A “fantod” is a state of uneasiness or restlessness. No one quite knows where the word comes from – it might be a combination of fantasy and fatigue. This week’s prose poem captures such a state in one headlong, surprising series of thoughts and images.

Sherry Barker Abaldo was raised in Union and worked as a writer in New York City and Los Angeles before returning to the midcoast with her family. She and her husband are restoring an 1868 school building in Rockland as the Lincoln Street Center for Literacy and Arts.

Thursday’s Fantod

By Sherry Barker Abaldo

Something happened out there. They always lay the blame on drunken fishermen. Say be careful on 131, as if everybody isn’t flying doing 80 even the flatlanders, even the cops, even the salty pillars of society, even the moms in gold or silver minivans with umbrella insurance and diamond studs the size of starfish in their soft white ears. Say watch out. Men howl at the moon down there. God knows what else. It’s a wonder anybody ever comes back at all, night like tonight. Undulant, hot, lightning rips black sky like claw marks. Neap tide. Heat lightning. Thunder bound and gagged. You remember things like New Orleans jazz at 3 a.m., voodoo, sazerac, how you had to lay a rose on Marie Laveau’s grave and later wished you hadn’t. Why are crypts creepier than mounds? You think of things like the veins near Cain’s carotid. How did God give him his mark? Brand? Bruise? Blemish? You ask a lot of questions, guy holding the fat yellow ferry rope says. Where you from? What you plan on doing on the island? Painting? I don’t see no canvas. Smile only uses half his mouth. Incident on the peninsula. Eternal return. Crease of light dents horizon. Heat rises from the ground. Around the peeling clapboard corner of the ticket office coffee shop, you expect a three-headed dog.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Sherry Barker Abaldo. It appeared in Northern New England Review, Volume 36, spring 2016, and appears here by permission of the author.

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