Ballad of a Passionless Pickle

Poem by Xavier Fields

I am a pickle; sitting in vinegar,

thinking about how and when I will leave.

I ferment. I prepare my immortal body

for the future. Everything is jazz

but I cannot sleep due to the summer heat.

No, due to the roar of the nearby stadium.

 

Fifty-thousand people saturate that stadium.

They cry weak acid tears. Vinegar

flows from their eyes and boils in the unfamiliar heat.

They cry because they know that one day I will leave

them. It is deceptively simple: forget jazz

and wander until I forget my body.

 

Wander wide until I am a celestial body.

A comet passing an intergalactic stadium

where a famous band plays space jazz

on polypropene saxophones. I bathe in vinegar

every day so that when I do leave,

my oily, salty skin will worship the heat.

 

Only once I have left will sultry heat

transfer through our tangled, trembling bodies.

Only when I’m gone will I listen to the Leaves

of Grass and sing for me. Now, a stadium

filled with wealthy people, drizzling oil and vinegar

on their spring salads, are eating my jazz.

 

They do not know me. I will quit jazz

the second I am away. History. Heat

floods my face like an erupting vinegar

baking soda volcano. My cool igneous body

has always been on display to that stadium.

That is why I absolutely must leave.

 

I plan on falling away like Autumn Leaves.

Pieces of myself slide by behind a jazz

standard. The cacophonous fans in the stadium

make me sick. I am dying from the heat

and soon this contagion will destroy my body.

These country cucumbers have never tasted vinegar.

 

I take another shot of vinegar before I leave.

My frigid, winter body is now void of jazz.

Goodbye, friends. Next stop: the heat of my new stadium.

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