My sister is lightning rod. She detects electricity in the atmosphere
before blue-white bolts strike in her neighborhood. Might be a curse
of some kind. Her leg tingles with sour current,
she, pushing up from the sofa, her bed, flinching and biting her teeth
as if it’s the first time. This will never go away. It might get worse
and she will have to bite down on a nail.
She’s suffered all her life, not a martyr, not the results of the theory
of self-fulfilling prophecy, not that it all happened at once, not that
she hasn’t learned how to count backwards.
She closes her eyes on the interstate, peeking to see if her future
will materialize on the back of an 18-wheeler. Her entire life
is sparks, flirting so closely to smoke and fire.
Bobo Escobar Eats Turtle Soup While Teaching His Children the Quadratic Equation
Never eat turtle soup from a trashed ice cream carton.
Never eat turtle soup at all. Move your face toward
the spoon then lift it up into the sky like a jet on take-off.
Pour it into the toilet and flush it away from your house.
BUT if you are stuck inside with your children for months
on end, you must get food – something – into their mouths.
It is fine, then, to open cans of turtle soup and have a science
lesson on the spot. Ask questions such as Where did the turtles
live? What variety? & who first decided that turtle soup would
be something acceptable to eat? How many turtles does it take
to fill up one can? Can turtles harbor parasites? Is it necessary
to add cognac and if so, should children be allowed to consume
it? His oldest struggles with advanced word problems, so as the
younger ones paint turtles on the kitchen walls, Bobo deactivates
a significant portion of his brain cells, showing how to solve
problems with the quadratic equation. It is painful, reminiscent
of the day he asked Mrs. Marshal when he’d ever need to know
this stuff. You will, she promised. No one ate the turtle soup
that day. Bobo Escobar drank the cognac and everyone lay down
for an afternoon nap.
John Dorroh has never fallen into an active volcano, nor has he ever captured a hummingbird. But he did make bread with Austrian monks and drank much of their beer. Currently, he dreams of the day when he can travel safely. Two of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net. Others have appeared in Feral, Tidal, Burningword, and Mono.