? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 1


James Doyle

Okay You Sumbitch,

git over here where I kin see you.”
He gestured with a shotgun barrel.
I was knee deep in the hay
where I had slept last night.
I waded out to the barn's door.

Behind him were his wife, four
kids, and a spotted hog. The sun
took my eyes down a peg or two
which I was hoping would pass
for humility, a game I played

of religious facsimiles. He pointed
the gun straight up and pulled
the trigger The ringing caromed
back and forth across my ears
like the marble in a pinball machine.

“Show the kids what a peckerhead
from the city looks like. Dance!”
I just stood there. His wife began
wailing. The kids started jumping
around. “Shoot him, daddy, shoot him!”

The last farm where I slept over
I took a pitchfork through the leg.
I could barely walk, much less
dance. Two farms ago a kitchen
knife cut tendons out of my arm.

I couldn't even gesture. When I
ran, my arm hung so loose
it flapped against my body.
I had to tie it to my waist
with shoelaces And now I was told

to dance? I sat down on the spot
and drooled The hog came nosing
around me I sliced his throat
open with my fingernails. “Is that
dance enough for you?” I said.

“Yes,” they said, “yes, yes, yes.”.