The Owl Underneath
The owl underneath has a swivel face; its beak spins from zero to zero, while the Ice Cream Men fight outside. The woman turns anime eyes on sprinkle flares, white chocolate explosions, peanut-covered cone grenades. The windows rattle with melting ordnance.
The woman is wrapping herself in an electron cocoon (we are herlac). Schoolers dash through the battlefield, vibrator backpacks flapping, pants tight loose low high long short suspended in grim adolescence as they zag between rusted shells papered with city-sticker violations, spattered with Neapolitan rain.
Facing the blue light (we are herlac) she invites disaster, coaxes it, fondles it, but still it will not come. She is melting with inertia. Paralysis drips down her forehead, into her eyes. The owl takes a breath and hums the same four bars of "Pop Goes the Weasel" over and over and over and over.
She makes herself a slingshot. Glass lifts, mesh scrapes out of the way; the air is thick with sweet lactose. Night dribbles down over marshmallow stars. She straps rubber to her ankles and spreads them for launch. Square-petaled houseplants, dusty lamps, bowls with stuck spoons. Lying back, she cannot see to aim. The owl crackles with coordinates as the Ice Cream Men triangulate her position.
Eggshell ceiling cracks and tastes like ash. Out the window: plaster statuettes, condiment bottles, unread books of poetry. Strawberry barrages tremble the sleeping furnace. The electron bath flickers once (we are herlac) and goes dark.
She loads herself into the pocket, fires, and soars past the cold fireworks below.