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  • Tyler Bauer

alphabet soup

There is a needle and a spoon inside my bowl of alphabet soup

now every word I bite is like a stamp to the folds of my skin

when inhaling secondhand smoke from cigarettes

lit up cherry red in a dim room of static

holes filled the drywall with spoiled milk stained in carpet

and the broken speakers of a TV trying their hardest

to convert decibels out of the erratic mix of sounds

that come from childhood cartoons

like talking dogs and beating drums

but all they ever managed was the buzz and rattle of broken plastic

in that glowing screen of backlit bulbs and silence, I got lost

for hours I would watch quietly perplexed

filling in the stillness with a story of my own

as I coughed in a rhythm from the smoke-filled air

dogs barked in other rooms and fleas’ bit at my exposed ankles

drawing blood and making me aware of the growling in my stomach

and so, I reached for my bowl of Alphabet Soup

but the spoon was gone

and the letters floating at the top spelled out the word ‘run

I looked to my mom on the frayed couch next to me

stretched out on split seams with her mouth open wide

she had a needle and a spoon resting by her side

I took her spoon for my bowl of Alphabet Soup

and went back to letting Wyle E Coyote loose inside the chicken coop


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