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.