Errands

Megan Collins

Other registers were open, but I got in line behind the bride. I hadn’t expected to need these purchases again, but when I saw her—buying two six-packs, hair uncurling, gaze hauntingly hollow—I was almost okay with having started bleeding. It was possible, I thought, that the two of us were meant to stand in line together.

Clearly something terrible had happened, some unbearable disappointment, her wedding canceled at the very last minute. She’d probably cry for the rest of the day, her white dress like a second skin she wanted to burn right off.

“I’m so sorry,” I said.

“Hmm?” She blinked at me as the cashier handed her a receipt. I gestured towards her dress.

“Oh… No—you’re so sweet! No, my daughter’s at a princess party, and—ugh—the parents have to wear costumes, too.” She rolled her eyes. “This was all I had. But—” She raised her six-packs as if making a toast. “I have these now too! One of the mothers sent me out to get them.”

She whispered the next part. “We’re gonna sneak them during cake.”

Smiling wide, she turned to leave, and I saw that her dress didn’t zip all the way.

“I’m sorry,” the cashier said to me.

“Hmm?” I blinked at her, and she nodded towards my purchases. Tampons. Ovulation tests. Tissues. I noticed for the first time that her hand rested on her belly.

“Oh… No,” I said. “You’re so sweet. No. I’m okay. Thanks. No.”

The Prop is Not an Apple

Katy Chrisler

It is not too late to meld splendor with the
Bodies that grow from instruction. Her outlaw,
Common sense. He, underground. “They got it
Wrong, the gods we have.” I can feel your steps
Unravel with the clarity of youth. A blossoming
Of raw beginnings. There is no ordinary along with
All their other oblivions. He doesn’t get a full house.
The statues will recover with menace, forecast:
“We can try again to want less heraldic colors.”

hands down are roots to lift a well

Glenn Ingersoll

There were two of them, both empty.
A ringing continues in the larger bell.
He tells me he can feel it days after the striking.
A storm at the horizon sputters with amber lights.

One world waits for its hunger. Presently, it has no stomach.
If listening is required, you’ll want batteries.
That was, once again, the wrong noise.
It came at an opportune moment for the argument.

Where is the zoo? Near the natural falls?
One alarm was always false, an unimportant one.
Solutions were proposed and tabled, soon perfected unused.
The last attempt succeeded, but in a direction that left them behind.

Tips from the pioneers

Mark Young

In their pristine state
even the most benign-
looking lithium-ion-
battery is based on a
predatory concept. Its
diet is composed of
elements such as salt-
bush, grass, plants; its

mires sequester large a-
mounts of atmospheric
carbon dioxide; it has
always been in a con-
stant state of flux. Tie
dying a t-shirt can be a
scary idea. Carnivory
increases the fuel load.

She in a French Movie

M.S.

Discover me in june petal pleasant and
poise   fluorescent kneecaps   guide
you home   i wasn’t meant to   sing
gridlocked hymns dragonfly   lassoed
on   someone’s whim   i   tell him
there’s a   venus flytrap   between
my legs   he thinks we   are done with
that & this   indifference   to flesh that
droops and eyes   that kill my favourite
lover solitary   prince demure   at
first then   juggernaut   tongue   my
favourite   lover hover   here where
silence   is boredom and sleep   is slit
between   flesh that   weeps.

Electricity, Yes

Matt Dennison

Always more comfortable among the strange,
prone to jump the garden fence at any startle,
I tossed no flowers upon my father’s grave
as he tossed no flowers upon my mother’s.
From eloquence to secrecy’s sublingual
inconsistencies of faith, I would, like math,
a more exotic womb in which to place
our fathers’ tongues for jaw’s own faults—
that vault wherein we all, gentle as a glass
of thunder in facile rat-skin glory, are born.
Death, that dog best undisturbed, that wonderfully
suffered child, Devastation’s blackened pit bull
enlarged by solvents’ hollow change, will gnaw
upon our moldering names.

Beginning at the Golden Panda

Ashley Kunsa

this skin traded for fortunes
unknown   a nice cake
awaits you   the morning
after, an envelope steamed open
by disbelief   you are the only
flower of meditation
in the wilderness   a fire
that tastes like knowing   we want
to have a testimony but don’t
want the test  laps up
desire with the urgency
of fate   you are about to become
$8.95 poorer, $10.95
if you had the buffet

Trump as a Fire Without Light #93

Darren C. Demaree

White gold, time alone, this bison tips over at the idea of actual wind.

The Morrigan Rides

KB Ballentine

Caul of night invades the Black Valley,
 crow roams the still-warm thermals,
Gap of Dunloe stained red with stonecrop.
 Dundee masked beneath MacGillycuddy’s Reeks,
Coosaun Lough slips low, Wishing Bridge creaking,
 groaning as doves keen in the pilings.
Blackthorn spikes horizon’s fire, an owl swiveling
 its neck, eyes wide at the coming dark.

Bon Mots vs. Witticisms in Four Rounds

Mark Budman

1. Their kiss was cunning in its entirety—not a slow, amateurish smooching or a quick, pornographic slither-like darting of the tongues—but like the expertly interwoven strings of a loom produced not by an overworked laborer at a Chinese factory but by the proud hand of an American master craftsman.

2. Gaius Lucius Serpentis, his muscles ripping under their own weight, raised his gladius above his head in a mocking salute to his opponent who, being a Gaul, just mispronounced morituri te salutant in his ingrained desire to keep the Gaullic language free from the foreign influences, and now was about to be condemned to death by the vulgar Latin-speaking audience.

3. When the ship emerged from hyperspace, lieutenant commander Dated found with horror that his finger that he had picked his nose with just prior to the warp jump, now was inside the shirt of Dr. Natalia Chekhova, perhaps guided there by the forces of Smith’s law that dictates that males are attracted to females at the rate that twice exceeds the gravitational speed; but fortunately it was prevented from sliding further down not by Wilson’s law making space travel possible, but by the tightness of the good doctor’s pants.

4. Blinded by the blue rays of the planet Avatar, the craft overshot the base, clipped the top branch of the Tree of Life, was swallowed by Shmeleopterix, passed through its digestive tract, was cut from the theatrical release and left in a pile of guano waiting for the director’s version.

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