The hook, the sun, the teeth, the tongue. The tongue. The sour grit of a lime on the back of the teeth, the smoothing over of the tongue, the snarled lip, the flared nostril. The clock ticks, I know, and we circle around it like children on Memorial Day, swirled into a shape like a fire hose on the side of the truck—no fires to put out here, this town is made of ocean. I have a cold and the ladies want me to sing tonight. They want me to sing about leaving this place, about kicks in the head, about lights brighter than fire. I am the victim of an ailment so common that most people consider it trivial, so I am cutting limes into quarters and biting into them: the pulp embracing my teeth, my mouth full of green if I try to smile. I am not trying to smile. I cannot move any further south and so I move south to start in the middle of things: the eye of the loser, the shriveled lime. The clock continues and the ship still hasn’t come in—I cannot report back if I never return.
Brian Oliu has been published in New Ohio Review, Ninth Letter, Sonora Review, Puerto del Sol, DIAGRAM, Brevity & elsewhere. His lyric essay collection “So You Know It’s Me” was published June, 2011 by Tiny Hardcore Press.