POETRY

from You Will Thank Me as Fast as You Thank a Werewolf

by B.J. Best

from You Will Thank Me as Fast as You Thank a Werewolf

 

It began when my mother’s goldfish died on the dining-room table. ​​ I was about to tell her how I lived; my girlfriend and I were about to see the Wauwatosa Thunderdivers. ​​ We were dancing on the beach; we were singing songs no one knew they had.

 

*

 

It’s still not official yet, but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. ​​ When the tornado swirled around Buffalo in 2001, my brother was sixteen and working for a magazine. ​​ The bullet had been ricocheting around his desk from the previous day. ​​ So he got out and looked around. ​​ Lots of people were talking about knives and guns. ​​ About parents and children and work. ​​ And he saw you: ​​ a young, blonde, silver-tipped woman with a tattoo of a bullfrog on her ankle.

 

*

 

There were billboards for breaking into cars and throwing them crashing into mountains. ​​ There were vultures that drove all around the yard, searching for thunderclap. ​​ The sky was fake snow and birds were mere baubles. ​​ And there you were. ​​ Your dust and my air.

 

*

 

I was the senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. ​​ I was worried about communism, the infiltration of the West, their plan to make a permanent imprint on the earth. ​​ I was teaching biology to sixth graders. ​​ I was explaining that no one ever asks to see a Bible, ever. ​​ But one day, as I lay on the couch, I was thinking about a bruised-and-blemished memory: ​​ one about tornadoes, papyrus, a trinity of cigarettes, a box of peanuts, a photograph of you and my brother.

 

*

 

I tell my boss all the time: ​​ shave your head like a clam. ​​ I tell my clients: ​​ You have to sacrifice everything, man, to know the body of water you left behind. ​​ You have to sacrifice ghosts. ​​ I once saw a ghost bear down on a funeral pyre filled with clairvoyant visions of past pyramids. ​​ Come, let us sit by our children’s futures. ​​ Let us sing.

 

About the Author

B.J. Best is the author of three books and four chapbooks, most recently Yes (Parallel Press, 2014). A fifth chapbook, Everything about Breathing, is forthcoming from Bent Paddle Press. He lives in Wisconsin.

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#thesideshow| Micro-poetry| November 2019