Nicholas Alexander Hayes

A Pleasant, Sunny Day

The farmer has an abscessed tooth and leans against a desiccated bull, slaughtered by a man of faith for not drawing a black upright piano from the earth. Blue smoke emerges from the piano. Tongues of flame snap the strings.

Glorious and frazzled, hair cascades over his forehead in long tendrils like oozing entities that striate the ground with black and blue vascular lines. Crusty rheum collects in his crows’ feet like salted soil. Varicose veins marble the industrious clay of flesh, forced to be fallow, deprived of the long and slow edge of a plow.

In the field, black berry briars and intestines creep through the branches to form a pergola. The descendant colons are an extension of solar anus waiting to be coaxed open by the gentle pulsations of lay lines that crisscross the surface of the earth.

Furless mice with sharp wings like those of kestrels emerge from the piano smoke. Their ears have devolved into their skulls. They ride the warm current up towards the solar abyss, the solar anus. They soar between the salted earth and sour green satellite.

Under the pergola, boys and girls in bonnets sit in their bare undifferentiated bodies, covered in filth and black berry juice, having tea parties with rabid hares that hold dime store china cups in their forepaws and knock the rims of the cups with their teeth. The fertility of the earth is all that anyone worries about.

Mice circle above them in the celestial skull, the brain pain and chamber pot of the infinite. The farmer knows that the universe is excreta and the flora that grows on it is just a cycle. He can stand under the distended rectum and bowel waiting for the universe to give birth to itself, marking time by the ache of his tooth.


Gut worms build a cottage on the banks of a stream of partially digested matter. It is not always easy to live off blood and bile, so they dredge night earth and fertilize a small plot of land. They grow cabbage and Swedish turnips, healthy durable crops. After a hard day of tilling and sowing, they slither back to their round daub house to rest. But before they can sleep, they hear a knock on the door. The duke has come to demand his right of primae noctis.

Worms hold a congress in the gut. They call for independence from their host. They are tired of being lured out the anus with a bowl of milk. “Barricade the bowels and burrow into the bloodstream,” cry the younger. The older are smug knowing if their bodies are ravaged and rent they will grow two from one.