And Ten Hail Marys

David Sheridan

Stoking the furnace was my job.
Afterward I'd dawdle, enjoying
The smell of moldering wood and rot down there-
Spider's breath, Melissa called it.
As the soot settled, I'd stare into
The coal bin and hallucinate:
charred potatoes from the Hundred Years War
shrapnel from a Nazi buzzbomb
Melissa would drape her peach-colored panties over
The shovel handle and taste of vinegar and salt
oysters bedded on African ice.


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