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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Haibun Story: 220 words
By Kari Gunter-Seymour

That Plus Fifty Cents


We christened it The Sharpsburg Mall—Sharpsburg, a township of three houses, a Methodist church and The Mall. The owner, miser, creeper of the highest order, we dubbed Buzzard, after his peculiar nose and the way he constantly circled his domain, stink-eyed customers, squawking you break it, you bought it. We would get stoned, crack open a few beers, set out to The Mall for a laugh. On the counter near the cash register sat stacks of colored condoms, motor oil, used comic books, rolling papers, Hustler Magazine. There were racks of chips, cupboards of cellophaned clumps, a dilapidated cooler filled with ice and questionable swill. Sheltered in shadow in the far-right corner, an ancient vending machine leaned, cock-eyed, glass scratched, a series of pull knobs along the bottom, crudely drawn question marks scotch taped above each knurl. Two quarters and a firm tug would bang out a plastic easter egg, inside the egg a fortune, typed up tidy by Buzzard himself, who turned out to have a knack for divination by way of cheeky haiku. We laughed our asses off week-after-week, until the night Jaycee Lynn wrecked her pickup during a downpour, crumpled fortune in her left hand:

sad clouds overhead
cold raindrops stinging and black
wings of daylight dead


Kari Gunter-Seymour
Issue 14, August 2022

is the Poet Laureate of Ohio. Her poetry collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (Ohio University Swallow Press, 2022); A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2020), winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award; and the chapbook Serving (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2018). Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, Cultural Daily, World Literature Today, The New York Times, and Poets.org. A ninth-generation Appalachian, she is the editor of I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, funded by the Academy of American Poets and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Women of Appalachia Project’s anthology series, Women Speak.

Gunter-Seymour is a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University; the founder, curator, and host of Spoken & Heard, a seasonal performance series featuring poets, writers, and musicians from across the country; an artist in residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts; and a 2022 Pillar of Prosperity Fellow for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

Author’s website: https://www.karigunterseymourpoet.com/

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