Pictures of Her True Son
rating: +6+x

He shakes his head

at a shelf

stuffed full

of faded plastic bouquets

shuffles down

past smeared

once-beaming poster boxes

pushing runny lotion

and greasy banquets

his pack

covered with patches bleached

cut

from blackened tarp fabric

bobs

against bustling morning traffic

hands caressing

the steaming plastic tops

of mugs of coffee

and sleek metallic cups

mated with ears

fixated only on the voice

from within

chattering.

-

He had been

a bombardier

during the war.

Manicured hands

drew numbers from a bowl

pasted

across the wavering lines

of the television

sending him

stumbling away

from the cinder-blocked hedges

of home

thrust into

a dizzying, frenzied world

where engines scream

streaking high above

stagnant canopies

before their gleaming bellies

are ripped apart, by blooming spores

celebrating death

to which his response

was flipping a switch

sending barrels plummeting

through radio cackles

relaying figments

final howls

of strained prayer

from

the men on the ground

clutching sobbing families

sheltered

under flimsy thatched ceilings

waiting

for incineration

from the heavens.

-

He had tried

desperately

over the course

of so many

bloodshot nights

to wash

the spores

their cries

sticking to his pores

in a gasoline, incense

streaked crust

all away.

First it was the soothing burn

of the corner store’s cheap gin

stinking of

lukewarm juniper and malt

then

crushed salts

trickling down from a paper packet

onto a tarnished spoon

held over a sputtering flame

before being tapped

at the press of a plunger

pricking his facade

with a silver stalk

feeling the crust

slipping away

into a muddied

euphoric

haze

coursing deep

through beaded convulsions

across

fraying veins.

-

When he stops

before the mead

of peeling, pockmarked benches

the pack thumping down

to rest

out escapes

a

labored

racking

breath

as

withered

waxing

eyes

cast themselves up

to the departure board

watching

through the peephole

a sticky, shimmering bokeh

the destination tickers

take flight.

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