Weekly poem on Trump Presidency
Mall Fountain Penny Wish
On the first Tuesday morning, Jenny feared that January would freeze past her trailer’s exposed pipes and her long johns, would be February brief because she could not pay her heat despite the reduction of her tax rate and her youngest daughter moving out upon her second marriage to the same mechanic thrice arrested for copper theft. Jenny sat wrapped in three blankets, surrounded by the hovering ghosts of her cable news reactions, her fuel oil tank empty by second overdraft bounce back, her bones left brittle by gamma rays indifferent as they cooked that two-pound tumor swinging from her scapula into her spine. Later that same Tuesday, she watched her eldest boy liquify ice in a spoon before slithering to the other room where he slept on weekdays, where he whispered into his flip phone and kept her purse and her shotgun that her brother said she needed to defend her land from Panamanians. She watched the oval dial on the paneled wall set to OFF because she liked to think of knitting sweaters, because warm-up stretching was encouraged by her physical therapist who warned her about coverage lapsing in a month. On her last visit, she watched his hazel eyes wonder, will she see May? On Wednesday afternoon, a knock on her door triggered mild tease until the tall handsome reporter who talked too fast and too city intentionally cast her lot as her own, as a matter of circumstance suddenly becoming happenstance, maybe comeuppance, as if principle and policy cannot be parallel yet unlike, and Jenny used the admonishment as good reason for watching “Braveheart” for the two hundred and third time. Stirring late on Thursday evening, before the Percocet itch pricked that first spot behind her left ear, she thought about things she used to. She used to knit. She used to dance. She used to take her kids to karate and Pizza Hut, used to donate blood twice a year, used to pack canned beans and toiletries in refolded cardboard boxes every fourth Monday even if she had third shift in the ER that night, even after she started feeling that tumor burrowing her innards like a zombie yard mole. She used to dream about standing bald and translucent before God, her skeleton like an abandoned scaffold covered in plastic, her hope just a mall fountain penny wish. The dream always ended with a productive, wet cough she felt behind her belly button, as if it were suddenly April and she could breathe again despite God asking Jenny, dear Jenny, what did you not do?
Poetry and fiction by Ben Kline has appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, (b)OINK, Poetry Is Dead, Impossible Archetype, and many other places. Hailing from Appalachian farm country, he lives and writes in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he works for the University of Cincinnati Libraries.