The Barbecued Man

by Jeffrey McDaniel


A splatter of scars and volcanic splotches
sprays like drops of scorched milk down the Pompeii

of my cheeks, from where the orange leapt

through the hole in the windshield and spread
like Lucifer’s skin cream. Days later and doctors

compact a chin from slices of my gut, twine

and dye ruby lips from forearm slivers and viola:
a face. I dream my parents are part snake

so I might wriggle free from this charred translucence.

I have nightmares of a crowded lunchtime street, a gust
of wind lifting my new face away, like a silk tissue,

my hand reaching up, people gawking, again, at me,

the monster, hooks dangling from my scalp, arteries
flailing like tassels. I am the barbecued man, and I am here

to cook you alive. I will hold you to the lit coals

that are my eyes and hurl your prayers into the furnace
of my mouth, even the air escaping your lungs in soggy clumps.


Read Jeffrey McDaniel’s A Brief History of the Future

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