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Paul David Adkins

Paul David Adkins grew up in South Florida and lives in New York.



“Extensive experiments on Guadalcanal . . . have shown that this louse inhabits coral atolls in the South Pacific . . . Breeding grounds around the Tokyo area, must be completely annihilated.” Leatherneck, 28:3, March 1945  


My mother explained her father,

an Okinawa vet,

blasted flaming gas

into mountain bunkers.  


The Japanese popped up blazing,

it seemed from earth itself.   


She showed us how he did it,

sprayed us with a hose.  

She whooped –

Remember the Arizona!  


At twelve years old,

I aimed a can of Raid

down a kitchen crevice  


because Raid     

     Kills Bugs Dead.  


Walls shook.  


Roaches bubbled

legs and wings

from crack,




I fled the noxious fog,

returned in an hour  


to find Mom

standing on a chair



The dead draped dishes, floor.    


NEXIUM ® (Esomeprazole)  


Drop a coin in coke,

it will dissolve in a week,

my dentist warned –

the danger of soft drinks.  


I never tried it,

took his word.  He would not

unpocket a quarter.

I did not want

to chance my dime.  


The light above the chair

warmed my forehead,

dried my mouth.

A curved tube slurped saliva out.  


Years later acid slipped

like a black snake

up my throat.  


I recalled the dentist,

procured the purple pill.  


It rode scored flesh

to plunk –

a penny in that well.  


A wish.  


And how I flipped

coin after coin  


sliding like beads of water

down the sides

of a quivering bell.

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