J O N  R I C C I O

7 prose poems

GUMLINE CONSTITUTION 
 
The difference between preamble and teeth is anything crowned. When I boast of local celebrity, it means they filmed my smocked back in a commercial for dental implants, our zoology clinic stressing the importance of phylum and floss. The toothbrushes we give away impart wisdom fomented by fluoride hindsight. Milk Bone is currency, flea dip the raiment.  
 
 
SLEEPER HOLD
 
The somnambulist turns confessional booth into hibernaculum, wafer fairy leaving a pillow under your sins. The drawback of a tomato-based diet? Spaghetti sauce blots my occult books, the Voynich Manuscript translated parmesan. Neighbor words paisano and Valparaiso wrestle in magnetic poetry’s panic room. I pick modifiers out of grappler’s scalps after poking narrative with the predicate stick. 
 
 
THROAT TENURE
 
Determined, Tums overrides GERD’s Nay vote. Navy fundamentals produce champion shoe tiers, truth a stranger to Velcro. Valentine gave foot love the old Laundromat try, courtship letters sincerer on Bounce sheets. Cornucopacetic, the world of best boths or a pen's Christmas-cookie ink. 
 
 
PREDICTABLE REFILL
 
My high school alarm clock goes off to the sound of a mackerel walloped against a harp. Instead of study hall, I take ESP at Lemonade Stands. Cardboard my psyche. Because I learned huffing from a superhero stupefied by spray paint, cartoons stop their tendency to PSA.
 
 
ENKIDU, MOURNING HIS ERASED-COCKTAIL VHS 
 
The barkeep topped my thinking cap with sophistry appletini, loaned Adirondaquiri’s chicness to a tavern downstate. You’re not a twenty-first century aesthete until you’ve been dog-morphed by Snapchat midway through a lecture on Gilgamesh. Elephants or penguins, which make brutaler bootleggers?, my contribution to scholarly debate. 
 
 
MIKHAIL AND THE MIDNIGHT FOREHEADS 
 
I apply medicated cream to the dermatologist’s retirement cake, five decades freckling a Rolodex. His version of skin in the game reenacts Paul Revere with vegetable peelings. Potato Tories. A chivey battlefield. Three fire ant bites result in September staph infection. The flareup, a trinity of Gorbachevs declaring history on my shin, troika the sprain. 
 

BENJAMIN, THE SPARKS
 
The leakiest pipe lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, my landlord a brook chiding apathy physics. Some count sheep. I, drips. First floor you’re someone’s basement. Put that in the pit of Franklin facts trickling from my doorjamb, a crying saint. Iconography happens biannually, same as the fire extinguisher’s checkup done by former circus acrobat. For grins, he treads a spare fluorescent tube. One clown’s CO2, another’s book-closet mercury. 

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Jon Riccio is the author of two chapbooks, Prodigal Cocktail Umbrella and Eye, Romanov. He serves as the poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review.