Seann F. Weir
How Nixon Grew Up
When Nixon was a boy a group of trees surrounded his home, they grew into a forest and annexed his friends. He could hear his friends laughing at night. Before bedtime he would shout their names out his window. His friends never answered. The trees grew taller and blocked out the sun. Sometimes the trees would dare him to set his house on fire. One night their limbs crashed through every window in his house. Nixon grew so afraid he shut his eyes whenever he woke. Eventually the forest swallowed his father and mother along with their whole house. When Nixon opened his eyes the forest disappeared.
Nixon Meets His Neighbors
When Nixon was ten he watched a crowd of feral men chase his uncle for ten steps before tearing him apart. His thick-chinned big brother tried to pull a single hulking man off their uncle. The man had a mouth full of chipped teeth pretending to be knives and a back built like a prison wall. He stared rabid with eyes the color of rotten cherries, he threw Nixon’s brother onto a bed of gravel and walked across his ribcage and flattened his windpipe with a closed fist followed by a sloppy kiss against blueing lips. Nixon saw blood dribble, he ordered his brother to turn into a crow and steal the man’s eyes.
His uncle screamed, Nixon thought the sound was a starling caught in the warmth of his uncle’s throat, squawking. Nixon didn’t know which death he was supposed to be watching. The crowd began to fight over who got to take home his uncle’s arms and legs. His brother’s body looked like a sack filled with fetal pigs. Nixon could only notice that the hands of the man who took the air out of his brother, starred with calluses shaped like a swarm of fleas, belonged to a house-builder. Nixon nestled his knees in the gravel prayed:
Lord, permit me
to be spared
and I will
into the mouth
of a bear.
Nixon met Thelma in a burning village full of murdered parents, she was dressing a group children in tuxedos and ballgowns. She breathed into their ears “luxury is our only relief.” Nixon pressed a thick brass coin against the lips of every slain parent. Before the sun bled out Thelma had the children waltzing to a chorus of collapsing homes. Nixon said to her “I want to share a wound with you, I want to brag about our scab to strangers and friends.” When Nixon began to speak the children abandoned the village. They said his voice was full of gunpowder and fleas. The children disappeared behind a treeline and swore revenge. They swore to shoot him in the chest with a shotgun full of their teeth. They swore to burn his body where he was born. They swore to cull his ashes into pouch for Thelma to pour into her wine. Thelma told Nixon if he wanted strangers to listen he must surrender the prayer sleeping in his mouth. Nixon did as he was bid. They were married in a fortnight. Their names were spelled out in bullets on their wedding cake. On their honeymoon Nixon built his wife a boat out of marble and inscribed God Bless the Union of our Scaffold.
Nixon spent his daughter’s prom glossing the ass of a glass mannequin as Frank Sinatra coughed appraisals out of a radio. He was sterilized the morning she was born. At her wedding he vowed that J.F.K. had ostrich legs and a head full of burnt seeds and feathers. Nixon fled her reception with the stride of a celibate chased into an orgy. At J.F.K.’s grave he confessed he forgot his daughter’s name. He said “her face is a porcelain mask and everyone her age looks the same.” Her husband called Nixon repeatedly, muttering ”she holds the sun in her mouth at night and shits out the dawn. She makes me call her my favorite pox.” Nixon never replied. He strayed into the privacy of a bayou. He buried his suits in a marsh and carved warnings on the backs of crabs. Every child is a landmine. That fourth of July, he skinny-dipped with crippled manatees yet swore that drought remained his favorite holiday.