She handed me the tumbler filled with something like thinned anisey milk. A fat goldfish
white all over but for gold spots behind each thrust-out eye (clear and black and white in a
wobbly sickening way) lifted its face through the ice qubes toward me and mouthed foul
cold puffs at my face and my cousin wanted me to take him home and put him in a bowl.
Him, she called him, as if a fish had a passport. Instead I went into the next room, scooped
it out and into my mouth like a tapa. The scales crunched with the ice chips. The eyes
weren’t like rank bubble tea at all, I didn’t notice them. There was a dryness and buzzard
flavor. I was still chewing it when I went back into the kitchen, trying to swallow. It, I had
something to do with the death of her daughter, I’d pushed her in the stroller into the hot
sun too long or watching someone do it waited too long and there was a trail and a
mountain where the mint pretends that silver seeks the golden sun and people disappear into
the rags of mist. Or maybe I just strangled her, who the fuck knows. Only one of the lights
in the kitchen was on, the hood light. I was crouching, or I was small. A huge caramel snail
rippled across the oven door so fast I knew it would drink from my eye.
Phone in My Shoe
Across the tornado a weary whisper steals that sounds like someone’s name. In the sun
something convincing for a moment happens to my face. If it were the fifties I’d use “Bub,”
as in Forget it, Bub. Instead it is my birthday like a caterpillar of pink blow on a washing
machine or a nasturtium seed in the pocket of a windbreaker or a frog, not that frogs have
pockets. If love is not the answer to what question. The phone is in my shoe, otherwise I
would try to decipher your voice or whether it is. I live in a lightning-flavored pumpkin and
everything I breathe on shorts out. Ms. Faust wants a pair of question marks gone, some
more commas in, and a crisp inquiry into the possibility of misreading. Will I change my
tune? I am polite. And only seemingly polite. The ersatz hirsute doctor says, There are only
three channels of pursuit toward addressing this replacement, and offers two.
Theodore Worozbyt’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, New England Review, Po&sie, Poetry, Sentence, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly Online and Quarterly West. He has published two books of poetry, The Dauber Wings (Dream Horse Press, 2006) and Letters of Transit, which won the 2007 Juniper Prize (The University of Massachusetts Press, 2008).