Anthony Martin is a fiction writer with work in The Tishman Review, Watershed Review, soon Clarion, The Radvocate, Paper Darts and Whiskey Island (among other fine places).
Always getting off the boat. At a cow farm outside Bloomington, for example, during an elementary school field trip, all of the heifers were letting rip. The farmer smiled wide when he mentioned methane. Anthony drank sour milk. Years earlier, his mother yanked him out of an oleander bush, said it was among the most poisonous of evergreen shrubs and didn’t you know? Never get off the boat. Absolutely goddam right. In a grey village outside Belgrade, Anthony handled a mangy orange stray that would have otherwise continued on to wherever, slinking along beneath a row of unkempt hedges. It was summer and the romani were tossing trash bags from their windows, hawking copper wire and cigarettes. He was lost. Three months later, somewhere in the Vinohrady district of Prague, he left a bed still warm with two friends, went to the corner bodega and took a pack of cigarettes and a tall beer to the Žižkov Television Tower. There were babies crawling up toward the spires—giant babies. It was seven in the morning and for two hours he tried to be those babies, came back to the bed a little different than he left it. Never get off the boat unless you’re going all the way.