The Lightning Rod Salesman

by Claude Limoges

Destry Ledford, from Yamacraw, NC,
purloined confidence in God’s goodwill.

Despite two bulwarks of black sideburn that warned his eyes
to stay put and a perpetual gin-birthed scrunching, those cue

balls, royal blue and long-lashed, looked like they could
shift all the way around his head.

Loved a sale. Mounted the challenge with an urgent rapping—
doorbells never commanding respect. Roughshod over the stats—

major cause of storm-related deaths; 62 fatalities per year; 10% struck dead;
90% suffer, disabled—galloping to the cliff of panic: results in a cardiac

arrest and brain damage, irreversible, that last bit so often coaxing
the checkbook out that he rarely got to tell of decreased libido or

impotence. All the rooftops along Hwy 421 were infested
with a minimum of four wee monuments to what

Ledford had none of. He once stared down a 300-lb Czech boxer
at the Clover, once pulled a copperhead off his boot and on the spot

crushed its skull, once clubbed a rabid fox was after his daughter,
and practiced a strange penance, maybe for taking folks’ money

for a useless device that poked from their rooftops
like sad and tiny Kremlins. In a thunderstorm he’d stand

in the middle of a field, lit Camel dangling from lips,
arms out as if to a multitude, and beg the sky to strike.

CLAUDE LIMOGES has work appearing in Lyric Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Oklahoma Review, The Southern Anthology, Mainstreet Rag, and Encore Magazine. Author of the novel The Seasoning of Rebecca, Limoges received an Outstanding Thesis Award from The MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, First Place in the fiction writing contest of Encore Magazine, and the Thomas H. McDill Award from the NC Poetry Society.