Country Music
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Donald Illich



AA Batteries


The reason I devoured that cheesecake
was to prove my mouth could back it up—

sauerkraut and erasers, language and fire—
I was an invincible consumption machine.

None of this was meant to prevent me
from scheduling a flight on the shuttle—

an investigation of space people will watch
on their big screen TVs, full of doubt

about whether I was a double, an agent
who wanted to space walk for Al Qaida.

The students who saw me respected me
because I alone refused to say only milk

could make them grow to my heights.
Instead, I suggested plant food, rope,

and a change of AA batteries every week,
which please the lactose-intolerant

to no end. Teachers had seen me at bars,
living it up on pixie dust, complaining

about the brown M&Ms in my bowls,
signing bottles of Jack Daniels after

pouring down the contents into my gullet.
Is it wrong to party without laughter?

No one would tell jokes about astronauts,
even about space pants. I had a mirror.

It could show the insides of my heart.
In each one was a little you, a little me.


Donald Illich responds to art, economics, and Country Music not paying him for his poems.