"the Executioner," "the Goober," and "the Pacifier"

the Executioner

but you know the drill
this is Oklahoma
this is frontierland
make it up as you go
the sharp procedure
the sharps injected
the last few minutes
the last three phases of
the State’s rights right up against
the body the prison’s expired commodity
just another one of those
midazolam days when
all there is to say is: I feel
my whole body burning



the Goober

dear peanut dear little bean dear unborn baby please don’t be disappointed my unseeable dear with us or the way things look out here but prepare for the worst in particular prepare for the  meanness of people who’ve been raised to believe they are men and never forget it and never forgive it and even though life is like a beach some days it is a sea full of big fish and little fish and that toxic algae bloom that comes around more frequently as we warm the waters and the shallows at low tide are a wide pool where sometimes sharks frenzy and people are always littering and minute by minute the sulfurous scent of change is in the wind and the ghost crabs booby-trap the dunes and feast on turtle eggs and sand fleas as the pipers breakfast on larvae or something equally unseeable in the wake of the wave they need and flee and you’re not a zygote anymore dear multicellular miracle you’ve outgrown the yolk sac and soon this doomed beautiful rock will be all yours and every morning when we wake I’ll walk you to the window and snap the blinds open so we can see together that it’s all still there and when it is you’ll smile and I will try



the Pacifier

sure, little E gets fussy, around bed-time, or when hungry, or maybe needs a diaper change, so sure, like anybody, little E gets fussy, and sometimes a little rocking will help, or a flip through the thick pages of "I Am A Bunny," or just walking into another room, or singing "Baby Elweez had a farm" (with a "quack-quack" here, and a "quack-quack" there), or blowing into her face (99% chance of giggles), or stepping out onto the porch to see the birds flit or hear the wind sway, or, like tonight with the full moon building steam we walked to the end of the porch and looked east just before dinner and I asked "whaddya think?" and said "how does that big rock stay up there, and how did it get so bright?" and E just quiets and stares, and stares, and leans into my neck and I don't see it but can feel and hear this baby smile and sigh, and we just stare for a minute and little hands reach for the leaf of a shrub while I say things that don't matter like "orbit" and "gravity" and "reflected" and "waxing" and the leaning into my neck goes on and the smiling and reaching for a leaf, and we go back toward the door and dinner having forgotten what was so upsetting before



Jacob A. Bennett

Jacob A. Bennett holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University, and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Goddard College, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of New Hampshire. In his current degree program, Jacob studies higher education policy and change, labor law and relations, with a focus on adjunct and other non-tenure-track faculty. He is husband to Charlotte, father to Eloise and Ruby, and human to Carl (the Boston Terrier).


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 22:31