An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
The Boy with Holes
The officers who shot the boy repeatedly watched him fall face first, his arms and legs jerking
until all movement ceased. They kept their distance, holstering their weapons, sure that it was all
over, but the boy rose, his sweet face dirt stained. He walked slowly toward the officers. Light
poked through the holes in his body. The ground was wet with blood. They stepped back and
took out their weapons again. "I've never seen anything like this before," one officer said. The
other agreed. Though they told him to stop and get down on his knees, the boy kept walking until
he stood so close he touched one officer on the arm. Like a breath grazing the skin, his hand felt
weightless. The officer cocked his gun and held it to the boy's head. Crows gathered around
them. The trees rustled. The red sun flared so intensely they had to squint to see his shape, and
then the boy vanished. Now all they could see were the holes.
My older brother chokes me until I'm barely breathing. Then he hits me repeatedly with a rock. I
laugh at him, "Go ahead – kill me." He pulls out his knife and stabs me ten times, blood pouring
out of my wounds. "You're a loser," I shout, "but still my brother, and I love you." With a
handgun, he shoots me six times and reloads, but instead of emptying his rounds, he kicks me in
the gut. Though I'm dead, he's still not finished. He drives his car over my body many times.
Triumphant, he stands over me. "What do you have to say about brotherly love now?" he asks. I
get up, and we repeat the whole ceremony again; only this time, he burns my body and scatters
the ashes. I float in the air above him, cling to his shoulders, stick to his hands. I am the mark on
his forehead, the clouds in his eyes. Each time he tells the story of how he murdered me, I rise
from his throat.
First came the dark sun and then a big wind. The clouds shook and began to shed twenty-dollar
bills. They fell and floated, fell and floated. The ground became billowy with them. Boys and
girls jumped on the mounds of twenties as if they were piles of leaves ready to be burned. The
adults rolled in the twenties, and money clung to their bodies. When they arose, they were
covered head to toe, green men and women. The money was so thick in the streets cars stopped
like the trains in the 19th century when the locusts clumped on the tracks. Our mayor came out
with her entourage of ministers and advisors, surveying the situation. "How will businesses
run?" her ministers asked. Her chief advisor suggested a clean-up. She nodded. "Everyone must
take home all the money they can," the mayor said. Thus began the clean up. For days, families
loaded twenties into vans and drove them home. Finally, the streets were clear. Things could go
back to normal, except now everyone was rich.
Jeff Friedman is from New Hampshire. He is the author of eight previous poetry collections, including Pretenders (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Floating Tales (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2017), and The Marksman Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020). His poems, mini tales and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Hotel Amerika, SurVision, Flash Fiction Funny, Flash Nonfiction Funny, Fiction International, New World Writing. The New Republic, SurVision, etc.