Your yard sale features cannibal
sized cook pots, tough black iron,
and the complete apparatus
of a still your father ran for years.
I’m not interested in boiling
my neighbors, and can’t compete
with Kentucky or Tennessee
for bourbon, but I could plant
sunflowers in a pot and run
that alcoholic tubing across
the forest border to discourage
marauding white-tail deer.
You claim I’m too impractical
to carry out these schemes so
refuse to sell me anything,
even the bible your father
wielded like a mace. Inscribed
to his patron angel, this vast
folio always opens at Job.
Still, I want a cook pot and half
a mile of plastic tubing.
You with your withered red hair
and clattering old-fashioned grin
aren’t the witch you pretend to be.
You cast all your spells at once,
at the moment of puberty
You left nothing to ripen
in the galvanized years that followed.
Now that your father has died,
leaving obscene manuscripts,
you hope some passing stranger
will carry forth his program
of pickling devils in alcohol
and displaying them in church.
Light pools and thickens in the pots.
Tiny voices course through the tubing
and emerge in titters. Please take
my money, and maybe later
a dose of real bourbon will douse
the memory of your fatal smile,
which in my own gray puberty
seared like bacon on a grill.