This is a piece from our online issue, FALL OF MEN, inspired by the New York Review of Books.
CONTENT WARNING FOR FALL OF MEN : Despite the conclusions of the bad men falling in the end, some of these pieces may have sensitive or explicit content. (That said, it might be real cathartic to read a thing where the bad men get thrown into volcanoes or eaten by alligators. Either way, your mental health is really important to us. Take care of yourself!)
BY E. Kristin Anderson
that his kid made out of papier mâché for the science fair. It’s really rather fortunate that the volcano was there. If it weren’t for the volcano, Ted could have knocked out a few teeth when he hit the deck—and what is a senator without a smile? Ted’s face hurts and he wonders if his nose is broken—like that time in high school with the basketball. It sure doesn’t feel right. It was one in the morning and Ted was checking to make sure he’d turned the grill off. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d forgotten, and this is the kind of thing that keeps a man up at night. On his way across the patio, Ted tripped over a wayward flip-flop and landed facedown in kid craft. He’d been the one to tell his daughter to put the volcano on the porch to dry overnight. He’d put down newspapers and she’d carried her masterpiece outside while telling him about the volcano goddess Pele who devoured men. He asked why this teacher of hers was discussing religion in a science class. On the porch, Ted takes the Lord’s name in vain as he picks himself up and peels papier mâché from his face. The volcano is ruined. So are his pajamas. He touches his nose gingerly, winces, looks at his fingers, can’t tell if the wetness is paint or blood. He might have to work from home for a few days, just until the swelling goes down. Ted takes off his shirt as he walks back into the house. In the dark of the kitchen, he rests a bag of frozen peas against his face. As he sits at the counter Ted realizes that he didn’t even check on the grill. In a minute, he thinks. If it’s been burning all this time another minute won’t matter.
E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming). Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.