Ted Millar

Eviction Two hatched cerulean shells were all that remainedof prior occupants of the nest he scrapedwith a stick from the air conditioner. Out pulling worms from the yard or peckingat the neighbor's feeder, imagine expecting to returnto a feathered nest only to return to rubble. Pirates They're on again, the cartoon kidswith the talking chartreuse parrot,bandanas taut across their heads,for another half-hour adventureagainst that tenacious Captain Hook.This week it is my son's favorite.He wants to be a piratefor Halloween, and it will soonbe the answer to the questionwhat he wants to be when he grows up. Who wouldn't? I too yearned for a life at seaon a towering sloop, plunderingfor treasure with a plastic hook cuppedover my hand, eye patch, and wooden cutlasssecured between one of my father's beltsand my pajamas. But they don't wear those hatsor puffy shirts anymore, fire cannon,swig rum, or preface phrases with “Arrr!”They don't spontaneously burst into chorusesof “A Pirate's Life for Me” either. Today it's speed boats and machine guns,zeroing in on unassuming cruise shipsrounding the Malacca Strait. I doubt my parents would have wasted filmif I'd dressed up like one of them. The conscientious father in mewants to sit the boy down and introducethe term “maritime terrorism” to his vocabulary.But he is only four, and my well-intentionedovertures have the potential to screw him upworse than the eighteenth-century mythology.As long as he steers clear of actual piratesI guess I can let it go.He'll learn soon enough time is a brigand,and “X” marks the spot over the heartthat hardens when he opens the chestand discovers someone has made offwith his doubloons. Ted Millar teaches English at Mahopac High School and creative writing at Marist College. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley with his wife and two children. His work has appeared in "The Able Muse", "Aji", "Chronogram", & "Inkwell".