Summer looms in a haze over country roads,
sunken between cornfields.
The atmosphere bloats with humidity,
clouds retaining water like an old aunt.
Muskmelons quicken to ripe,
and begonias bloom,
pink and purple faces begging Heaven.

I lean back in the lawn chair,
shaded by a maple,
and suck the fizz of an icy Coke bottle
as the Boca Burgers lose their frozen grimace
on the grill, shrinking from paralyzed to juicy.

One cloud inverts,
extinguishing the sun and
the highlights in your mink brown hair
as you hold the spatula like a scepter over hot coals,
flaunting your culinary skill,
poodle panting at your ankles,
pillars of the temple for his god.

My pen explodes
in the middle of a poem,
soiling my hand with black ink,
and you laugh at sheepish me,
tossing a crunched up napkin,
looking earthy as a gypsy in your hemp T
and Birkenstocks
as you swat Boca burgers onto organic buns,
warming tomato slices.

And little do you know,
my sweet and unsuspecting vegetarian,
that hiding behind my nice white skull
and poetic facade
is a sty of obscene thoughts,
filthy as a factory hog farm,
ideas crammed together
and biting at each otherís tails.

Squealing inside, I swig down the last swill
of tepid back wash and grin,
thinking how tonight
a pig in dress socks
will smear his swine flu all over you,
smothering you with his meat.

Anna Cates has been published in/by Pudding Magazine, Long Short Story, Winterhawk Press, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. She was also the grand prize-winner of the 2009 Bards and Sages sixth annual writing competition for fantasy fiction: http://www.bardsandsages.com She hold degrees in English (M.A.), Curriculum & Instruction/English (Ph.D.), and creative writing (M.F.A.), and teaches introductory and advanced creative writing for several institutions of higher learning.

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