Issue Thirty-Four

Aug 8, 2023

Melting

The thing about having a child is that you’re always sick. And after a while this perpetual sickness starts to bleed into your actual health, so what started out as daycare residuum (a clogged nose and cough that feel, even without squinting too much, like an...

Among Many Things

I didn’t want to go to the thing but he wanted me to go to the thing. He always wanted me to go to the thing and I never wanted to go. All year long, he thought about the thing and so did I. He thought about liking it and I thought about not liking it. But sometimes he thought about me not liking it and I thought about him liking it.

Holes and Worms

Minji had blisters all over her body. The pediatric industry in South Korea was on the verge of collapse. There was a shortage of pediatrics.

In a Jar by the Door

After the burial, we’re taking what we want from your house. I pause to look around the living room, which smells of perfume and cat urine. The room appears even smaller now, but it’s still the interesting assortment of clutter I recall as a kid.

Nakedness Death Brings

At the cemetery. One week after snow avalanching off my roof, already pasque flowers sway beside my foot, more tundra than snow visible. Today’s shit.

Big Mouth Billy Bass

1. Glued to a plastic plaque, Billy flopped and sang. Thousands came to see Billy perform “Take Me to the River” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” over and over. Back then, it never got old.

Continental Divide

“You’re only as fast as your slowest hiker,” Instructor Larry repeated, woods code for, We’re a group. We stick together. The other students who’d had water and trail mix, who were laughing and talking while they rested and waited, slung their monster backpacks on as soon as he and I reached them.

Vestiges

Tara’s superpower was seeing the vestigial parts of her lovers. It started with the virgin sporting shadow wings. After they made love, the wings detached and fluttered about them like moths. The instructor from the spin studio with thighs like Tina Turner wagged his vestigial tail like an eager Golden retriever puppy.

Roadside

The doe was definitely dead. Of that, Sean could be quite certain in his diagnosis. Her eyes rolled in their sockets, glassy and cold, her neck skewed backward at a disjointed angle, and her tongue hung out her open mouth, resting on the tarmac.

No Charities

I got some old silver rings I wear. I buy them tarnished and keep them on my hands until they rub themselves clean and shining. I feel too familiar with them, once they’re only my own, but I don’t take them off.

I Met the City Coroner

at a cocktail party. I introduced myself and asked him how he knew the hostess. She’s an old friend from way back. He had reached the bottom of his martini and was now chewing the inebriated ol-ive. How about you?

Two Poems

Thousands of cannons aimed across each border, assuring destruction if the tempers of the men flared or a firing chanced in a sudden lurch.

Divination with Marbles

First things first. Even though I’ve been lithographed: “TEELEAF® The Fortune Telling Game” I am not, in fact, a mere parlor game. I am a fortune teller’s assistant.

Poison Apples

Shortly before my father married my stepmother, he asked me to draw her, using the pastels he had given me for my birthday. I was fourteen, a fairly talented artist for a fourteen-year-old, but not exceptional.

Zaftig

I sit at a table with Danny. Lunch time. Bologna sandwiches with potato chips. “I’m a foodie,” Danny tells me.

Birdseed

Millet. Sunflower seeds. Cracked corn. The contents unchewable for human teeth. Digestion—not going to happen. But you have a mission, a stomach hardcore-ly determined.

Fury

Inside a bar off Ditmars, John flirts with a twink who has a nosering. “I didn’t always believe either,” John says, as he lifts his martini. “But after my ex-girlfriend died, I would wake up with scratches all over me…”

Diablo

A situation like this, a loss like this, would be hard on anybody. She finishes her burrito and throws two quarters and a nickel at the toll basket. Anyone would be a mess.

Where Daughters Lost End Up Sometimes

It’s the parking lot straddling Addison Mall on 3rd, and here’s your standard-issue bag lady with shopping cart in tow who she haunts the lot where she lives off by the entrance where it says stop stenciled on the asphalt and there’s a signpost welcoming customers to the mall

Oilskin

So, he’s finally found a job, and he comes home to me and the baby the first Friday he gets paid wearing this huge shiny hat that he’s tied under his chin in a leather knot that looks tangled and permanent.

Mulch

Mummy likes specific things. Specific things with specific names with the specific intention of making them unique and referable. Not vague, loose.

Blue

When I was sixteen, the Virgin Mary spoke to me. I don’t remember what she said- just the tears, blue in the cool afternoon shade. I cried first in response to what she had said, and then the tears rapidly became about forgetting.

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