At the checkout line, I hold a five pound bag of rice in one arm & a box of sugary cereal
that softens up my teeth for the coming rot in the other. This line is a puzzle of physics:
something that appears in motion without ever getting closer to its endpoint. This line
moves like a cadaver driving a Porsche, or a flightless bird loosed on the barren moon.
The old woman at the front pays in rolls of quarters, & for some reason the cashier is
required to weigh them first, & as so often happens, I think of the apocalypse. When
it comes, whatever form it takes, someone somewhere will be at a checkout line, paying
in quarters or even pennies, & the cashier tasked to weigh & count & cash the coinage
will glance up from their drudgery & see the fireball blooming outside. “Thank you, God,”
they’ll silently mouth.
The God of the Americans drives a 1985 Ford F250 pickup truck & conceals His thinning gray hair beneath a bright red ballcap.
The angry God of the Americans drinks from a hipflask of dark matter. His liver is a collapsing star. Inside His beer gut those children who gave Him lip
are digesting, quiet now as stones. The God of the Americans drives his truck to a pine forest where He gets stupid drunk & fires his gun
skyward, until He blasts a hole in creation wide enough to crawl through.
-- Jonathan Louis Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction appears in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANKMagazine, Thrice Fiction, Jabberwock Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.