Palm Sunday by Theo Francis

The walk to the quarter was terrific, sunny but unoppressive, a non-totalitarian star. I was passing a navel orange between my right hand and my left. We stopped in the market to buy some sunglasses. I tried to haggle but I lost. Still tossing the orange back and forth, I said, I love the marketplace. I went to Mary Jane’s for some cigarettes, Ellie was behind the counter, a nicer headshop clerk you never will meet. We continued walking to the river but made a stop in the square and I found my favorite palm and we sat in its shade and ate some strawberries. I offered a cynical reading of Leaves Of Grass, which you had a copy of in your bag. You said, Who wouldn’t leave the house without Walt? We wondered why his likeness wasn’t on money, then we took a look at the statue of Jackson and suddenly realized why. At this point I’d developed a serious relationship with the orange and I named it Stevie Wonder. But there were birds, too, to know, so we got up and left the shade in search of sun and birdsong. Instead we got two crustpunks named Troll and Schwill on the moonwalk. The wharf was thick with crust, there was no getting around it. Troll had just had a grand mal seizure. In his words, I just grandma’d all over the stairs. Schwill had just gotten punched in the face by Game Over Rachel, who had GAME OVER tattooed on her knuckles. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of Game Over Rachel ending someone’s game for them. I gave Troll and Schwill some cigarettes and we all decided to take on the big questions, like identity, spirituality, and rehab in Arizona. In fact, Troll thought you were someone he knew from a past life at the Maverick House. He couldn’t be convinced that you weren’t, so you became that person for him. Her name was Rachel, too. It seemed like Troll was having a breakthrough, or another seizure, and the sun was setting, so we left. I found a single rose on the sidewalk, an Ethiopian rose, you informed me, and we made our way out of the quarter, taking turns idly twirling the rose. The sun was setting and the rose was losing petals, so we stopped for a meal of tabbouleh and tea. When we finished it was approaching dark on Palm Sunday and we walked back to your house and watched the sunset on the grass of your yard. A few days later I greeted Troll and Schwill on the street, but they didn’t recognize me.

Theo Francis has published work in Fanzine. He is currently working on a manuscript of poems about scams. You can reach him at