"Heat-Struck" by Mitchell Grabois
 

1. The Statue of Liberty turned gray, like a piece of shrapnel.


2. Linked staircases climb the neck of the stone crocodile, a steel choke-chain. He is a possession of aborigines, who lease views back to the government at 99 years a pop. Heat-struck, my wife is convulsing on the trail, throwing ancient white dust into the air. I can water her, but don’t, my way of saying: Say silent. I show morecompassion to the poor, dead Tasmanian Devils than I do to her. We have been married, off and on, for millennia. We are twinned in reincarnation. It is one of God’s jokes. He’s got trillions of them. He’s got more jokes than the number of dollars we’ve spent in all the useless and obscene for-profit wars engineered by American politicians. 


3. The Statue turned black, a strip of steak forgotten on the grill.


4. A contagious cancer threatens the existence of the Tasmanian Devils. It’s only the second contagious cancer in history. Warner Brothers contributed money to save the Devils, because of the cartoon we all love. I feel sorry for the Devils. I puke, thinking of their contagious cancer. It’s zombie-like.


5. The Specialist was on her way. I was going to meet her in the Staten Island Ferry terminal. She had a medical degree from Johns Hopkins and was also a Jehovah’s Witness.


6. My son watches The Walking Dead, cradling his one-year-old daughter in his arms. His arms are swollen from African drumming. He’s Bed-Sty’s only honky djembe virtuoso. His daughter doesn’t know what’s going on, but she hears the sounds, the zombie snarls, the victims’ screams and cries. Other than that, he’s a good dad. I gave him my commercial-industrial lawnmower, and kept the one I got in a garage sale and fixed up, which blew up one day. Now I let my lawn grow long. I like it better that way anyway. 


7. She was going to explain how I could end my suffering.