The Day His Pink Slip Came


He circled the chimney with paint cans rusted from two summers’ pinging attic leaks. Against my word he ran three miles toward thunder to huff beside the Hulls’ cornstalks drooping in the downpour. After supper, Pauline left her quilt fort long enough to let us snag her dangling incisor. When the lines from town went dead and the house became a cave of bumping candle-shades I scrubbed her collar’s dribbled blood with a soap sliver and the inch of rain we caught. The whispered thys in her bedside prayer rasped at her proud new gap like leaves blown through a graveyard gate.

ADAM TAVEL is the author of Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize, and The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2016). You can find him online at