Mixed Blessings

Miles away
I find a bro­ken toy
grin­ning on the road—
a hard plas­tic dev­il-head
hang­ing sad­ly
on elas­tic string.
In an apple orchard
I fall asleep with it,
dream­ing it speaks
in the kind but fear­some voice
of my par­ents’ land­lord.
The only sto­ries it knows
are dirty jokes
about my fam­i­ly,
at which I laugh
out of polite­ness.
Rain wakes me
and I start home,
swing­ing the head
in wide, blur­ring cir­cles.
The warm sky clears
and the road dries.
Rain drips out
from the devil’s neck—
rain that tastes
like apple juice.

Chad Woody lives in Spring­field, Mis­souri with wife Heather and daugh­ter Pene­lope. Check out his books avail­able on lulu.com: Eel and Bathing Beau­ty Both (poems), Uncle Knuckle’s Pre­pos­ter­ous Nar­ra­tions (all-ages sto­ries), and Estranged Clone Reunion (essays & humor).