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You grew up
on the side of the road,
between sidewalk cracks,
in backyards full of
tall bahia grass,
pushing aside their
stems so you could
find the sky.

You grew up
beneath the sun
and out in the rain
and under every
booming thunderstorm
an Alabama summer
could throw your way.

Dogs ran through you.
Men, too, trampled you
but you sprung back up,
rumpled, but still bright,
unbowing, even when
they said you were just
a gangly **** that no
one would find beautiful.

(I found you beautiful,
because your face was
the sun, and I find it
everywhere.)

You grew up.
You had to grow up,
grew white and fragile
and one day the wind
came for you and
carried you away.

Fly far.
This poem and more can be found at the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com
I have put a Worry Eater
on your bookshelf, right
beside your favorite books.
It may look like a simple
wooden box, but don’t be
fooled: it is a Worry Eater
and the disguise is just
so random visitors will
not know what it is and
try to take it from you,
because Worry Eaters
are very rare and coveted
things.

I would think the name
should be self-explanatory,
but you must feed it daily
in order to keep your
Worry Eater happy and full.
Feeding it is simple:
open the lid and whisper
your worries in, or write them
on little scraps of paper —
lined college-ruled will do,
but the margins of old poems
make a special treat if you
want to do something nice
for your Worry Eater.
(I’ve heard that diner napkins
and the backs of grocery-store
receipts add a nice flavor, too.)

Some people may tell you,
“Don’t worry, everything will
be alright,” but these people
do not have a hungry
Worry Eater waiting at home,
so you can just smile coyly
at them and say, “Yes,
you’re right,” and then go home
and whisper your secret worries
to your secret Worry Eater.
This poem and more can be found on my website, http://gabrielgadfly.com
December, 1870*

After the beef was gone,
after the pork and the lamb,
and the fowl and the fish
and the dogs, and the cats,
and the rats in the gutter,
the butchers turned to the zoo.

We ate the wolves.
We ate the wolves
broiled in sauce of deer,
the antelope truffled and terrined.
We ate the camels
with breadcrumbs and butter,
and when they were all gone,
we sharpened our knives
and primed our guns
and came back for the elephants.

The gunsmith Devisme did the deed,
hurled an explosive ball
through each of their docile heads.
They fell like mountains,
like the pillars of Dagon
pulled down by mighty Samson,
and then we hacked them up
and carted them away to the kitchens,
to feed the wealthy and the rich
in the clubs of bright Paris.
This poem and others can be found at the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com
This is the first night
I am lying in the dark
without you.

The room does not breathe.
It does not stir, it does not
cough nor sniff, it does not
roll over and seek my hand
in the middle of the night.

It does not wander in the night.
It does not wander under the sheets
and over ***** flesh that yearns
for your touch, it does not
wake to dawn knocking at the window
and say hello good morning
I can’t wait to start the day with you.
This poem and many others can be found at the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com.
Fat people have no heads.
They end at the shoulders,
they are clipped off at the neck.
Never talk to fat people.
You may talk to an expert,
to a dietitian or a doctor
but never to a real live fat person
because fat people have no heads.

Use the word Epidemic
at least once, especially
if children are involved.
Children are always involved,
so use the word Epidemic
at least once. Fat children
still have heads, usually;
only fat adults must be
d e c a p i t a t e d.

Because he still has his head
you may talk to a fat child,
especially if you offer him
a box of chicken nuggets.
Entice him to say Alarming Things
with a box of chicken nuggets.

After the word Epidemic
segue from concerned anchorwoman
to stock footage of fat headless girl
browsing the racks at J.C. Penny’s.
Segue to fat headless mom
walking with her fat headless son
on a sidewalk populated by
fat headless pedestrians.
Voice-over Alarming Things
about fat headless people
not getting enough exercise
and segue to fat headless man
stuffing his fingers into a box
of McDonald’s french fries.
Fat people eat only McDonald’s
french fries and we will be right
back with more on this story
after a word from our sponsors.

Cue McDonald’s theme song.
Pretty people Golden Arches
laughing with their heads
as they eat McDonald’s french fries
with their heads
and never gain a pound.
This poem and many more can be found on the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com.
As a child, I used to cut
apart maps of America,
separate the states and
put them back together
in strange geographies:
Kansas against Maine,
fling the Dakotas as far
away from each other
as they could go, press
New Mexico against the
breast of South Carolina.
I tucked tiny Rhode Island
into the palm of Michigan,
gave Nebraska a seaside.

I realize now the folly
in these stately migrations:
I never thought I’d wish
I could drive across the
border of Alabama into
Oregon’s deep woods.
This poem and many more can be found on the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com. This poem was published in Ventricle, Atrium, the author's second poetry collection.
We stood on the wood bridge
over old Shoal Creek when
you reached up and shook
a handful of snowflakes
out of the white winter stars.

Just a handful,
just a few cold crystals
that tumbled down into the lazy
loping water of old Shoal Creek.

As we watched them come down,
I grabbed your magic hand
and held it until those falling
flakes were swallowed up
and swept downstream,
thinking you were as rare
as an Alabama snowfall
and I needed to hold your hand
to keep you from disappearing
just as quick.
This poem and others can be read on the author's website, http://gabrielgadfly.com.
Kissing me
Vicious was my scheme
I made a story of tainted glory
Anticipating his biding sincerity
Craving the touch of my hips
Misplacing perseverance
Delaying conscience
Losing rationality
Watching his admiration
Over compensating captivation
Realizing his conspiracy

— The End —