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  • Writer's pictureNeuro Logical

Icicle - Casey Burchby

Phantom icicle three inches ‘round

Shoots into my left temple,

The immediacy profound;

It occurs to me to temper

The onset of panic

With a mental list of events

From the last thirty-six hours

It was my dad, I decide:

The phone call about his Amazon account

And how he claims he is “locked out” —

But his mind may be unsound

His body for certain enfeebled

(Seeing no one, doing nothing

But call my sister or me with these conundrums)

It is Christmas Eve

A storm outsider’s shed four feet of snow

And I had to act the insufficient plow

With no energy or physical power

Which is when the phone rang

And the Amazon matter relayed

With an urgency suggesting nuclear winter

While a real one bears down like a bomb


Twenty minutes of talk with my dad

Reduce me to shivering pudding

From afar I can be of no use

A computer is Greek to him anyway

The correct words I use are as white noise

With an amicable throwing up of hands,

I try to resume my day

Now it’s tomorrow and the icicle,

Which is disturbing and painful,

Is awling its way through my brain

Would I tell my dad this is him?

Would this convey the tiered pain

Of sitting on the phone with a helpless old man

And fruitlessly discussing a machine

He never understood

And will never understand?


Casey Burchby is a writer, book dealer, and arts administrator living in the Sierra Nevada. His previous work has appeared in Cerasus (forthcoming), Hobart, The Raven Review, ZiN Daily (Zvona i nari), the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Village Voice, Publishers Weekly, and others.

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