Rebecca Foust

Disobedience begins with the willingness—in some, a compulsion—to question everything and accept nothing, especially authority or the status quo, without looking inward to see if it aligns with my sense of what’s fair or right. With misalignment begins struggle, protest and sometimes resistance ripening into disobedience.


TOC | Next


Courtesy Flush

A boy whose name I cannot now recall
in the john with his MK48
did not come out. In e-mails Boy’s mom
sent on to the Pentagon: they made me stand
on a kid until he bled out
. Boy got
his hot-and-cot foursquare meal, time off,
and a week’s worth of Paxil. Then returned
to his watch to watch his spirit leach
into the hot sand. Death by water, Boy thought,
instead of this slow seep,
so he opened
his pump. Zip him in his body bag; toss in
his scarred wrists, and the long, long list
of the other un-nameds; God forbid we see
that shit—we’d have to admit it exists.




Even if those shoes—sorry, those Manolo
stilettos—did cost twice the ticket
for this charity ball, still, Pilgrim gets it:
it was in bad taste to say so,
and to say it so loudly, in that shard
of silence after the non-denominational grace
had amen-ed. Her bad for getting shitfaced
on the Veuve, and then deciding it would
be funny to swallow that uncut diamond
shaken from its velveteen pouch
and passed from hand to hand to hand
round the table. It just went south
from there. Thinking, meanwhile, about Darfur
and God, all that food. And the mines so near.



"Oops" first published in The Ledge.

"Courtesy Flush" first published in the Los Angeles Review.


Rebecca Foust is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and the winner of the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award. Her fifth book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry and can be ordered at Foust is the Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and an assistant editor for Narrative.