They sing in the kitchen, mostly to conceal the sounds of their violence, Sickie thought.

This tastes like canvas, to which they replied, it is, and Sickie was drawn to recall the objects being urged upon him as pancakes and, tears plummeting from his eyes, wildly chewed.

Most kinds of familial intimacies are achieved through mutual, simultaneous attendance to a television, thought Sickie, reinserting earplugs, complying. The favorite show thrived.

Once a child’s toy reaches a ripe old age unused, it is cursed and sold into the slavery of nostalgia, Sickie said, dropping his plastic childlife to the floor of a cold gray room. More songs came, and tried.

There is something in the audacity of a person who religiously places second-person post-it reminders of their self-worth about his or her home in plain view that fills one with terror, disgust, guilt, and a sliver of pity, Sickie noticed. The only way to top such audacity is to enquire as to which of the four responses the author intended to elicit. Sickie filed. Did not speak. Wrote all down.

Some places are not good places to be a naked man, Sickie thought. Especially the places of certain mothers.

Must antiquity usurp utility? Sickie wondered. We brush our teeth with a paste of fossils. There was no face behind that beard of froth. Kiss the mirror. Rabid!

A rag rug is a rug made of rags that you can neither use as a rag or a proper rug, Sickie muttered. Sickie kicked the thing magically. Took sudden ride.

Snacking on uninteresting food when one is hungry is more depressing than not eating, Sickie mentioned, peered stomachward. Another alarm called out a mistaken flame. Someone fanned it with a broom. For breakfast was fire.

In certain climates windows should be designed to retain heat, chattered Sickie, deep in the guest room. Bundled. In certain climates, heat should not have to be a secret prize.

Bad breath captured as dried spit on the back of a licked hand, finger, or, in this case, a pen, wrote Sickie. Something was wrong.

Illness as irritant and, then, in lieu of becoming occupation: hobby, Sickie coughed. The whole phrase.

More clever than wise, Sickie assessed himself, watching the chair across the room, next to the baseboard heater, go black with slow burning. This is what we call new pillow.

The buckets were for sand, toys in essence, and then came to decorate a shelf, displaying no signs of ever having known the beaches for which they were intended, their playful fates making the kitsch sting like saltwater in a skinned knee. Sickie luxuriously grieved. Answer truly. Can you imagine beach? Sky? Snow there?

When the television you don’t want to watch, and especially not with what’s on it or with them, but from where you avoid this multi-faceted irritant it still reaches in sound and, then, in imagination, Sickie imagined, and imagined too well. Favorite show, favorite show, favorite show.

Festive expeditions within the hometown that belonged better to your history must fatally be repeated. Sickie was not fucking alone.

A funny man who, when drunk, gave Sickie for Christmas a Red Cross t-shirt emblazoned with a pair of clothed, upright, smiling, child-bunnies and the phrase “I’m a Neat Kid” before leaving the bar, and had been wearing it up until the point it became gift, Sickie recalled vaguely, retching up booze-scented bile he associated with “friend.”

Mistrust easy laughers, should have shot several—prefer easy screamers, who are less difficult to interpret, concluded Sickie. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh!

Doing what had to be done, the pants were removed and discarded where they stank like long neglected meat. Underpants thawed and at that point … the whole project went to shit. Sickie sniffed. Laundry is a kind of glue.

Sickie paved the garden, called the dentist to request the return of certain intimate souvenirs, printed a message of no feigned remorse for Mom and Dad (divorced) and made his unquiet way toward freedom and an unclean locker. Dreamed Sickie. Hard.

The quilt wasn’t crazy, it was the person who bought the damn thing, Sickie shouted. Ignored. It was to be his. For now, underneath.

An erection is not purity or the opposite, Sickie thought, whatever we pray the opposite should be. A paper woman expired. Someone was arrested just a block from this home. Call.

Love and knowing, the long unwinding of the muddled logic of others, frequently at one’s own expense. See Sickie groan. See Sickie. See the eve of Christmas in Sickie’s night.

Unexpected difficulties arose regarding their untimely demise, Sickie observed. The expected ones were justly celebrated. Why, why, why? Ancestry.

A raised eyebrow calling for silent, self-scalding panic, Sickie nightmared. A raised fist, the desire to relax and, perhaps, pursue more savage sleep.

The cheerful acceptance of a flawed gift is a sign of good manners, good breeding and some kind of pathological obsession with being agreeable, Sickie belched. That Santa grinned through a crummy beard with cookie-rotted teeth. A whole family made a fart.

To run as if you are dancing excuses a cowardly retreat, Sickie cried. Forgot to wave.

Some regard them as suicide notes, others as outstanding bills, Sickie noted, upon returning, quite finally, home, and was buried.