Max Smith

Two youngsters, a boy and a girl, who appear to be siblings, laughing delightedly. The boy, who is about ten or twelve, is carrying his younger sister, who is about eight or nine, on his back.
Photo by Gabriel Frank on Pexels (Audio reading below)

My baby brother
child handsome,
electric eel scholar
poured salt over
foolish nighttime slugs
doing foolish nighttime sluggish things
like wandering onto
our backyard den
or clinging to the
clapboard fence

We watched them sizzle
and then spit,
melting
into fizzing pools
of gob,
grey death

Whistling Dixie
through pursed lips
we closed our eyes
and counted ships

Soon to open them again
mesmerized
by the frothing gem

Our pinpricked conscience
suffering drought
our left brain mouthing
words of shame
we continued with our game

Above all else
one thing remained

Our young rep-
tilian brain
deep deep down
enjoyed the pain.

©2022 Max Smith

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