Theodore Worozbyt


In a windbreaker on the bleachers. In a bleacher, the game going on, I remember the wind. It was hot and smelled ironish. The ball was soft, and valium. In the midnight blue truck, the bottles lay iced. There were Heinekens. The bats were red metal, like those glasses from the fifties. I did not like the sound they made against the ball. Soon the players would quit. It would storm. In the rain the catfish bit, driven up I guess. The string on a chain cut through my poncho and cut my back, wriggling. They did not want to die.


The color of stale smoke, he clings, thin-legged, to his spot under the lamp, beside the crystal. He is not dry to the touch. His arrived-at geometry is an elegant impersonation of refusal. When I fingertip him he moves, politely, just as when I try to sleep. I must turn off this machine. It whizzes and whines like Franklin. Forget about the red frog, I whisper to him above the rushing scalding tap water; forget about the dime hung on his lips and the glittering facets of his eyes. He cannot listen, he cannot make a sound. His mouth and limbs and a cinch and a bulb contract. He is not one of those whose spinnerets spell. The flies will have their way with him, or would have, if he had not died in my… All day it rained outside, as in winter here it does, and I thought that such a day might have helped. Instead he burst invisibly, underneath, and stuck to a surface where he was.


You can never be positive so I killed it. I didn’t want to. I didn’t enjoy it, as some do. But you can’t be sure in a shadow so I went ahead and I killed it. It was black and slightly shiny. It had a white shape. Can’t you see that I had no choice? I blunted its abdomen with the stock and cleaned up the mess with some papers. I still have a scar on my left hip that looks just like that thing.

Theodore Worozbyt's work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, Image, Mississippi Review, Ploughshares, Po&sie, Poetry, Poetry Daily, Sentence, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly Online, Verse Daily and The Best American Poetry.

His first book, The Dauber Wings (Dream Horse Press, 2006), won the first American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and his second, Letters of Transit, was the winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize and was published in 2008. Scar Letters, a chapbook, is online at Beard of Bees Press.
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