Flog Hill: Four Poems

illustration by A. Turl

The Laundromat Stuck in Time

When I was a kid I made a pocket in my head
and held the family dog inside for a whole week
before dad realized he hadn’t run away.
Dad made me bring Hero back but he was older
and he said I was his favorite, now.

Senior year, I trapped the English teacher 
in a parody of Lord of the Flies
because I hated that book so much
and he didn’t get it, anyway.
I got expelled but it was worth it. 
GEDs are the same thing.

I got a job stocking canned soup at night
with plans to move up to the day shift
but my boss said I was shifty
after that day I came to work
before they’d hired me. 
Two weeks on the job and I got canned
and I’ve been taking SSI rejection letters
ever since.

I was folding underwear when they nuked us
and I could see the end of the world
just before the blast blew the glass in
and I made the last pocket...

Spider Memorial 

named for the spiders 
bred to be officers,
eight legged fascists.

700 spiders
the size of house cats,
700 badges but two batons each.
Strict instructions to maim 
not arrest.

Two weeks on their beat
they beat a child to death
for playing in the road.
The next day, 52 died
as they burned the station
to the ground.

648 Spiders

I see the spiders turned out
to be useful, parading in circles
chewing food for the patients. 
Three of them tapping in 6/8ths time
two legs above their heads to
help pass along the food

Six-hundred-forty-eight spiders
spinning their webs into 
safety nets and parachutes

Flog Hill*

I could almost push myself up
to take a breath
but the men on my back built cubicles 
before they even built walls.

They called me Flog Hill
after my ancestral home
and because I became 
known for violent dissent.

Build a factory on my thigh,
offices with megaphones 
on my shoulders, pointed in.
A village on each foot
walking up me every day.

*from a longer poem also titled Flog Hill

Tish Markley is a writer and poet from Central Illinois living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Growing up they had a pet cow named Bob - named after an auctioneer at the sale barn. Markley beat up homophobes in high school. They literally once owned a pair of rose-colored classes but lost them.