My teeth, because if a bit of popcorn hull was caught under one, maybe
they all had to go, and then where would I be? Toothless at age 5.

My own head, because if it hurt, didn’t that mean it was going to fall off?

Electricity. Couldn’t it come out of the outlet and shock me, even if
I didn’t touch the outlet? Or maybe one day, I would be too tempted,
go right up to one and stick a fork in there—and then I would deserve it.

The man who screamed in the Bon Marché department store once,
because he was scared of escalators. He became, somehow,
a classic villain, swirling his cape and twirling the ends of his mustache
if I didn’t accomplish something in time. The “something” involved
my record player and its stack of Disney read-along 45’s and books.
When we moved, he moved with us, invading my basement playroom
in our new house in Minnesota. He followed me because I needed him.

A witch doctor from Gilligan’s Island, and I was Gilligan. I needed
a shot from a giant needle because of a bite from a poisonous mosquito.
This, I called up while waiting, in perpetuity, for a penicillin shot
because I had an ear infection from the start of Minnesota to the end
and always threw up the pink liquid. We were in Ohio when I finally
mastered swallowing pills. Sometimes I can’t do things until I can.

Today’s Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge prompt was “antagonist” or “protagonist.” Speaking of antagonist, I think WordPress is going to add line breaks where I didn’t intend them. But sometimes I have to write in longer lines anyway.


3 thoughts on “Antagonists

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