Chile Paste by Robert Beveridge

Chile Paste

Robert Beveridge

He sits on the one unburnt piece
of the top step of what was once
a porch, penknife atoms away
from the ball of his thumb over
and over again as the hunk of balsa
in his hand becomes a flamingo.
He looks up every once in a while,
towards the trees across the water
“Sixty-two it was, or sixty-three,” spit
in their direction, the brown wad well
short of its target. “Just come
right out of the woods at midnight
when they thought everyone
would be asleep. Crossed the crick
and I don’t know what they were after
but from the looks of ‘em it was shoes
and a hot meal. Only place you
can see from the river is mine, though,
and I guess they didn’t like
what they saw when they peeked
through the window. By the time
I got outside with the shotgun
they’d lit some branches
and caught the back corner
of the porch. Gave me enough
light to wing one, I think, as they
headed on towards town. You
see any bodies wearin’ grey
on the way out here?” I stopped
the recorder on my smartphone,
shook my head. The trees, too,
remained silent on the far shore.

About the Author

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise ( and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Cerasus, Discretionary Love, and Sein und werden, among others.