love.
Friend, should you be so lucky

as to procure such bounty,
the static world of electricity is yours.
Heck, take the aurora borealis
down from the sky if you like.

Put its antlers above your mantle. 
Sweetie, just be sure to do as you please
because there is no more plague. 
The fleas and clichés are dead.

You’ll have to make do with a new
frase acuñada. There are no clues
in the beginning, and the end
is surprising at first, obvious at last.

*coined phrase. There are no clues

Rena Priest , 05, B. A., English, is the 2021 Washington State Poet Laureate