Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Rob Plath

Thirty-four Dollars

Once when I was nine-years old
I found $34 in the street
I ran home and told my parents
my father's eyes widened
I told them I was going to buy
a racing set with it
my father said that I should give it to him
to be on a horse he had a tip on
he tried to make me feel guilty
for not giving him the money
my mother told me to buy what I wanted with it
she took me to the store when my father
was napping and I bought the TCR racing set
it was $29.99 so I just had enough
I remember getting home and my father
telling me that it was a waste of money
and that those things break after a few days
and that I'd be crying after a few days
when it eventually stopped working
he refused to help me set it up or tell me
where the screwdrivers were that I needed
to hook the wires up
I found them on my own in the garage
and I went into my room
my brother and I set it up ourselves
it was one of those racing sets that had
lights along the track and the cars
had headlights that really worked
plus it had this new feature where the cars
could change lanes
we shut the lamp and watched the tiny headlights
cut the darkness of our room
the plastic controls were shaped like guns
and we pressed the triggers all the way down
as our cars neared the elevated curves
once in a while one of the cars would jump
the track and crash beneath the bed
I remember turning the light on to get the car
and then we'd start again
we stayed up later than ever before
my father never checked on us
and stayed in his room that night

A Hard Smack On A Cheek Already Bloody I remember I was 8 and my mother
was out at a Tupperware party
I hated that my father was babysitting me
he would yell more when she was gone
so I went up into the unfinished attic
to play and be by myself
I used to use a broken hockey stick
for a microphone stand and get up on this
old table like it was a stage
then I'd put the radio on and make believe
I was the singer of each song that I heard
I used our old dining room table as my stage
I remember the pink insulation
and the slanting wooden beams above my head
I'd jump down to change the station when
the commercials came on
when I fell off the table I was in the middle
of being Elvis
I hit the floor and bit my cheek open
my father was already up from the couch
asking what the hell was the crash was
I told him I fell and my mouth was bleeding
"Jesus Christ, why doesn't this ever happen
when your mother's home?" he yelled
he got a rag and wet it under cold water
and dabbed the inside of my mouth
he was angry
"How the hell did you fall?" he demanded
I told him I was up on the table playing
"What the hell were you doing on the table," he said loudly
and slapped the other side of my face
the skin of my cheek stung
made me forget the throbbing side for a second
both sides insides of my mouth were bleeding
he rung the rag out, ran it again beneath the cold water
and started dabbing the other side
he kept yelling at me to keep still
he was even angrier now that I had given him
twice the work

The Resurrection When I was eighteen
I worked on a clamming boat
this one particular winter day
we spotted something very large
floating near the boat
it was brownish colored
the captain shut the machine off
that dredged the bottom of the bay
and came down to see what it was
two of the larger mates grabbed long poles
and moved the strange object
closer to the side of the boat
it seemed that it was a frozen baby deer
they reached over with a net
and hoisted it up on to the deck
and carried it into the cabin
and put it down on the floor
we all stared at it
the poor thing had froze to death
we stood and talked a few minutes
then the captain hit the power
and the belt started moving again
and work went on as usual
then there was movement
the deer stood up suddenly
the kerosene heater had thawed
it out of its suspended animation
it got startled when someone went near it
it kicked two of the cabin windows out
we ran out of the cabin
the captain called the coastguard
we watched through the window
it just stood there on its stick-like legs
surrounded by shattered glass, still like a lawn statue
its large, beautiful chestnut eyes unblinking

©2007 by Rob Plath

Robert Plath is a 37 year-old poet from New York. He has one book of poems, Ashtrays and Bulls, published by Liquid Paper Press, and one forthcoming from Cat Scan Press, Sour Milk For The Soulless. He has published well over a hundred poems in over 50 different magazines and journals. For more information see his My Space page.

  Home Contributors Past Issues Search   Links  Guidelines About Us

Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter