That's Why

That’s Why
By Dan Burleson
the hardware store
owner smirked
when he collected
my money order
to pay the utility bill
to get the lights turned
back on.
I slept on a worn out
mattress on the floor,
in a bedroom shared
with my older brother
who brutalized me for
sport, in a trailer on the
edge of a sugar beat field.
I was so naïve as a
teenage boy that I was
completely ignorant of a
product called deodorant,
that I often wondered why
people who weren’t being
polite, usually gave me a
wide berth.
on the school bus one day,
a friend from ninth grade,
David Fullington, said:
“hey Dan, everyone says you smell…
and I say-like shit he does!”
I would lay on my mattress
at night and hear the legions
of mice scampering across
the aluminum ceiling and
between the walls of the trailer
on the edge of a sugar beat field.
of all of the mouse turds
I would have to brush off
my clothes in my underwear
drawer when I was getting
dressed for school.
that is why,
when I was thirteen,
I discovered a mouse
trapped neck deep in an
open can of Crisco
sitting beside a sink full
of dirty dishes.
looking up at me,
with black dots for eyes,
and his nose twitching,
struggling to free himself,
but hopelessly mired
in the can of lard fat.
that I gulped down
the last of my Pepsi Cola
in the 16 ounce heavy,
greenish glass bottle,
and used the blunt end
to plunge the mouse under
for good to die a death of
torment and suffocation
in it’s Crisco grave.
and then
I belched loudly.

0 thoughts on “That's Why

  1. Yeah, I used to capture roaches in the kitchen with medicine caps, put them in the freezer for about 3 minutes, then delicately place them on the stovetop burners. ..I’d wait paitently till the roach de-thawed, and just as he got up off his back ready to crawl away–I torched him. This poem reminded me of that youthful escapade–I never quite worked out the ‘because’s–and I’m still trying to let out that cathartic belch. Down and out is not out of the picture–sometimes suffering builds character but more often it creates craziness–how do we get over it? and get on? just a thought…

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