Issue > Poetry
Erik Tschekunow

Erik Tschekunow

Erik Tschekunow teaches writing at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota, and studies enzyme chemistry in his spare time. He is originally from Massachusetts and holds an M.F.A. from Emerson College in Boston.

Home Remedy

what if we could've pulped
these woods around Lowell

into pills
to use once

we no longer thought
all wounds accidental

you know the ones
we got when we battled

with our arsenal of sticks
like we were doing

the day Vince
the smallest

claiming the perch
of an old oak stump

flung his weapon
into the swamp

as though he'd grown ready
to fight with just fists

but instead of steadying himself
against our charge

he pulled down his pants
not to moon us

like we first thought   no
it seemed he'd become repentant

his chin tucked
his hands hung like the accused

his skin so white
we took it as truce

and as he turned sideways
we'd see it

a bruise on his hip
that looked like a bowl of plums

it was old
and in our minds

the size of Maine
all we could do was laugh—

until Thick went up to him
and touched it with two fat fingers

as though looking for a pulse
I swear

I heard the old mill whistle blow
though it had been rusted

dumb for years
Vince Thick said

his eyes screwed up and aimed
at the bruise

like he wanted to fight it
the next time your pop hits you

look him straight in the face
look him in the eyes

till he can't take it no more
then Thick slugged Vince

in the gut
not as hard as he could

but with enough pop
to bring Vince back to war


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