If you ask me how I got these scars, I will tell you.
Note how they form an oval around my mouth and nose,
and that if you connect the pocks, the outline of a dust
respirator forms, and so like everything else it
all goes back to breath and what I shouldn’t have been breathing,
those summer nights up in the loft of the chemical
mixing plant, left alone while the foreman took a snooze.
On break I’d been reading the autobiography
of Aleister Crowley, something like Do What Thou Wilt,
about how one of his enemies sent a vampire to him
in the guise of a beautifully bewitching woman—
that Crowley transformed into a bent decrepit hag,
the sack I wrongly dumped in the mixing machine.
Leonard Kress has had recent fiction and poetry in Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, Another Chicago Magazine, and Crab Orchard, Atticus Review, etc. His most recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, Thirteens, and Living in the Candy Store. He currently teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio.