OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 3
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.
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.