Issue Twenty-Seven

Bacon Gouda Sandwich

I lift an empty Starbucks cup from the trash and that’s how I get a fifty-cent cup of coffee. I take it to the patio and feel like god damned royalty. I’m tripping pretty hard, and the sun is a soft, ripe plum suspended in the early morning sky.I’m a girl so I never...

Roots

Tomato musk clings to our skin, numb fingertips, and our breath plumes and hovers unspoken thoughts above our heads. Smoke signals. Warnings pretend not to see. Jude and I grip sturdy stems, tug until the roots rip free. Were these vines less rooted, it would be much...

Daughter

Adrienne Barrios wonders if Leigh Chadwick’s daughter will ever read these poems and feel the way a coyote feels when returning to its den after a long hunt, or if she’ll think, Wow, these are weird and Who the fuck is Adrienne Barrios, or if she’ll feel nothing at...

Virtue Signals

I don't remember at which rally I met Brad. He always went to them alone, wearing the brightest pink pussyhat and a tight "Future is Female" t-shirt. He was fit but awkward and a women's rights superfan. Sometimes, I caught him talking to himself.He eventually found...

Oh, Predator, and Me

Alice slew me. I fell like the universe from the back of a pickup truck. Big, loud thud. Picked myself up, dusted off, tried to figure out how to make myself worthy of her appetite. She stood alone at the concert, hair pulled back, a fluffy scarf hiding the skin of...

Scream

Kelsey heard it first. She shared this huge ancient wood frame house with her grandmother, her baby brother, and her cousin Joey. Many of her friends came up with excuses when asked to come over, she understood but would still be disappointed.But she heard it, the...

The Bed

The bed was a normal bed until you laid down on it. The first time I did I thought I was having dreams, but I wasn’t. They glowed around me, these soldered shapes in the dark. At breakfast the next morning I asked my good friend, who was the owner of the bed, why the...

Grandmother Swamp

We were tobacco wives before we were grandmothers. Massaging thousand pound tropical blades to get the most nicotine out. Our childhoods were indistinguishable from one another’s as if they came from a factory. We were Scout or Effie or Mags, until our Christian...

Dinner at the Brady’s

The Brady Bunch are carnivorous,I know because I crawl into the TVand have dinner with them.Sometimes they invite my sister, too.Their sheep dog is also carnivorousAnd so is Alice, their cook.My Mom and Dad are vegetarian.They are orange vegetarian parentsAnd even our...

Passion Cake

Mary and Mary’s mother and Mary’s mother’s mother Esther lived way upstate in a pale brown one-story house half a mile behind the interstate. Bright white shutters and the front porch swept clean, wildflowers dayglow-green-stemmed and radiant with health lounged in...

Goodbye Mouths

I'm at a party in a large house with empty white walls and thick carpet the color of clotted blood. A tall stranger with hungry eyes and a slasher smile tries to pull me in for a kiss, but I push him away and he returns to his chair at an impossibly long table...

The Matchmaker

The sunlight filtered in through the gaps between the curtains. I straddled my husband and took a deep breath. His hands rested on my waist, that sleepy smile on his lips. Poor bastard, he thought we were going to have sex. I put my hands around his throat, gently...

Baggage

The woman I met that night at the bar later became my wife. Then a little over a year ago my ex- wife. That night we were drinking on the patio and she asked to bum a cigarette. She stayed after I lit it. You couldn’t smoke indoors. This was July. Heat sticking around...

1999

Britney is knocking. I lean my head against the door. Hey bitch, let me in, she says, I’m your god now, and I think yeah, that sounds about right. So I throw open the door like I’m ready to lead the parade. Before she takes even two steps, Mom appears out of nowhere...

Filling My Mother’s Hole

I hate my inattentive mother for having an affair while I'm navigating myself through raging hormones and a dumpster fire called middle school. And I am still dripping with fury after she picked me and my only friend, Sophie, up last week from school smelling of her...

You Poor Thing

Miriam means bitter. My mother is as unknowable in this as she is in everything. And it was my mother, no doubt, who did the choosing, just as she did the everything: the dinner and the plunger and the vacuum and the pets and the children, my mother who surely rolled...

Things I Have Lost, 1975- Present (Selected)

● 1982 - Plastic Star Wars action figure. It was Greedo. He was all green, lost in a green shag carpet. “I was just holding him,” I said. “He disappeared.” “Green on green,” my mother said. “Yeah, that’s tricky.” ● 1983 - The Derose family next door. One afternoon I...

Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV

Person The first five lines are always shit.A shock to the heart. Heartbeats cut each other offlike fine gems, end over endocarditis. No joke, perhapshyperbole? Though believe me when I saythe brow may be the only honest muscle in my face. Woman Such to the simple...

Shining a light: multiple choice

1. When the lamp fails to turn on, will Gary:a) Investigate the switchb) Blame his wifec) Curse and sit in the dark 2. Will Gary’s wife, Eileen, upon being shouted at for the third time that evening for something that wasn’t her fault:a) Break down and cryb) Throw the...

With Regrets to the Roots

When the woman was still a woman, she kept a special place in her mind where she locked away all of the things which were too unkind to say. Every medical refutation to the woman at work who kept trying to sell her essential oils for her diabetes and her septicemia...

Shotgun Wedding

~ after Persephone, Helen Lundeberg, 1950 The earth shivers and births a crack that fingers its way towards her toes. She realizes she hasn’t much time. Marry me, she says to the sky. Marry me, to the soil. To the rain, she gives welcome. To the stars, she offers a...

I have always wanted to be opaque

I imagine your honeycomb / lip balm lingering between the spaces / of my words / my chipped / sentences my declarations of clarity / and I thought fragmentation of the self / meant digestible / meant easy to handle but / staying with a sweet talker / I had to dissect...

Moments of Reduction

The moon longs for the tree. To be entangled in its sinuous outreaching limbs. Like sleep twining night, labor pushing out cacophonous dreams populating, virulating consciousness. Morning. Choose bra, the style mood of the day. Athletic cotton bralette or cushioned...

Doors

I stepped out of an American Airlines plane with a brown leather duffel bag. Its contents: a dozen perfume bottles that had shattered when the satchel fell out of the overhead compartment mid-flight. The bottles held a precious collection of scents from my favorite...

Reading Detective Novels in the Surveillance State

We will investigate each blade of grass or make it citizen to Our will. Each fellow robin a cousined detective. Our charge imperious and punishment in excess for each discrete individual worm in offense of any number of indexed and articulated and coded and justly...

Breadcrumbs

iThere are a dozen books on the right shelve, unread, never opened. Ornamental books, hardcover, bare spines devoid of the author’s name or the publication’s logo. You can pick any, and you won’t know until you flip them open. I ask her why. Why such blasphemy? But...

Pin It on Pinterest