Prisoner

It’s like we’re prisoners, but made to look like well taken

care of children in order to help parents sleep at night. Sometimes

I think they’d kill us if it were convenient, I said

to my grandparents while eating two grilled English muffins

and drinking a large chocolate milk with a bendy straw.

There’s no excuse for how you’re treated, my grandfather said,

my grandmother nibbling off a corner of his raspberry Danish.

Doesn’t she eat like a rabbit, he said. Doesn’t he eat like a moose,

she said. I asked what animal I ate like and my grandfather said

the best kind. The kind that needs another chocolate milk, she said.

At Weeks Family Restaurant we found ourselves only after

comparing our eating habits to wild animals, and I think this is

because we were depending on a kind of animal spirit medicine

to make us feel more humane under an offensive and immoral

amount of disgust for consumerism and the American workplace.

I remember one afternoon, while walking among the graves of

relatives I never met, which is what we did every Sunday

after going out for breakfast and laughing at each other’s chipmunk

cheeks and mandibular movements,

I said to my grandmother I think I’m a painted bunting.

She asked why I thought that and I told her because it has a little

bit of everything in it and how I wish I could take my skin off

and make my blood turn into a rainbow you couldn’t find the

beginning or end of. That’s something! she said. Well, not literally,

rabbit, but you know what I mean, I said.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.