His cape wet with rain,
Edgar Allan Poe slips into a 24-hour chain pharmacy under cover of night,
And asks the pharmacist for laudanum.
He is recognized.
The pharmacist is a crap poet who lives in a nearby bedroom community.
He participates in fantasy sports pools,
And worships Charles Bukowski.
Poe is strung out; desperate!
His shaking hands offer out-of-circulation bills, in wads.
"Laudanum," he repeats, with urgency.
Instead, the pharmacist
(whose name is Ted)
Starts rhapsodizing about "Buk".
There is so much blood.
Officers from this quiet suburb have never seen
Anyone impaled with an umbrella before.
A nearby display of magnifying reading glasses has been upset in the fracas,
And their empty lenses bear useless witness
To the waste of a human life.
An answering machine beeps.
"There is one pharmacy call," chirps a robotic female voice.
It will be pending for all eternity,
Or at least until the yellow crime tape comes down.
Meanwhile, Poe has scored something from a teenage boy loitering outside the 7-11.
He doesn't know what it is, but he takes it anyway, because
His girlfriend is gone,
His mind is a roiling snakepit,
And he has nothing else, nothing at all
To protect him from the storm.