OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 3

Jessica Dubey

Mission Statement

 

My brother used to sleepwalk 

as a child. Mom would find him 

out back, pissing off the porch

in the middle of night. 

Her ears perked to the creak

of door hinges and foot steps 

that could easily have been confused 

with anything else, 

her brain as it was, flooded with sleep.

She worried he’d wander off 

or do something reckless

in his altered state. 

Fully awake he was prone 

to his own brand 

of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot chaos,

looking for the sweet spot 

to knock someone’s head off,

piloting fists that pummeled

whatever got in his way.

He broke toys, some unintentionally,

others trying to pry apart their secrets.

He broke toes, but only his own.

Mostly he broke rules.

For fun, he’d rim the ledge 

of his bedroom window 

with modeling glue, 

strike a match and let it burn. 

But asleep, that was when 

the edges came off

and all he wanted to do 

was put that fire out.

Body Literature

 

This is not my sex tape it was not 

sex so no record was kept though the exposure

feels like a third degree burn I expect the pain

will last longer than any one 

act it has a pattern of grooves so it lives

in long-term memory next to the line 

I cut to get to the roller coaster 

faster next to the kitten I rescued and named 

catastrophe it might last longer 

than the memory of the other I 

can’t be sure of the half-life after 

the skin peeled away the jumper cables 

latched onto nerve endings the result 

was a howl disembodied from the beast this 

is the howl reentering the body.

Jessica Dubey is a poet living in upstate New York. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Poetry QuarterlyIthacaLitragazine.cc, Black Heart Magazine and Serving House.