The voice spread out like ocean drain in a shoe box, “Brian!” It was coming from all sides, emerging from the tributaries with its shields of clamshell, scuttling from the beaches like horseshoe crabs wondrously intact. Yelling for a child, something commonplace, something the dead would do if they had not died. Who is this Brian? What is he being called to do? Have his dinner? Come to go to the store? Apologize for the thump he applied to his sister? Or perhaps he is older, not the child, but the husband. The voice sloshes about, wiping the jetty clean, eating stray pollen. Perhaps the lawnmower awaits. The clothesline has come unstuck from the backyard again. The office, so sorry, briefly needs him. Or the in-laws have left, the house is dark and moist, as alone as oysters in a reef: this will be the name of the one we should now in a carnal rage make. And so the voice rocks and rages and reaches like a blue crab claw searching for the rim of the pot as the water begins to boil. I want to be Brian, the conception or the completion. I want to drown that humiliating voice.
Two of Ken Poyner’s poetry collections and four of his short fiction collections are widely available. He lives with his power-lifter wife, various cats and betta fish in the southeastern corner of Virginia. He spent thirty-three years in information security, moonlighting as a writer. Now, he writes dangerously full-time.
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