This township is buried in a fogged stupor,
houses stair-stepped up and down wet paved
streets. A township of hills that This Son and
That Son ride their bicycles through, rampant
with slick tires and wishes to see the new girl
who moved in just houses up their hazy street.
Our Mother stays in, mourning Our Father the
pirate who sailed again days ago, all her
homemade dresses like unfound treasure in a
closet, Our Mother’s sex likewise buried beneath
layers of maps and secret skeleton keys. She sews
dress after dress, watching documentaries about
mummies, learning how to preserve.
Our Father seeks the next island, another stand
of trees to scorch, new sea chests to crack, veins
of rubies pouring like blood. Our Father, whose
ragged buccaneer crew asks “How are This Son
and That Son?” and him only nodding his
bearded pirate face, answering “The same, the
The new girl doesn’t show in her window, and
This Son and That Son tire of their bicycle legs.
They spend the afternoon instead lusting at
machines in the arcade, the jangle of coins in
metal traps, staying until dusk draws bat shapes
in the soft and low nighttime clouds.
Sleeping, This Son dreams that Our Father has
returned but only asks, on stepping through the
front door, “Where is the bathroom?” And That
Son dreams he is a pirate with a throat full of
rubies, a buccaneer ship swaggering beneath his
feet, a misted township in the blooming distance.
J. A. Tyler is the author of A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed from Fugue State Press and No One Told Me I Was Going to Disappear, co-authored with John Dermot Woods, from Jaded Ibis Press. His work has appeared with Black Warrior Review, Redivider, Diagram, New York Tyrant, and others. For more on his work, visit: www.chokeonthesewords.com.