Tony Tost

Some folks are unable to talk on the phone in a noisy office or airport while others can make a call from anywhere. Some folks break the phone because they are afraid it will ring. My brother feared the ferry-boat that took us to our summer vacation home; when the horn blew he would throw himself on an imaginary sword. During my lifetime, I've made at least 200,000 observations. For example, often clouds just disappear.

When women think about abstract concepts like love or death, they use visual images, such as a sliding glass door. For example, a romance must be approached gently for barging forward too quickly may shatter the door. Some women enjoy watching automatic sliding doors for they receive the same feelings of pleasure that occur when they engage in kissing or other, typically romantic, behaviors. My father told me how he gently encouraged my mother to tolerate more and more kissing; one evening she was held in a light kiss until her weeping lessened, then she was released.

He sent me a video describing the squeeze machine he's developing to satisfy his craving for the feeling of being held. "You know," he says, "not everything has to be touched."

Some trains go over three hundred miles per hour without ever touching the tracks. Some people insist on wearing pants for they dislike the feeling of their legs touching. Those who cannot tolerate talking can be desensitized through a gentle rubbing about the mouth.

It's like waking up and kissing a mirror good morning. The challenge is finding a reason. One approach is holding onto the ball, staying in bounds, waiting for the clock to run out. There are lots of reasons strutting around, flapping their wings, but they are often stupid reasons. Entire towns sell their souls for any number of reasons; people die for one, maybe two reasons. I had a pet chicken. Echo. He was my favorite chicken. Had him when I was a child (first chicken best chicken). Tonight the night is a black moth. A spoon grazing my lips. Tonight the night is a black mouth. They killed my favorite chicken. Tonight the night is a black month or a red month. It's December. A man passes a door three or four times before he realizes it's the way out.

Tony Tost lives in Fayettevile, Arkansas, in his fourth year of a four year MFA program at University of Arkansas. He has recently published poems in FIELD, Onthebus, Spinning Jenny, and Quarter After Eight.