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The Kettle's Lament (Poem)



The Kettle’s Lament

By Laura Nettles


Robert clutched his find to his chest, running all the way home. He did not stop for rest until cobalt blue was boiling on the stove. The find was a rare bright spot in his dingy apartment. Scribbles and writings no longer brought the starving artist delight. Black and grey became his world no more. The enamel kettle sky was his only window to the delights not known to the poor. Not known for a reason.

A piercing wail turned his blood to ice. The human scream of a dying man in vice.

“Hello?” he called, only to realize it came from his tiny kitchen. The tea pot was screaming and stricken.

Running to remove it from the heat, the final words of a man screeched in his ear for a beat.

“Aaaaaaaaaaabigaleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Abigale, Robert thought. Surely, he had misheard the draft. What teapot would scream a name? A name that was not new to fame. The previous owner, killer of men, was well known to him through story. All tales of infamy, all tales gory. Poison administered unknowingly through some device undetected had brought seven gallant gentlemen to their untimely doom. All found dead, laid side by side in a room.

With care, Robert poured steaming waterfall into chipped mug preoccupied with tea bag. The swirls of vapors faced him, looking into his own with undead eyes that sagged.

In fright, he dropped the mug, the liquid leaving the shards with a groan. All that lingered in the air, wisps of a death moan.

What had transpired? Had he truly heard the voice of those who had expired? Voice beyond the grave, lingering on a slave. A slave to the kettle, from whom he would have drunk today.

Once more, he turned the burner on, to test his fortitude and imagination. This time an old man’s wail reached toward heaven.

“Aaaaaaaaarsenic!” he screamed. “Yooooooou’ve poisoned the teaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Ears ringing with the screeches of the departed, he removed the pot from heats reaches. No more to test, no more to tempt, the sounds of undead speeches.

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