Abecedarian with Unicorn by Jesse Millner
A is for angels, whole squadrons of those feathered beauties! B is for bronco, which could be a crazed horse or OJ’s 1990’s escape vehicle. C is for crawdad, it of the interesting exoskeleton. D is for desire of course, that sleek creature we ride on moonless nights. E is for ecstasy and how my wife used to make fun of me because I always pronounced it ek-tasy. F is for frying pan, which is where I leaped into whenever I had ecstatic moments with my first wife. G is for Gilgamesh, the story of Sumeria’s bigger, badder flood. H is Hell, which might be a figurative place or it might burn the fuck out of you, forever . I is for icky, a word that sounds as bad as it spells but not as awful as it smells. J is for jack-a-lope, the fabled half-rabbit, half-antelope creature that roams the creosoted fields of Wyoming. K is for Knievel: was his first name Evel or Weevil or Steve? L is for Lucky, the name of my father’s last dog. M is for moon, period. N is for numinous: A pretty word, indeed. O is for opossum, the one I saw at 5 am this morning while walking the dog. P is for possum: When I was a kid on grandpa’s farm there was no o before possum. Q is for queasy, which is how I feel after eating greasy chicken wings at the bowling alley. R is for revenant: I love the idea of revenge from beyond the grave. S is for snake: During my childhood in rural Virginia, there were blacksnakes in the yard, garter snakes in the garden, king snakes in the tobacco barn—and every pond we fished in was filled with water moccasins. T is for tobacco, a beautiful crop, acres of green leaves and yellow blossoms. U is for unicorn, first described by Ctesias in 400 BCE for not only having horns, but also white bodies, dark red heads, and crystalline blue eyes. V is for vexed: Not as fatal as being hexed. W is for Wonder Woman: When I was a kid, she was a part of me, man. X is for ex-wife: She cheated on me so now it’s my turn. Y is for the Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel #1.” Z is, of course, for Zorro: When I was a little kid in California I watched him on TV, masked, dressed in black with that sharp, pointy sword he’d plunge into the bad guys.
Jesse Millner’s poems and prose have appeared in The Florida Review, Pithead Chapel, The Best American Poetry 2013, Best Small Fictions 2020, and other literary magazines. His latest poetry book, Memory’s Blue Sedan, was released in March 2020 by Hysterical Books of Tallahassee, Florida.