Content Warning: Physical Violence or Abuse

They Don’t Hang a Man for a Stage Name

or for screwing the top on the jar of pickles too tight and then watching me struggle
awhile to get it off before offering to open it, with a slight smirk that says
you need me; you know it. Some might read this as romantic—the combination
of an open jar of pickles and need as he removes a single fermented slice with a clean
fork and feeds himself, then hands the jar over to me with the fork so I can fish out
my own. A day of natural marital gesturing and pickles;
the nine cans of beer he will consume this afternoon, each hidden among
the flowers in the garden where he will kneel, as in prayer and dig about, completely
undetected before a night of marital gesturing and no jar of pickles.
My tired mind trying to comprehend what all the sudden violent symbols really mean.


About the Author

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird, finalist for the American Best Book Awards, and chapbooks The Optimist Shelters in Place, Parrot Flower, and Still Life. She is an associate poetry editor for Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and assistant professor at Michigan State University.