Issue Twenty-One

A Truly Wonderful Monster

I’m running my little real estate scam in Casey Key around 2005 or so when I find Stephen King’s wallet on the sidewalk. Inside there’s no cash just his Maine driver’s license with his big dumb face on it and a couple credit cards. Canceled already probably. There’s a...

Party On

They were yorking, yorking all over the city. Hot like the fourth of July. The crowd, wild grassing, and the night sky bannered and bottered. The hot hot. The zipping but not the zippers. They twobacked and sometimes three. Together, then apart. We dooglogged out of...

Thin Mints Taste Best Straight from the Refrigerator

I share a bottle of wine with my clone. We tape Papier-mâché wings on the sides of a hospital and throw the hospital off the edge of a cliff. The wings don’t flap and the hospital was always too heavy to ever know flight. Everything becomes the ground once it meets...

Enough

At the pharmacy counter I wrote down my name, birth date, and prescription info and handed the note to someone, who located the bottle, stuffed it in a bag, and stapled the bag shut. I paid, nodded, and didn’t say a word, not wanting to encourage a dialogue. I pushed...

Here Comes Sam

Like an elephant, I cried. It was the best simile I could invent at nine years old for Sam blowing his nose. But I was the youngest and the table conversation, a babel of NPR and academic reportage, took place in the air above my head. For those forty five minutes, I...

May/December

May is, frankly, fed up. Yesterday was the six-month mark where her relationships usually die. Today is six months plus one. She wants to end this, but can’t break an old man’s heart, so she breaks some eggs instead. Only this time she’ll add something disgusting....

My Spleen Is a Raspberry

His diagnosis was that I lived life like I was preparing to leave it, and his prescription was sesame oil baths. Once a day for fifteen minutes, not while menstruating. Paying special attention to the scalp, ears, and soles of the feet. It didn’t have to be toasted;...

Quiet Rushing

We run, jumping over tree roots, my flip flops sliding on the mossy stones, we run until we reach the clearing, where we lean over, hands on our knees, breathing deeply and you shrug your backpack to the ground, unzip it, and pull out the vodka we stole from your...

Watdozitalmene

When the drug first goes to market people think it’s twee, at best.             “Maudlin medication contends to give us all the answers,” The New York Times writes. “But clever marketing begets major questions of...

Melting Ice

You sit five feet across from your murderess. Your intestines gnarled by decades of emotional constipation bend you chest to knees. At first blush, your asymmetric physiognomy suggests prior stroke. But she clearly knows you have disconnected one side of your brain...

Bird Poem

xThis morning I chased the chickens through the neighbor’s yard and into the apartment complex wearing only my underwear and a hot pink t-shirt. I tucked them beneath my arms, calling them dear heart, sweetling, birdie. xI have called my son Bird since he was born....

The outsider

2016 Sometimes, in this town, I come across a cardigan tied to a traffic light, or a children’s glove slid onto the spike of the fence. A kind person has picked up the lost item and displayed it in this way for its owner to find. Since moving to this new country, I...

Breathing the Ghost

Rebecca Mathias died in second grade. We called her Becky. She had a brain tumor. Our teacher asked if it was ok if Becky sat next to me on the bus on a field trip. Becky laughed too hard—too loud—and she had a runny nose, and she wore leg braces, and she had a rubber...

Blue

Had you been planning it for days? Weeks? Were you waiting for the night when your mom was out visiting Grandma? Why did you not wait for me to sleep? Did you expect me to stop you, find you? Should I have been concerned when you walked down the stairs that night?...

For Molly Young

Listen, when it becomes harder to tell a man that you snore than where to put his dick, when you scroll past the dick pic to scrutinize the baseboards for dirty laundry and dust buffalos, to confirm if there is artwork or photography on the walls, to see if there are...

Orange/Door Hinge

Beneath the Surface Brad digs the hole a bit larger than the length and width his body (six-ish feet deep).  His dog watches from the window, the pane fogging, then clearing, fogging then clearing… Brad puts a ladder in the hole and climbs down, lies face up...

He Was a C Scale Descending

He was a C scale descending. An early Beatles song: sunbeams and summer rain and handholding. I was all minor cords straying from middle C. He was glacier blue, electric blue, sapphire, peacock, indigo too. I was Blue Nun blue, that sticky sweet teen wine, tipped back...

My Last Night in California

A couple of questions. Can memories be captured in shabby snow-globes? Are redistricting initiatives aligned with the dysfunction of certain honey strains? Alfalfa. Buckwheat. Clover. You aren’t sure which direction to go, or how best to influence the direction in...

Electric Friends

The Jesus picture hangs above the TV cabinet, lit up with a tiny bulb tucked inside the frame. There’s a faux marble fountain right there in Grandma’s front parlor, and a naked cherub squirts a trickle of water into a giant bowl that looks like a baptismal font....

Ximi

Jungle everywhere, bugs everywhere, heat everywhere. Tired horses lower their heads and sheathe their ears to squeeze through the branches, resin coating their sides. Ximi clicks for them to stop and slips to the ground. One of the horses neighs for the dark barn that...

Blue Space

When she opens my eyes, the wind gives shape to golden waves endlessly lapping grey asphalt that separates fields of bearded barley from canola. Divides golden wheat from stubble field from pastures peppered with sage. A gentle roll, occasional tree. A subtle change...

Rituals

My love This morning mamá came into the kitchen and handed me her morral My love You dug out an ancestral pain inherited from my grandmother to my mother to me My love Mi mama, she has always told me que las penas con pan son menos So I make myself a taco with all...

Vocabulary

After we had lived in Plainfield for two weeks, my father drove my mother and me around town. “Listen,” he said. “The worst, filthy, run-down street is called Pleasant.” He turned and gave me an expectant look. “What’s that called, Donnie?” “Irony,” I said, and he...

Knives, Widower

Knives I can offer you only: this world like a knife —John Berryman A set of them in a house is nothing, where nothing becomes a meal for us. We are either kitchen or crime scene as our daily recipes prepare fresh wounds or silence in rooms. Words are food for...

The Homely Muse

It was desperate times, you know? A woman with three kids under the age of 7 and a husband who spends all his time trying to be a poet, rhyming words like he, she, we, pee, what else could I do? I mean poetry is, you know, one of those things that makes people think...

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