Explore O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press offerings on Amazon.
Subscribe to the O:JA&L YouTube channel.
Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.
Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

Nicholas Barnes

11.6 Pounds

Dutch Joe by Robert Henri

was the lightest he ever was. never fit like a glove into any-
thing. he’s so cute stopped like a bobcat in the low beams.
a telegram left high and dry between waifish, tornadoed
cables. big boned became overweight became obese became
worthless. chipmunk cheek pinches were replaced with run,
diet, gym, lardass. it’s impossible to hide; when you’re fat,
life is sheol. a severed promise. bad medicine. how he tried
to turn their heartstopping barbs into bouquets of chrysan-
themum. all those prom queen nesting dolls with cyanide
cores. all them judas eels. komodo tormentors. he fought
hard to ignore their flashy fuchsia erasers, held against what
they wished to omit. once, the world wanted a son, wanted
him to grow. but not like that. upward, not outward. not 21
times his birth weight. earth didn’t ask for more mountains.


About the writer:
Nicholas Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern Oregon University. He is currently working as an editor in Portland. His poems have appeared in over fifty publications including trampset, NonBinary Review, and Eclectica Magazine.

Image: Dutch Joe by Robert Henri (1865-1929). No medium specified. No size specified. 1907. Public domain.

Explore O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press offerings on Amazon.