Off time’s grid,

it’s some weird Dakota summer;

sounds of the state fair in the valley

drift up our hill like bad soup

no sugar can fix.


We are frequently dipped in pots in junior high

that say LSD will ruin you

and you will jump from a building

thinking the scruff under your arms is the rooting

of feathers like Art Linkletter’s daughter

or someone will drop a fizzy blotter

in your soda pop before you swallow;

you will swear your skin is broken glass

raked over your ribs like dead damn leaves.


Meanwhile, at the midway,

the acid mothers’ babies

in jars of formaldehyde, pickled predictions—

flippers not feet, a third ear—

for anyone who takes narcotics,

who licks the wrong stamp,

who cuts into foreheads

and wears a psychedelic soaked bandana

with the panache of a guitar virtuoso

anesthetizing anthems in an upstate field.


These things never came to pass,

though I worried about ever leaving

my Coke alone,

my hand over its mouth,

its thud flat at the back of my throat

when I shouldn’t have drunk the drug,

let alone swallowed.

NANCY DEVINE teaches high-school English and lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in online and print journals.