For those who cannot feel a thing

by Shittu Fowora   Sitting, the dreams on my nose, lead the streams of my flow. Incense, I follow the cue through auld langsyne when boys were still naughty as kittens. Tree branches, we jaunted to and swung like excited mangoes in windstorm. Hilltops, where only boy-warriors dared a climb, every other reluctant boy was thought a girl. There are ones who tasted their wee first at five until their Science instructors called it ‘poison’ Some at ten, and some now, at fifty –to each one, his age of unveiling. Freewheeling, two little lads face a hole testing their pee … Continue reading For those who cannot feel a thing

Express Check Out

by Paul Richard Watson I go to the express checkout lane because it doesn’t require me to converse or express human emotions. In front of me, there is a woman and her son. He is holding her hand and turning first this way, then that, like one of those giant blow-up dolls in front of car lots. With every violent sway, she stays planted firmly, his anchor. She is wearing a purple work-out shirt and yoga pants. She’s not exactly chubby, just built like a mom; I think she’s about my age. I think about the dates my mother has … Continue reading Express Check Out

Progress Traps

by Mark Vogel   Surely better not to know. how many there could be, how often puny humans lived wrong in patterns now documented by academics— like when ancestors herded mammoths over the cliff, until none were left. Or gleefully slaughtered enough passenger pigeons to feed the world, until they were gone, no chirp remaining—nothing but the Smithsonian stuffed stare. How often the misguided circular killing/eating/fucking excess established, beyond individual/communal free will, how a dance or shuffle could end with no planned goal, no epiphany— Amen bluefin tuna delicacy until every big one is caught.  How often a culture can … Continue reading Progress Traps


by Michael McConnell   Some menopaused fear dismantled my dreams of Athena with all   of Greece between her thighs, her period blood dry beneath my fingernails, yet I feast   on ankle meat, the ethereal fireflies circumscribing your little girl crescents, where small   blue and yellow flowers colonize the margins. May I kiss all   ripe parts until your teeth chatter and morning forgets its name—   as our imaginations weep children to life, our garlic tongues tracing hearts against each other—   and fold you backward, pulsing, logarithmically, buried deeply? Continue reading Helium


by Michael McConnell   We watch the same sun fall, twisting fingers of cloud,   reaching toward a green that could never match your eyes   reflecting hanging vines or a thousand points of frost, the scent   of your neck, a streamside hammock where time falls apart. Birds start   praying when rain, like knees of the damned, pound, shatter into blinding   slivers of art, a spiral of tangled mirrors, the memory of dust.   Then you kiss like thunder, separated by those three words. One. Two. Three. Then lightning. Continue reading Strike


by Brandy Clark Here we are, in the middle of a garden of stone:  plaques, tombstones, angels with faces worn down like the smooth rocks of a riverbed. Here we are, in the middle of a dump of bones:  coffins occupied by skeletons crumbled to dust, dust I could gather and sift through my fingers.   Well…   I want to say something sincere in its sincerity, something touching, say I hope you’re in heaven or wherever people go once they lose the eternal game of Red Rover, and go over the line from voiced to voiceless, from living to … Continue reading Eulogy


by Brandy Clark Her tiny body trapped under an oxygen tent, tubes going down her nose and coiling around her neck like skinny, plastic snakes. Purple splotches, bruises marking her epidermis, from where nurses   tried again and again to force intravenous needles in her arms. RSV and pneumonia, two words uttered in hushed tones by RNs and MDs coming in and out of my sister’s room, two words I did not understand. All I understood:  her lungs were filled with fluid, and each breath taken turned into a struggle, a fight through phlegmatic depths. Not allowed to see her, … Continue reading Sterilization

Tasks of Life

by Mitchell Grabois   Seen from the night street, the lamps in my wife’s office bend their necks like Roseate Spoonbills, undisturbed, elegant, as they hunt their breakfast in the shallow lagoon’s mud. My wife is doing paperwork to put her mother into a nursing home. Sometimes we need proxies to signify our grace as we toil through the tasks of life. La Famille du Saltimbanque is now toiling through one of the tasks of life. Outlandishly dressed, the Saltimbanques enchant crowds with their acrobatics, but their three-year-old son, an aerial prodigy (they thought) has been badly injured in a … Continue reading Tasks of Life

Antler, and Flint of Bark

by Genevieve Pfeiffer Maybe the deer are not capitalists, do not see each other as belonging to one another.   Don’t call them foolish— they vote   which direction to pursue with a mere tilt of their heads.   Perhaps the alpha does not have access to pleasure —is pleasure a capitalist peculiarity?— but to unassuming moments, unaware of their potential to be ranked and sorted:   sharp tang of grass, warm body mounted, rub of flank on bark, thirst.   They could if we spoke deer, tell us but perhaps it’s a language not to learn, but to tilt … Continue reading Antler, and Flint of Bark