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Randall Babtkis


My cousin Billy (whom I never saw again)
Threw an apple across Aunt Mildred’s backyard

Over the crescent moon above the door of the outhouse
Billy’s brother, little Hitler, took a stick and whacked it

And from there it sailed over a chain link fence and into
Some wild berries which sagged deeply to the ground

And Billy, sly to the core, said why don’t you pick them
And sure enough I did, they splashed in my mouth

And all over my clothes; then I spaced out and
Next thing I knew there were bees, bumblebees

A sweet honey-loving heat came down
And I felt the sting of a dozen daggers at once

And next I heard my Auntie scream or else a magpie overhead
I was carried home in my Mildred’s arms, ecstatic, red.




Randall Babtkis attended Columbia University and published early work through the Beyond Baroque Foundation in Los Angeles, where he launched the Telephone Project, a dial-up sound weekly. He currently codirects the Writing and Consciousness program at New College of California in San Francisco.