May 15, 2012

Self-Portrait with Bullet Speeding Toward My Skull

Written by Nick McRae

Read by Kyle McCord

Just as they always said. The flashing. The slowing down.
My big brother, five years old, smile charming as the antichrist.
My father eating pork and beans straight from the can.
There I am in a ripped plaid shirt. Mouth full of teenage snark.

A smashed deer twitching on the pavement. My mother crying.
My great-grandfather’s gravestone in the front yard.
A Confederate flag flying over the fire station.
An old woman riding a horse. Cars lined up behind her.

There’s my leg. A bloody bone sticking out. Mud on the end of it.
The cliffs at Billy Goat’s Bluff, Alabama. Hang-gliders jumping off.
There’s a big foreign city with me in the middle of it. Prague, maybe.
A tractor and my grandpa lying dead beside it on the ground.

School buses full of kids in army uniforms.
There’s me holding the hand of a pretty girl who looks unhappy.
An electric organ. Loud noise. A preacher shouting over it.
Clustered holly bushes with hornets’ nests inside.

A dusk-lit forest ravine. Leaves soft and thick as a mattress.
There I am in summertime shoving honeysuckle blossoms down my diaper.
There I am in the grocery store with a gallon of two-percent
and now the bullet chewing meat and bone and now me stupid. Smiling.