I put my head in the toaster oven
and greet the charred remains
of Everything bagels and reheated burritos.

Such depression calls for transportation.
I drive map-less, turning left at the Methodist church
as if checking for trouble in the valley.

Most car accidents occur close to home.
A half mile past Piney Run a disemboweled
black locust tree leans across the unpainted road.

There is just enough space to creep the Ford
under its precarious tilt, one gnarled branch
hung on another, suspending the final gasp.

I drive backward and forward under the razor,
coming so near to disturbing the pitiful balance
my chin bleeds from the idea.

Unscathed, my face arrives home in my hands
in time to find my wife lathering honey and peanut
butter on toasted rye, marbled like yin and yang.

Storm did a lot of damage last night, she says,
closing the oven’s louvered glass door,
burning what has spilled into an unsafe future.



Barrett Warner gets kicked for a living at his family’s Maryland farm. His stories and poems have appeared in Berkeley Poetry Review, Phoebe, Plastic Tower, Nude Beach, Nahant Bay, Slipstream, Southeast Review, Gargoyle, and other places. Every year he asks to have a website for his birthday but he only gets a new pair of trousers instead.

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