A sea god of turbulent shape-shifting
you learned. What they didn’t tell you
is that you, composed of mostly brine,
are me. That ego of yours, which seeks
the stolidity of an anchor, steers
you wrong, makes you think you’re
carved in stone, a regular Doric column.
Who were you yesterday? I was Ajax,
slaughtering imaginary sheep as I slept.
Sweet Sally over there, she found snakes
in her hair and turned Joey to granite
until she got sweet again and jellied
him down—oh, like a sheep he bleated,
pecked her sneakers. And you, Father,
your metamorphosis the grandest
along with everyone else now dust-
grained, granulated, scattered, strewn.
How we blend and ooze, osmosify,
one day Chuck the clunk, the next
Balthazar the wise. And as I sit
on a stool in this diner waiting for
a plate a scrambled eggs I watch
the waitress, beautiful Nausicaä,
alchemize into Sweet Sally with snakes
for hair when she burns her finger
on a hot skillet. She sucks out the heat,
feels better, is Nausicaä again
and I am sea-weeded, crusty Ulysses
washed up by the ocean once again
onto her dainty shore
like a chunk of driftwood.
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth, Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review, and many others. Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books: A New Orleans Review. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.