Poison Tree by Laura Martin

Henry Proves the Oedipal Complex Works Electronically in the Regional Science Fair by Anthony Knott

Henry Proves the Oedipal Complex Works Electronically in the Regional Science Fair by Anthony Knott

Poison Tree

Jacob climbs apple trees. He rolls, naked, in the grass. His mother’s Schnauzer, Gertrude also enjoys the grass in this way; something to do with smells, his mother tells him. A cloud covers him and he stills. He freezes, a mouse avoiding the detection of a hawk, but his father grabs him and holds him up to the sky.

Jacob plays alone with sticks, making them into guns. He shoots at everyone that passes by the yard. He hits Mr. Arlow in the foot and Tina from across the street in the neck. She reaches up to scratch the place, as if she too had sensed where the blood would run from, onto her clean white t-shirt.

Jacob makes holes in the yard, digging for treasure. He climbs trees and in their rough branches dreams of holding captives, lies and stares at the clouds through the branches. The limbs are spidery, and full of hunger, he feeds their blood lust with his own.

He stays out in the tree when he is called in for dinner. He enjoys creating worry and chaos. He is a calm little star. He is a dark and unmovable point. His eyes are flat black.

In Tina’s house, he finds and steals a stack of foreign currency, which he keeps in a small wooden box. He collects other people’s secrets. He saves everything.

When his house is dark and his family asleep, he goes through the drawers in his parent’s desk, the closets, and his sister’s diary.

His own things he locks away, protects. His journal is kept in elaborate code. His room is off limits, everything carefully separated. Among his own secrets certain things must never touch.

Jacob eats things he shouldn’t: dirt, bits of paper, raw onions. Once he licks up an entire box of salt one finger-full at a time.

He imagines bright catastrophes: lightening crashing into a volcano, an albatross circling with straight wings, gliding without a single breath of movement, the chickens scatter, the gulls cry out, everything too dry and bright and smelling of sweat and rotting grass.

Laura M Martin is a Midwesterner who currently resides in the sweltering stillness of Central Georgia. Her work has recently appeared in Luna Luna, Arts & Letters, and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. She is a staff writer for the beauty blog Style Noted and explores sensitivity, food, and fairy tales at her personal blog lauramarymartin.wordpress.com. twitter: @LarMarStyle

Anthony Knott took early retirement from medicine to create imagery and write fiction. All of it is for sale, of course, and the intention is to entertain not necessarily edify. He is particularly interested in the pulp-flash-fiction-collage-making genre. twitter: absurdistarts