We drove by William S. Burroughs’s house
to see if we could feel his
aura from the street. We were confused about
why he lived in Kansas, of all places—
because we’d only ever prayed to leave it.
I was young and dumb and didn’t know
half the story behind this cynosure
who looked like my grandpa.
But I knew how I felt after reading Naked Lunch:
Stoned, mostly. And a bit revolted.
You, though, were smitten
with the wasteland of his words.
keeping his books, dog-eared and disguised
from your mother’s eyes (or so you thought).
I watched you leave Kansas as a
high school dropout turned
drug addict turned
And I started to wonder where it all
I ran into your mom at the store a while back.
Through tears, she claimed it was those
I thought back to your childhood:
Except taking care of your little brother
while your mom got tanked.
So I said to her,
“I don’t think it was the books.”
Erika Seshadri lives on an animal rescue ranch with her family. When not caring for tame ritters or feral children, she can be found writing.