Pandemonium

Poem by Eric Norris

The only photograph that I possess 

I stole from Google maps. A blurry shot. 

Despite new paint and siding, this address 

 

sucks all I am into a tiny dot— 

all light, all matter—as gravity warps 

stars into singularities. I ought 

 

to find myself in there, behind closed doors, 

drinking a jar of pickle juice. Nope. 

I could be out walking the dog, of course, 

 

Peaches, pausing while she poops. I hope 

that I’m not falling down the cellar stairs, 

killing Kyle, or cutting my own throat 

 

in one of those ridiculous nightmares 

I never have. I never dream. Really, 

I never sleep. I’m too busy upstairs. 

 

I will be busy for eternity, 

peeling the wax paper backing from 

a red decal—a circle—carefully 

 

applying it to my window. How come? 

To tempt the firemen. It screams, “A boy 

might still be up there—burning in his room!” 

 

That’s me. Young Lucifer. When I deploy 

that red transparency inside my head, 

Flames engulf the world. “You must enjoy 

 

destroying things.” That’s what my father said, 

receiving a wrecked radio. I disagree. 

I can make fists. I make my bed. 

 

I manufacture ice. And look at this 

crayon monstrosity: a pink igloo. 

A house. My home. I build where none exist. 

 

American Arts Quarterly, Fall 2014, Volume 31, Number 4