The Lightning Rod Salesman
Destry Ledford, from Yamacraw, NC,
purloined confidence in God’s goodwill.
Despite two bulwarks of black sideburn that warned his eyes
to stay put and a perpetual gin-birthed scrunching, those cue
balls, royal blue and long-lashed, looked like they could
shift all the way around his head.
Loved a sale. Mounted the challenge with an urgent rapping—
doorbells never commanding respect. Roughshod over the stats—
major cause of storm-related deaths; 62 fatalities per year; 10% struck dead;
90% suffer, disabled—galloping to the cliff of panic: results in a cardiac
arrest and brain damage, irreversible, that last bit so often coaxing
the checkbook out that he rarely got to tell of decreased libido or
impotence. All the rooftops along Hwy 421 were infested
with a minimum of four wee monuments to what
Ledford had none of. He once stared down a 300-lb Czech boxer
at the Clover, once pulled a copperhead off his boot and on the spot
crushed its skull, once clubbed a rabid fox was after his daughter,
and practiced a strange penance, maybe for taking folks’ money
for a useless device that poked from their rooftops
like sad and tiny Kremlins. In a thunderstorm he’d stand
in the middle of a field, lit Camel dangling from lips,
arms out as if to a multitude, and beg the sky to strike.