Cronic: Corners

I mark my life by pissing in the corners.

Mamma boiled eggs in the kitchen, tossin’ me the shells, tellin’ me to lick my plate clean, eggs don’t come cheap no more since we had to put some chickens down las’ spring and hafta buy from the Jew down road. She don’t say it mean, she just mean we poor and cain’t afford no useless scraps ‘round the kitchen, ‘specially when I’s an extra mouth to feed. She call Daddy a no-good trucker, she shoulda done better, shoulda married someone who could so somethin’ useful, like sellin’ cardboard boxes for winos to live in.

I listen to her hum to the radio, the sound all crackly like bacon, voices low and bassy. Gideon Pontiac-Buick dealership ads sound like TV cartoons without the pictures. She sings sweet and gets me to purrin’, the sweet sound o’ mamma easin’ my troubled mind. I rub ag’inst her when daddy ain’t home, feelin’ my backbone and baby fur a’ginst her legs, twinin’ around her.

Daddy come home drunk and yellin’ about ole Poulson down road, stealin’ his things and pissin’ on his flatbed. “That ole Poulson ain’t nothin’ but a sonofabitch, stealin’ things from my workshop and then sellin’ ‘em to the Salvation Army for whiskey money. I seen him, by God,” say Daddy. “I seen him the last two nights, sneakin’ in with his flashlight and half-ton, loadin’ her up and drivin’ away. If it weren’t fer my bad back, I’d a run after the sonofabitch and put some buckshot up his ass.” Daddy swaggers and staggers like a preacher, wavin’ his arms and punchin’ his fist in the air. “I’ll git that sonofabitch, even if I have to starve Bruno for two days an’ make him hungry for man meat. I’ll get that cocksucker. “

Only Daddy ain’t got no tools, he already sole ‘em or give ‘em away or lost ‘em in a poker game. He never had much anyway, just an ole roto tiller and a socket set from the Korean War and a bucksaw that came with the barn, and maybe a couple a wood mallets that smell like brained cattle. Bruno was the dog he shot summer ‘fore last ‘cause he killed a coupla chickens and tried to hump daddy’s bad leg makin’ him spill a cup a his homemade bourbon.

Daddy forgets all kinds o’ things and he come home yellin’ and sometimes cryin’ ‘cause Mamma say he forgets what it’s like to be a man. I wanna lay down with Daddy and tell him it’s okay to be mad and it’s okay to be sad, but he shouldn’t be both at once. But Daddy yells when I get close to him, tells Mamma to get that little bast’ad away from me else I’ll fill his ass with buckshot, too. So Mamma goes off, cryin’ to herself in the kitchen, polishin’ ole silverware that nobody uses no more ‘cause it’s turned green. She fills the walls with her sadness.

So I mark my life by pissin’ in its corners, tryin’ to find a small place that’s all mine, only I cain’t find none ‘cause there’s too much sadness an’ all the corners been filled with tears.

Published by

Steven Baird

Writer, poet

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