Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Brain's Oven

The old woman
who slid a pan of cookies
into my brain's oven
never returned.
The cookies have turned
into black dots that float
across my vision.
I reek of burnt dough.

I lie on my side like a
buffalo who's been reading
Hegel on the parched
plain of Kansas for
example. Invisible merchants

empty microscopic vats
of hot slime on my neck,
my forehead. A thin woman
with cold fingers practices
scales on my spine,
and a chorus of angelic rats
prevents me from nodding off.

I raise one hand
as if to conduct
their concert. And I
pass out. I am a loser,
I am a loser, hallelujah
and amen.


2013 hans ostrom
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