from Hell to Breakfast

Illuminated by the book-light that is clipped
to the back of this hardcover book,
are the pages like some poorly-lit backstreets
of a shady neighborhood that I am driving through tonight.
I weave from left to right, back to left, and right again,
totally shitfaced on plot, rising action, suspense,
but without the threat of pinballing off of parked cars,
dying, or being pulled over and charge with a DUI.

But as I lie here in bed I notice how this light
with the flexible gooseneck
also makes the book seem predatory,
like those freakishly demonic-looking
anglerfish; scaly, deep-sea nightmares
equipped with their own natural LED book-light,
which is really luminescent bacteria
attached to a fleshy growth sprouting
from their ugly faces like a third eye,
one that dangles out in front of their jaws
acting as a lure for prey.

You have heard people brag
about how they devoured a book,
but where I am tonight with Mr. King
is right where he wants me . . . alone, in the dark.
I am the curious smaller fish swimming
at the bottom of unfathomably black fathoms,
dazzled by this light that I realize, too late,
isn’t for reading, but feeding.
Yet I can’t swim away.

I want to be swallowed whole.
The hypnotic seduction of the light has drawn
me closer to the wide open mouth of the book—
its size twelve font, needle-like teeth of text
sinking itself into me, devouring, ingesting,
me sliding down the slippery throat of storyline
and imagery, until I am the midnight snack
groping blindly in the darkness of its elastic belly,
unable to do nothing now inside, but be held captive
at this ungodly hour, and turn . . . turn . . .

about the author
T.J. McGuire lives in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and two daughters.