Five Simple Sentence Forms

Rhoads Stevens

I clotted. I ate a knot I had found when I went with my father to meet his fiancée. She, the fiancée, looked modest. She gave me a ripe pear, a pear from the north of Spain — Galicia. I deemed the pear too ripe for my tastes.

I stank. Every horse I ever rode tried to rub me off its back. These horses smelled oniony. These horses shot me looks of certain depression. These horses judged me incompetent — such that they didn’t want me on their backs.

I lost. I woodshedded my boat design for three weeks before I decided it was time to try it on a man-made lake. The lake was murky and designed by a man named Murphy. Murphy once cooked my father a meal — one that consisted of manioc and rooster heads. My father considered the coxcombs toothsome.

I wandered. The auctioneer said, “Gentlemen, the tigers in this cage will be sold by order of the Collector of Customs. The terms are cash. What do I hear for these tigers?” The tigers appeared sick, so the chiselers from Barnum & Bailey bid next to nothing. I wanted to give the tigers horsemeat I had chopped from those horses that had tried to rub me off their backs. I kept that horsemeat fresh by dangling it through a frozen lake’s icehole and into frigid brown water.

I pined. I caught fish — perch, mostly — out of an icehole. The fish were frozen. I prepared my father’s fiancée fish since she had never eaten one before. She declared it not edible but wholesome, difficult to eat but pretty.

I expired. Scientists no longer manufacture coral snake antivenin in the U.S. Coral snakes are red and yellow, and you can remember this by saying “Red and Yellow — Kill a Fellow.” I tried to show my father a coral snake I had found in his basement, but then that coral snake bit me. My father’s fiancée kept me alive for a time.