Chase Troxell is an emerging writer who earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Findlay, where he also worked on Slippery Elm, a national literary magazine. He was previously published in Mochilla Review. He is a proud grad school dropout, who works in distribution and lives in Findlay, Ohio with his beautiful wife and daughters.
You haven’t showered in days,
and your toe nails are too long.
When you scratch your ankles
to your calves, cake layers
of dirt and dead skin flake
away. What time was it again?
The rain softens and the wind
settles. The sun peeks around
a cloud and its light hits
the water just right. Colors
of your varicose veins line
the skyline and you remember
that when your window cracks
open a cool breeze will willow
and wisp to your nostrils
with the faint smell of aging
paint flakes. Like a whirlwind,
the air will break through
your dimly lit apartment
pulling apart dust and stirring
the smells of stained countertops
and greasy cardboard from stacked
pizza boxes in the corners
of your front room. What day is it?
You feel the length and shake dead skin
from your hair. You scratch
at your chest. The rain begins
to rapidly beat the roof and sunlight
retreats behind a long, dark cloud.
The wind picks up speed and howls.
You lock the window as the storm
surges, sit down and count the veins
in your legs. One. Two. Three.
Worn edges of loose-leaf notes
crumbling like Autumn.
Lines of poetry?
a grocery list.
Formula for baby—
she’s now four.
A birthday card for my father.
I remember thumbing through the shelves:
here’s to fifty more,
over the hill, your peak has peaked,
love ya till you’re bones.
A dancing skeleton rocking
his birthday suit. A tombstone.
He’s dead now, fifty-one.
Floss and tube of toothpaste.
I tongue the space where I lost