It’s a late night on Pettisville Street. The stop
lights dangle like the church bells while stray
dogs scratch and sniff behind Bill’s Whole Burger
Paradise. The strip club out on the Moundville four-lane is
full of husbands and two-way truckers. Further down
the same road, Leslie Ann, the statewide spelling bee champion,
makes it with Robby on the floor of her pop’s guesthouse.
Rocket-propelled grenades killed Steve Auchman last week
in Mosul. Two days later Sarah, the librarian, broke
her ankle outside the Trailways station. Tonight,
I’m wearing my Jimmy Buffet Jungle Bird shirt while I sit
on the porch bouncing a ping-pong ball off a wooden paddle. The lights
flash, as always, red, yellow, green, then back again.
The nights are a little warmer this year than last. I wonder
what would happen if I lit this ping-pong ball with a match.
Would it crackle like a singed moth?