Noel Sloboda

Another Revenge Prequel

The red Bakelite phone
glows. It looks just

like the one for ending

everything on the Resolute desk
of the President, offering

a direct line

to a third-level under-
lord of Hell who tells

me I need to convert

all my worst memories
to high-resolution JPEGS—

and I only get fourteen

shots at this, as if
spleen is best expressed

in a sonnet, a classic

form for love (not hate),
everyone knows. Or maybe

it’s that visions of venom

are stereoscopic, destined
for some cosmic View-Master

made of the same unbreakable red

plastic as the phone I used to dial in
to this infernal meditation on

everything I tried to forget:

a series of circular spectacles,
entertainment for the underworld.

The raspy, sibilant voice on

the other end adds that if I have
more images of what needs righting,
that is just too bad.

Noel Sloboda is the author of the poetry collection Shell Games as well as four chapbooks. He has also published a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. Sloboda teaches at Penn State York and serves as dramaturg for the Harrisburg Shakespeare Company.