What kind of match would set
The world on fire? Can one guy
be strong enough to blaze
the whole stupid thing? Millions
of people transform themselves
into a human firetruck—
only it arrives too late. The planet,
a big smoke pit.
The fire—how grand, lapping up clouds,
burning a marshmallow moon.
He goes to work at Swanee’s Pizza Pad.
Oven fires melt the cheese,
make tomato sauce sizzle. He sweats ferociously,
a hell, a kind of happy hell.
Spacker and Tomato Soup
As his lips redden
he remembers his dad planting
tomato seedlings in warm dirt—
everything had to be just right
or there’d be nothing to slop up
your July face. Spacker
rarely misses his parents,
didn’t attend either funeral,
but when he thinks of rich
tomato soup, he stops turning
Time’s pages, pictures red waves,
his mom’s finger in Second Kings,
his dad screaming at the sports section.
The Kid Spacker Hated
In fifth grade, Spacker singled out
puny Carl Jopson who excelled
in American History, had red fright-wig hair
that Spacker would grab, pull and twist.
Mrs. Gent, his teacher, watched,
held her hat close to her head,
fearing gusts. Carl swore vengeance,
but during the summer his family moved
to Tennessee. Spacker found
new kids to slap or pin to a door.
To hurt was like breathing—
he just did it.
Kenneth Pobo won the 2011 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest for Ice And Gaywings. Forthcoming from Finishing Line Press is Save My Place.