Jasmine sat in the chair in the counselor’s office, pressing buttons on her cellphone. “He’s gettin’ executed today.”

“Really? I would have thought it was going to take a bit longer, you know, with all the stays and appeals,” Ms. Freeman said.

“Naww,” Jasmine said, unperturbed. “This is it. Six o’clock this evening.”

“That’s sad.”

“Yeah. I heard he wants a cheeseburger and fries for his last meal.”


“And a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. He used to like that a lot.” Jasmine glanced at the counselor’s black shoes. They were small on her feet and clean. Every time Jasmine saw Ms. Freeman, she had on those same clean, dainty black shoes. Ms. Freeman sat a few feet away on the outside of her desk; her round, pleasant face oozed with empathy and curiosity.

“How do you feel about it?”

Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. “Nothin’, I guess.” Her fingers worked across the cellphone with slow purpose.

“Well, you have to feel something … he is your brother.” Ms. Freeman couldn’t discern if Jasmine was scrolling through Facebook on her phone or just looking for something to divert her consumed mind. She thought to ask her to put the phone away but decided otherwise.

“Mama said I had another brother that died when he was two days old. Mike gonna be buried next to him.”

“I see. Are you worried for his soul?”

“No more than I am for my own.”

“But you didn’t murder two people.”

“I could’ve stopped him.” Jasmine glanced at Ms. Freeman’s poised hands crossed on her lap. She looked away and stared at a picture of Ms. Freeman and a man. She wondered if Ms. Freeman was married but really didn’t care.

“You were just a child then. What could you have done? I’m sure you felt paralyzed when you saw him raging in the house.”

“I felt like, like the sky opened up and a big dog jumped out of it. Are you worried about your own soul, since you askin’?”

“I do but not like that. I haven’t killed anyone.” Ms. Freeman’s round, pleasant face was nearly pinched with smugness.

“Lucky you. You know, God kills and orders hits every day… He orderin’ them now to kill my brother.”

“No. Mike brought death on his own head. He didn’t have to kill his girlfriend and her lover. He could’ve let it go.”

“How do you know that? Maybe God told him to do it.”

“I know you don’t really believe that. God would never tell us to kill anyone.”

Jasmine’s fingers paused momentarily over her phone. She eyed Ms. Freeman with incredulity. “I guess it was the devil, then.” She returned her gaze to her phone. “Hmmph. My brother sent two bad dogs to heaven. They couldn’t’ve gotten there without him.”


Alifah Omar

Alifah Omar has been writing since a very young age. She has poetry and prose published in Z-composition, The Fable Online and will be featured in Plainsongs’s July 2019 edition.


Jupp Soetebier

Brownie 01

Polaroid 01


Jupp Soetebier

Raised in the American Midwest in what was once known as The German Triangle, Josef Wilhelm “Jupp” Soetebier’s work explores what effect his Deutsch heritage, ancestral family, and the myths and traditions of his peoples have had on memory and the way he perceives and goes about the world. His un-retouched photography of the American West are created using his father’s 1950 Kodak Hawkeye Brownie and uncle’s 1967 Polaroid 210 Automatic Land Camera. A frequent exhibitor at The Other Art Fair by Saatchi, stARTup, and Conception; his work was recently included in the 79th Crocker Kingsley in Sacramento and a solo show at Acumen Gallery in Napa Valley. Jupp currently maintains a working studio in Los Angeles and resides in Northern California with his wife and two Leonberger dogs.

The Attic

Tapestries of gossamer

festoon rough-hewn rafters.

Knotty old floorboards

groan under a century’s burden of

memories, dust-coated secrets,

buried shadows in decaying chests,

hearts stilled and gone frigid.


A shaft of skittish sunbeams

pierces a grimy window,

spotlighting crazed sepias

of austere gentlemen

in over-starched high collars

and ladies bedecked

in lacy décolletage

and frilly hats, looking

quite prim and proper.


In a dank, dusty corner

where the sun never visits

a doll lies long-abandoned,

naked, crumpled, eyes

rolled back in a face

of fractured china.


Krikor Der Hohannesian

Krikor Der Hohannesian lives in Medford, MA. His poems have appeared in over 150 literary journals including The Evansville Review, The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review and Natural Bridge. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two chapbooks,“Ghosts and Whispers” (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and “Refuge in the Shadows” (Cervena Barva Press, 2013). “Ghosts and Whispers” was a finalist for the Mass Book awards poetry category in 2011.

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