I Talk with Henry VIII About Gay Rights | Kenneth Pobo

I dash into the Court. He sits
looking terribly royal and dyspeptic.
People call him Your Majesty
or Your Grace. Not much grace
in that face. The time is now—

he must demand that England
have gay marriage, gay adoption,
and basic legal protections. I barge
past over-dressed sychophants
and say, Here is your chance
to change the course of history
in a good way. You don’t need
to execute, just institute. He doesn’t
fully get what I’m driving at
but looks displeased. I know
that means I could be dragged
to the Tower. But I have fairy dust.
It’s way stronger than he or
his guards. He says he will
think about it. No, I say, I’m speaking
on behalf of millions. We can’t
wait centuries. He screams
for his guards to run me through.
I laugh, toss dust on them.
They freeze. They look like dummies
in a drab Men’s Department.
He says it’s witchcraft. I admit
I do have an inner Endora,
not a reference he’ll get.

My time is short. I must return
to my own time. I tell him
I’ll be back. We have more to discuss.
He says I make his leg throb.
I say that’s called conscience.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book out called Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books).  His work has appeared in: Hawaii Review, Amsterdam Review, Brittle Star, The Fiddlehead, Two Thirds North, and elsewhere.

Queen Jane | Kenneth Pobo

After your brothers pimp
you out to the king,
who gets what he wants
on anything,
you must comply,
promising to be bonny
and buxom at bed
and at board. You’d better
keep that promise. Heads
roll off of shoulders easily.
He won’t lose sleep
over your hacked neck.
Your predecessor
made the same promise
and the sword struck.
The next day you
get engaged.
You obey. If not,
you’re in the way,
easily replaced.
You do give birth
to a son, the perfect
incubator wife. Then
you die. He mourns
and starts looking
for #4. He gives you
a fabulous funeral.
That’s more than
Anne Boleyn got.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book out called Dindi Expecting Snow (Duck Lake Books).  His work has appeared in: Hawaii Review, Amsterdam Review, Brittle Star, The Fiddlehead, Two Thirds North, and elsewhere.