Sarah Grodzinski

Arrow Landing As a child, I climbed down to Arrow Landing and jumpedin the crick on days when the summer heat was unrelenting. Duke was always there. I watched him catch grasshoppersand dare the younger kids to eat them. Their eyes grew wide and they ran home crying,tongues hanging out of their mouths in trepidation. The heat sucked our shirts to our bodies, pit stainsformed like crop circles on our sleeves. Sometimes Duke brought bottles of Pabstand we let the cool froth dribble down our tongues. When a new kid came to town, we hazed him,forced him to swing from the rope into “The Lagoon” where rapid waters throbbed belowand rumor had it seven kids had drown. One time there was an old Rattler tucked under the mud,we didn’t hear him until he was within inches of our ribs. I held my breath and watched him slither by me,his slanted eyes staring. Duke crept behind me his braces shining in the sunlight, his breath on my neckas he whispered in my ear, “Dare you to touch the snake.” Kitchen Crawler I need fish gills for when the flood startshe says, skims over the Old Testament. He doesn’t understand religion,but neither do I. He dances in the hospital kitchen,wears a chrome sauce pan on his head. Tears apart the place mats, throws the silverware.The forks explode off the cabinets. I thought if I fell asleep with my handsin prayer, when I awoke God would still be listening.(He wasn’t). God says gluttony is a sin. The boy eats sugar and cold meats. A gutswings loosely—a pendulum. He’s ravenous in the evenings,falls asleep by the refrigerator. A half-eaten leg of chicken still in his hand,gravy slides down his mouth, glues to his chin. If I try to wake him, he hits me,hung over on calories and carbohydrates. He wobbles back to the kitchen,tells me to sleep. I pretend, but watch as he drags his body across the flooropens the door to his safe. The clear gleam of a bulb shines,a spotlight reveals yesterday’s pot pie. Sarah Grodzinski has an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She teaches English Composition at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. She has had poems published in Misfit Magazine, Driftwood Press, Nerve Cowboy, and Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. Sarah is currently working on a collection of poetry, On Beacon Street. When she is not writing poetry, she enjoys playing tennis and going to concerts.