Speaking Through A Mirror

Would you look at my beautiful Skeleton broken in two, twice The shell of a skeleton in a mirror?   You who cannot recognize the you In me underneath my skeleton mirror, The belly I am no longer approved in.   Swallow familiar shadows- not seen Before my eyes; look down as your sex Swallows me entirely, leaving me whole. …

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Questions and Answers

Question mark meanders like a curl of smoke ascending heavenward, a supple supplicant, innocent yet insistent, only to cool, drift sideways, bend back under itself– expectant and intrusive its round, ripe belly belies the truth of what it holds– then descending,    a dagger ready to dig in deep * It was a simple question. Is this your son’s coat? …

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The ghost looks like me

The flame on the candle wick sways The ghost has entered the room and he looks exactly like me when I was a child   by Ashlie Allen Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in The Jet Fuel, The Screech Owl, The Crab Fat Literary Magazine, The East Coast Literary Review, The Squawk Back, Conclave: …

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S. Babin

My Detox Distilled   Life radicalized, into roots.   But fear loomed like a stitched whale song.   Laying in the fetal position wrapped in the arms of solitude, worse than trapped, no bird songs—   under the cover of a static quilt, with imprisoned hushed mind voices beneath and their spun spiraling eyes,   whispers that cycle like lightning …

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Pigs

After I dropped out of university I spent some time working on my uncle’s farm. My uncle was called Frank and wasn’t much to look at, the whiskey had done that to him, whiskey and heartache. He was getting on now so I chopped wood for the fire and made dinner as best as I could. In the evenings I …

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Old Dog

The Old Dog finds its legs in the corner. He wants to take me for a walk, but I’m too weak. He knows that better than anyone. He’s been waiting. We found each other the day I sank into my cups and carved up a drifter for sport. Together we buried the corpse underneath a wooden shed. I remember thinking …

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New Brunswick, By Way of Oakland City Center Bart

27 February 2013. She said: Gentlemen, excuse me, gentlemen. Gentlemen. You’re such nice looking gentlemen. Gentlemen. I don’t mean to bother. All I have to give you [rustle of a plastic bag] is this flashlight. Gentlemen. I’m a pastor. I’m Pastor Patricia Smith. This is a high crime area. I was just beat down the other day. I’m the victim …

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To the Panhandlers of Northern Virginia

Today I thought I saw an ex-love driving an old Mercedes with stinking exhaust. He had a beard and drove slowly as if he had no where to go, as if he wasn’t the younger man I held captive in my memory.   Years ago, right there in the dark— we became birds standing on a wire of resistance. He …

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Simon Perchik

* Here, there, the way silence tows you below the waterline and though you are alone   you’re not sure where her name is floating on the surface or what’s left   grasped by a single wave that never makes it to shore splashes as if this pen   is rowing you across the stillness the dead are born with …

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Avec O’Heaney

before I’m stricken down by overwhelming heartiness Lindo, remember my hands flagging down my elbows when I suddenly bent them at asymmetric angles and thrust them toward my second rib to cry out a phlegmy Milwaukee born Hrrrrraaghh! I’m stricken up like that often you know- I’ve watched you you flinch with a smile three seconds before it comes knowing …

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Rains Came Too Late

The fire gnawed the grasslands to bone-cracked earth on the way to our village. We hoped the lake would save us, the buckets of life we hauled from the shore, the trenches of dirt we overturned, the drenched rooftops. We saw it writhing across the plane, rivers of light beneath rainless billows, bound for our storehouses, our livestock, our children. …

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John Sweet: Featured Author

what becomes   you are breathing on the frozen ground with broken ribs you are smiling and we are higher up between venus and the crescent moon in the last seconds before first light we are falling we are praying are laughing at the idea of someone else’s pain   are laughing in the tall grass and she is turning …

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