8.02 / February 2013

Plagues I Would Not Wish Upon My Enemies

listen to this poem

Plague of Left-handedness. Plague of British Teeth. Plague of Magician’s Assistants. Plague of Loons. Plague of Control Freakedness, of Quaint Rusty Farm Tools, of Loved Ones-Spurned or Otherwise. Plague of Puissance, Plague of Beached Whales, Plague of Stock Tips. Plague of Materialism, of Wants, of Spontaneity, of Get-togethers and of High-end Coffeemakers and of Nicknames. Plague of Casseroles. Plague of Water Rings on the Coffee Table. Plague of Plenty of Loonmeat. Plague of Neighbors-Over-For-Dinner. Plague of Inability to Pronounce the Word “Puissance” and Finding It Written Mostly Everywhere-Even in Places Like Coffeemaker Instruction Manuals. Plague of Children, of Fourth of Julys, of Camera Phones. Plague of Setting the Bar High. Plague of Salman Rushdies, or Shaman Rushdies, or even Salmon Rushdies. Plague of Water Rings on the Coffee Table Left by Neighbors-Over-For-Dinner (even though you urged them on several different occasions to use the cork coasters, and once, while they were in the bathroom, you lifted their beverage glass and slid a coaster underneath it; but then, in a panicked realization that you might come off as suffering from Plague of Control Freakedness or Plague of Materialism, you disorganized the rest of the coffee table-you tore pages out of the Cosmo, you bent that living bamboo-whatever’s branches, you fetched that hatchet in your closet you bought at an antique shop because you did suffer from Plague of Emphasizing to Others “I Can Be Spontaneous If I Want!” and Plague of Equating Rusted Farm Tools with Quaintness and you put that hatchet on the coffee table, you removed the coaster from beneath your own beverage glass, and you pretended like nothing was different by the time your Neighbors-Over-For-Dinner returned from the bathroom even though nothing was the same). Plague of Ghost Genitalia. Plague of Premeditated Glaciation. Plague of Beached Whales in States Lacking Coastlines and Therefore Beaches upon Which Whales May Beach Themselves Beachedly-so now what? Plague of the Upper Hand-Left or Otherwise. Plague of Bird in Hand, Ball in Hand, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Plague of Hole-in-Ones. Plague of False Positives. Plague of Correctly Punctuated Traffic Signs. Plague of Plenty of Loonmeat Stuck in British Teeth. Plague of Being Nicknamed “Loontooth” by Your Affronted Neighbors-Over-For-Dinner after They Realize You’ve Slid a Coaster under Their Beverage Glass while They Were in the Bathroom Despite the Fact that Your Loon Casserole Set the Bar Very High for Future Get-togethers-So High that They Are Still Planning on Sticking Around for Coffee and to See What You Baked for Dessert. Plague of Baked Alaskas and of Forgiveness. Plague of Beached Whales in the Parking Lots of Home Depots All across the Midwest. Plague of Unexpected Postcards from Spurned Loved Ones Having Forgiven You. Plague of Sunset Views that Take Your Breath Away. Plague of Ducks in a Row, of Sustainable Resources, of Fountains of Youth, of Microbrewery Tours, of Naps. Plague of Permanent Hormonal Balance, of Orgasmic Synchronization, of Getting Exactly What You Want-No, What You Deserve, Damnit. Plague of Nicholas Cages. Plague of Left-handed Children Who Aspire to Be Magician’s Assistants of Tremendous Puissance. Plague of Silver Linings. Plague of Very Promising Quarterly Dividends.




Alexander Lumans graduated from the M.F.A. Fiction Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His fiction has been published in StoryQuarterly, Fifty-Two Stories, Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, The Normal School, among others. He's been awarded fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, and ART342. He teaches in Denver, CO.
8.02 / February 2013