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Paul David Adkins

War Story #96: Pets

The Power of Pharmaceutical Brand Names

There Was A Moment In My Marriage

War Story # 96:  Pets

In Iraq, death always
has its way.

When I came home,
my fish’s fins rotted.

The bunny blotched
with tumors.

I bought ten-dollar medicine drops
for the two-dollar barb.

The vet nodded, stroking the rabbit.
I would pay
the five hundred bucks.

Death could not just visit
my house
any time it felt like
filling its black palms.

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The Power of Pharmaceutical Brand Names

I shopped for Brillo pads.  They stocked
Kopper-Klean and Food-Mart’s Best.

I shopped another shop.

Have you purchased Happy Charms
when cash was short?

I did once,
was sorry.

So why would I want
plain sister K-Mart brand
when Benadryl’s right there
in her stunning box
packaged for the taking?

Why should I keep waking
to my fingernails ripping itch
like Sherman to the sea?

My head ready
to explode?

Don’t I deserve
the snap, crackle and pop
of suddenly rash-less flesh?
Scrubbing bubbles
scouring sinuses of snot?

What’s a couple extra bucks
for health? 

I have everything
if I have


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There Was a Moment in my Marriage


when I descended basement stairs
with a pretty neighbor woman not my wife.
Creaking with a flashlight.
No one knew.

If things went wrong
our bodies would melt
to rat meat, bone.

We stumbled over desks and chairs
until the beam lit on
the furnace.
We blew dust to cumulous,
reached together, wiped.
Our pinkies grazed, brushed on.

We turned
this metal thing to burning.
I licked a thumb,
rubbed glass. 
She noted numbers.
-- Done -- 

We spun to leave. 
I fell against her waist.
She held me up.  We groped
to stairs and climbed.

Beneath us dust re-settled
in heat we kindled,
left behind.

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Paul David Adkins grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He attended Mercer and Washington University.  He lives in New York.

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