Nathaniel Rounds
Kingdom of Fez (Ruins)

Half past four/
Walking out the door/
Gonna sell a diamond
And a '57 Ford.
Oh, money….

That's daddy striding waving smiling goodbye
into the bicentennial parade
tambourine and baton Pinto wagon papier-mâché float
Budweiser blanket spread out on the hill
and in the persistence of memory/
I unsnap my parachute
waiting for peace to bleed through

Jumped out of bed in my burning pajamas/
Swam a roaring river and jumped a train/
In six months time I might poke around in Eden/
In six months time I might be dead again



Pain/Tome 5

And Zachery Snowfield
the Incredible Breathing Speed Dancer
who earned twenty six dollars every two weeks
mopping the floor in a portrait studio
took a job in a shipyard in Kittery, Maine.
He signed on to a ship and was returning from Havana
when a storm blew him off the mainstay
and into shark infested waters.
A sharp-eyed deck hand threw him a lifeline.
Zach thanked him with a boot to the head.
"There's a mermaid out there," he growled.
"Name is Vonny Hedlund.
She was writing down her phone number
and everything. Best thing that ever happened to me
and you had to mess it up."
He was reunited with her on a second trip
and they got married in Walled Lake, Michegan
during a Hewett Theater dance marathon contest.
They were team no. 6 3/4.
The sailor groom and his mermaid bride
would go on to win thirty-two contests across the country
until they were banned from nationals
on account of Vonny's fish tail.
Their wedding cake was ten feet tall,
850 pounds and required 2500 spectators to help eat it.
No further events are recorded until thirty-six years later
when Zach was killed in an electrical fire
at the Transcontinental Toe & Heel Tap factory.
A Harrington rod implant correcting his scoliosis
was retrieved from the ruins
and used to identify his remains.
Vonny was left penniless and took a cleaning job
in a tuna fish cannery near Gate 5 on San Francisco Bay.