Heartless & Forgotten

by Steven C. Babin   Guide me through the storm of absence, Where I was once kept remembered; No spot of memory is left, Time is both enemy and friend.   You left for me an open shelf, Where I once was kept remembered, But those pants and socks are not mine. Or did I forget who I was?   Could I have forgotten who I am? Am I that broken and alone? No spot of memory is left, I’ve tossed aside my own substance.   My Empty tank needs a refill, Yet I crave only past fuels fire; Once … Continue reading Heartless & Forgotten

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

Helium

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

Strike

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

Eulogy

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

Sterilization

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