by Stephen Miller


Snow. Like a million pinheads. Reuben looks
out the cafe window and says, "God's dandruff."
Everyone's having a swell time. Antlers
cradle a shotgun. The spoon in the manager's
hand shakes.

Reuben tilts the pinball machine. His eyes
shine like eyes of spotlighted deer,
like shotgun slugs, like two quarters.

Otto stutters Yankee Doodle on the harmonica.
Jacinda picks her nose, weaves a rug from napkins.
She is more beautiful than all the advertisements
of Kotex. She spits milkshake at the manager.

Reuben's last ball rolls between the flippers
of the pinball and touches nothing. He, Otto
and Jacinda turn their pockets inside out. Balls
of cotton fall. The manager's hands flutter
like wings of a dying marriage. "Wait," he says,
"I can show you the back of a brook trout. It
looks like lace."

Above, a steel moon rolls through clouds.

-originally appeared in The MidAtlantic Review