One plus one is eleven (or oney one)
plus zero equals eleventy.
There is no such thing as oney one-ty.
One crocodile plus one dog (Conan) equals death
if Conan is in the creek.
It does not matter if you add the forty apples
Sally stole from Jimmy
when Jimmy had eleventy apples
and six oranges.
There are no such things as oranges
when you are looking for apples.
There are no such things as apples
in a battle between croc and Conan.
One Jimmy entered the water (searching for his apples)
minus one Sally who ran.
This equals zero children (if one believes in children)
running barefoot in a swampy land.
One twenty-forth Jimmy plus one eighth canine
equals one full crocodile
submerged and swimming away
in bobbing blood apples.
There are no such things as blood oranges
when you are looking for Jimmy’s fingers.
There are no such things as fingers (only ghosts of fingers)
when they’re gone.
How many are left?
There was an old woman who caught a fly
She tried to eat it, I thought she would die
So I stood up and swatted it out of her hands
Gave it another good whack
to make sure it was dead
And killed the fly.
She took out her box of fabric scraps
Sewed the fly a tie of blue polka dots
Fastened it with thread
around its head
And clothed the fly.
She said a prayer over its wings
In rambling nothings and very nice things
Then swallowed it whole
Told me it’s living inside her soul
in fly paradise
Of darkness, secrets, and lies.
I watched in horror, held her back
Tied her arms behind her back
Forced her to swallow a spider, a bird, a cat
perhaps they’d eat the fly in her soul
Bring her back.
She coughed up a hairball
laughed like a horse
And died of course.
VERONICA MCDONALD is a fiction writer, poet, and mom. She holds an MA in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. Her short stories and poetry have recently appeared in Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Five on the Fifth, Phantom Kangaroo, and Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, among others. She has a website: VeronicaMcDonaldAuthor.com.