17, rubbled in his family’s Liège apartment, throat like sawdust, half hoping to die & wondering if he already had. Before that a missile peeled a building, a home, a family away. Before that a V-2 rocket launched from the Baltic made gravity a chump. Before that prisoners hungrier than him welded its casing together. Before that Herr Professor Wernher von Braun decided between two neckties in his closet & noticed a thumbprint on his glasses.
83, prostate cancer detected too late after living for years two floors above a urologist’s office. Every so often somewhere in Europe someone finds a bag of gold teeth in their drywall. Life is funny like a melted unicycle. In the absence of irony & religion & someone to miss us, we could call death a really long blink. Try telling a burrowed cicada in Indonesia how the northern lights ribbon over Nunavut. It took me years before I cried.
Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a completely normal, entirely human person with the right number of heads and everything. He received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction and recent poetry appears in Pseudopod, Wrongdoing Mag, Bayou, Southwest Review, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere. He is a PhD student in poetry at University of North Texas and an active HWA member.