Toddler Plays DJ

By Tim Staley

At 6:17 AM
she chooses
a World Music CD
from Lois’ old
massage repertoire:
hand drums,
ambient chords,
soft voices
of African children.
This could be
Bruce Hornsby if Bruce
were a dozen prepubescent
African youth
or an unsteady breath
poured into a flute
or an errant didgeridoo
on which the laser eye
keeps skipping—
She eats potatoes
with ketchup.
Traces of local yolk
stick to her chin.
The sun pitches
its typical fit in the front yard.
A mint with half a milligram of THC
dissolves under my tongue.
My pits smell of mildew
chives and fish sauce.
It’s summertime,
not quite 7 AM.
Everybody dies
but not everybody lives.
I saw that on the side
of a tattoo shop
so it must be true.
Today I wonder
which is which.


Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1975. He completed a Poetry MFA from New Mexico State University in 2004. He serves as publisher of Grandma Moses Press. His first full-length poetry collection, Lost On My Own Street, is forthcoming from Pski’s Porch Publishing. His newest chapbook, The Most Honest Syllable Is Shhh, is forthcoming from Night Ballet Press. He is currently writing a screenplay called Poets. He lives with his wife and daughter in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his website at