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POETRY
Watching YouTube in the Middle of December
Jean-Luc Fontaine

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Hours after lunch, and I watch as a man
breaks a stack of burning boards with his head
on YouTube. He tilts back, pumps a fist
against his chest, then slings his head
against the planks.
                 I think of my failed marriage:
how one day she left a coffee-dappled note
on the table penned: I’m sorry,
I just can’t deal with your blackouts
anymore. Sending a friend to collect my stuff.

On day 3 of the binge, I dragged
her favorite bookcase to the lawn, shook
a can of gasoline over the wood and gazed
as the flame stole across the shelves.
The man in the karate video uppercuts
the air, the boards shattered
on the floor, and I remember the morning
after the fire, how I expected to flex
my biceps and stomp across the ruin.
Instead, I wept with remorse as I scooped
the screws that twinkled in the char
like the turn signal of a drunk driver
left on for too long.
               The announcer on YouTube
says the man has smashe he world record
for most burning boards broken
with one’s head. I finish the beer I’m drinking,
then crack another. I pause the video,
say screw you to the man frozen
on the screen, then walk into my bedroom
and slip on another sweater—desperate
for more warm. The furnace in my house
broken: rusted from years of neglect.


Jean-Luc Fontaine lives alone in New York where he works as a cheesemonger. He enjoys cheap coffee and fishing. He hopes to one day break into the horoscope writing industry, but he is not holding his breath.