Ted Powers


Do you have a phone, he asked.
He cradled a box of fried chicken.
I could tell there was something else
he wanted from me. I was scared.

I have an ipod I won in a raffle
and a pair of headphones I stole
from an airplane, I said. This was
in front of Claire’s Fried Chicken.
The man held his box and looked at me.

I put them together and I am cured,
I explained, and continued walking.
The man sat down with his terrible phone call
to make and grease dripping onto his suitcase.
He said something in my direction.
I looked back at him then looked away.

Then other things happened. The pharmacist
spoke to me in an irritated tone, assuring me
she heard me the first time.  Across the street
a man in a Laundromat watched a baseball game.
I wanted my thoughts to get smaller, as small
as being cured feels later. I thought I could.

I just didn’t. Things kept happening. I joined
a bowling team. I tried papaya. My wife and son
died in a tragic accident. Also I got a wife and son.

Ted Powers attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers. He is the author of Please Light Up (forthcoming from Slope Editions, 2015). He is the Assistant Editor of jubilat. He teaches at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. More can be found at http://tedpowers.tumblr.com.