charlotte said


there are times when i feel like i’m observing

myself from a constellated distance in the same

way one would look at a starry sky or a pastoral

scene or a bloody gory picture show


and when i see myself


in this way


i am wearing a full length black dress

and my head is shaven in a haphazard

and misbegotten manner

and the background is so white

that it becomes a sort of nothingness

not quite an ethereal nothingness

but a quivering nothingness composed

of floating particles of debris that could be

flecks of white ash from raging wildfires

and so i wrap my quavering white

hands around my shuddering body

like a cowering child in a torrent of criticism

and all i can see are a set of white hands

wrapped around a flowing black dress

in front of a spectral white nothingness

and my chalk white face is emotionless

and my eyes are painted black coals

devoid of compassion or empathy

and i am struggling to keep my mouth closed

because i know if i open my mouth

i will release a stream of swarming plague locusts

and these locusts will be filled with lechery and greed

the sort of lechery and greed that devours defenseless

acts of kindness and helpless acts of tenderness


James Butcher

James Butcher’s work has appeared in Rivet, Prick of the Spindle, Midwest Review, and Cream City Review.

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