Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Final Issue 2018
Dorothy, Kansas
Ted Lardner

Facts march away
like fence posts to the horizon
where Kansas space prickles
the barbs on the wire.
That sigh you sense inside you gathering
is just the small version,
just an eyelash, left by the storm.
Do you know how it is?
Go ahead and blame it on the head bump,
the last concussive stars clearing from your eyes.
Still, it might be more than that.
Look at him, the little dog, curled up on the bed,
fake asleep, one ear lifted: he knows.
Aunt Em rattling her teeth
about hog futures. The sour-puss
neighbor always dropping by.
Maybe the tall one, polite, good looking,
lowers his glance on you a beat too long,
and you know you just know,
he’s been there, too.
An understanding passing between you
like a boat you are paddling
for all you are worth
through a maelstrom of flying cows.
Next day? Off to school, then work!
Stay busy. That’s how to cope.
Still, every now and again,
one sweet nothing Tuesday studying AP World,
and the golden road
you are reading about
starts to wiggle up like a thread
off the page. You watch it
pull the whole shebang
burning desert
loose, lifting for the sky.
Or out the tinted
window where you stand,
your shift dragging
the drive-thru at Applebees.
The manager comes.
Posture’s real creaky.
The dude, pulled around out front?
Got straw coming out his hair.
Where was that 12 oz
sirloin he asked for?
What is your manager saying again?
There’s, like, wind in your headset.
The hood’s so loud it sounds like a train.
Look and see when your hand stops shaking.
A stampede roar coming at you in the distance.

About Ted Lardner

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