Dad got drunk in the afternoons.

He slouched in his short shorts and torn

Ocean Pacific tee-shirt for hours after work

watering the magnolia sapling by the driveway.

His sneakers pressed yellow dimples

into the St. Augustine sod

as he watched the teenage girl across the street

bronze in her strapless two piece.


His gaze was epic. In the skies around him

smoke from backyard grills

bent into tangy question marks.


You could almost hear the magnolia’s screams

gurgle from its bark,

its tiny gasps for air

as the drooping hose spilled pools into its bed.

Once the tree drowned, a stick still jutted

from the mud.

He watered that too.

Brian McCartyBrian grew up in the suburbs of Jackson, MS in the 1980s. (Imagine Delillo’s White Noise but with a heaping serving of Southern Baptist hellfire and brimstone.) Consequently, when it came time to decide what to do with his life, he opted to study absurdist literature and write absurdist verse. His poems have appeared in Flyway, Indian River Review, and Product. He currently resides in Manhattan, KS where he teaches English at Kansas State University. In his spare time, Brian roams the Kansas countryside in search of the world’s largest versions of just about everything.