Carolyn Krieg   © 2013 All Rights Reserved

Postcard from the Evergreen State Fair


Wish you were here if you went with the flow, but let’s face it. How long before you’d speak—I just can’t help it!—to the fetish character of it all? Our top two fears are the same, but swapped. Your top: the fear of becoming all stomach, followed by the dream of bovine plague, cream rationed, butter spare, rare, then extinct. My teeth are rotting just reading the flavors! you’d exclaim muleishly when we got here, though I could hear your growling over my slurping, over our bruised conversation. This morning, without you, a helicopter collapsed on a little old volunteer. This place is built on little old volunteers, I wanted you here to scold my smiling. Luckily, it was remote control, recruiter propaganda, the weight of a plastic sandal. The volunteer, sort of invigorated, bounced away like a hen. Later, I thought I was going to be sick, but I was just getting more excited.
 

***


Stepbrother


In my favorite life, we’re unrelated, not brothers by marriage, not bunked by poverty.

At most, you teach me ceramics at the end of your career, insulting my symmetry and rewedging my sloped bowls.

Or maybe it’s the summer. You call me cheapo-fatso for buying a single missile, with a torn dollar, from your smelly, musical truck. I stomp the wrapper into the pea gravel and pump the swings. Yet I can’t shake your methy reek.

Maybe you touch my heart with a poorly spelled sign for your milk-eyed heeler.

Maybe you mess up my order at Taco Time—I said no onions! Who’s the dipshit now?

Maybe you pluck a butterfly’s wings with your lips in Walla Walla, and I catch your no-dental-coverage karma, a life of never seeing snow, in Odessa.

We’re all connected.

You’re here and heavy. You're my brother, but we were given no ceremony.

You look at my mother like your father.

I put on my A’s hat; it’s filled with your pee.

No, I don’t believe my divorce cat limps because of age.

You showered with my autographed volleyball, didn’t you?

My retainer’s all bent and covered in resin.

When you think I’m asleep, you rock the top bunk like the kill pen at the pound.

In a worst life, there’s no step, no air between us at all.

We’re twins joined at the throat, so you do all the talking.

In our true life, we’ve settled into a sitcom-in-Spokane feel, making my hate more real.

Put down my glasses. I can’t see anything.

Lift up my head. I can’t hear anything.

Uncle, uncle comes out as gurgle, gurgle.

I can’t breathe. . .

 

Anthony Warnke
Copyright © 2013  

Anthony Warnke lives in Seattle, Washington, and teaches English at Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington. His work has appeared in Hoarse and is forthcoming in The Prose Poem Project and Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics.


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