Winter 2016 Season

Work from the Winter 2016 Season of concīs.


Vicki Iorio

between yellow and green

The monks Carthusian make a life elixir
The cross is steady while the world is spinning

Drunk on St. Bruno’s rapture of Mars
who fireworks the uptown world magenta-funk

the Brothers lay down on straw bedding

I dye my hair cotton candy pink
and ride The Cyclone

We Live Our Lives through Other People’s Bodies

Derek Mong

      till we’re no more than campfires
our families encircle. Our families then—

beneath the lantern of a saline bag—
rehearse their own deaths through us.

Meanwhile our pores open inward
under a deluge of morphine

and memory is all we have left to eat.
Slowly it grows to enclose us, before sailing

like a whale’s belly lightlessly on.

Our organs then, if we gift them to the living,
will rise, piece by piece, on cloaks

of dry ice. The small planes that await them
chirr over this city like crickets.

See their shadows leap freely, like those
of skimmed stones on the drowned.

And the men here—paused at a crosswalk
and listening—can feel their heels

lift as the crowd pushes them on.

The Book of Sex

Derek Mong

The names we write here cannot be recorded,
though ownership drives all who yearn.
These pages—widespread as a motel Bible’s—
burn in those who wish they were burned.

I know those who’ve read them blindfolded,
the silhouettes more lavish when veiled.
We parents do them one better: this print
lifts us—half sandpaper, half Braille.

Across 400 East

Amy Jo Trier-Walker

I can’t tell you about Delanoi’s sheep.
They aren’t in the pasture
across from the west woods anymore.
Medicare didn’t cover her Alzheimer’s.
I can tell you they ran to him every morning
up the meadow with the horse and two dark cows.


Tammy Peacy

A pile of last season’s hot peppers, snow-bled and sun-blanched, sat in the field like a mouthless set of prehistoric teeth. It convinced me a minute I was seeing something that wasn’t. Once the crawling feeling between my shoulder blades passed, I put the bottom of my boot to the top of the pile and the husks came apart with the same startling satisfaction as the hollowed bones of a baby bird.

I pulled aside a few of the pepper shells left intact and placed them in a row. Choosing the biggest two for canines.

My brother appeared, head to neck to chest, over the ridge between this field and my shed. I nudged my toe at the mud and when I looked back to the ridge my brother’s whole self had arrived and his right hand showed that he’d took our daddy’s rifle from up over my wood stove.

“Looks like you got monsters in your field, brother,” I said.

He just never stopped looking at me.

Anschlussing Neologism

Gerard Sarnat

CC licensed photo by Howzey

post holy moly Roman Empire, elephant train heavy lifting equipment
left over from Hannibal is unneeded for SS skiers to do in Österreich
that folded before the thousand year Third Reich as damaged goods
which after the war victorious Allies land grabbed like Germany
— Vienna and Austria divided into one two three four sectors —
then when Stalin croaked it’s declared to be a “neutral country”
thus avoiding descending Iron Curtain less than velvet gloves.

Requisite Gift Shop Refreshments Und Crucifix Über Alles

Gerard Sarnat

photo by Gerard Sarnat

Talking shit in footsy PJs — same old surreal kitsch about Himmler’s poison teeth,
Stalin’s spiked lawns, Magen David’s Krakow bagels, that Astaire had been born
Frederick Austerlitz, was Auschwitz the only camp which concentrated on tattoos?,
what a gas chamber music is!, Theresienstadt’s Potemkin village where flower boxes
resembled eye lashes, John Kerry’s Jewish roots, failed common noun wars on cancer
porn typhus terror drugs — blinged alpha shmucko nosey cocaine + croissant grabbers
packed like herring or black sheep who sleep standing near their pickled toy bears, lace
up chimney sweep hoodies, pinched sweat pants, abandoned happy hour drinking boots.

Oven Timer

Hilary S. Jacqmin

A bakelite timer
like a flocked hen

surveys the gas range
 in this pre-war kitchen.
A mahogany biddy

that clucks off seconds;
 fat bantam
of the dinner hour.

Our broody Buckeye
a bell suspended

in her belly.
 See her
pea comb, rosy

as the errant pearl
 of blood
that punctuates an egg.


Caitlin Vestal

In the bathroom of the doctor’s office you stare at the pad in your underwear, slick red but not soaked through. You wonder if you should change it.

A nurse leads you to the exam room, where you climb onto the table. You wrinkle the paper that will tear when you lay back, shift forward into the stirrups.

Your husband smiles at you from a chair where he is reading emails on his phone.

The doctor enters, announces that you’re having a miscarriage.

You nod.

You knew this last night, when a thud in your belly woke you once, twice. Dragged you to the toilet where you sat for hours, watching the dog watching you, her head cocked, pacing back and forth in the doorway.

The doctor steps out, tells you to undress from the waist down and cover yourself with a sheet.

You lump your jeans and underwear on the floor, and the pad sits, exposed, raw.

A knock and the doctor is back, snapping on gloves, checking for latex allergies. Sliding between your legs, saying, You’re going to feel my hand, you’re going to feel my hand, you’re going to feel my fingers.


Tracy Mishkin

The sky grays into the same
smudged fingerprint.

The heat kicks on. Soon the skin
by my thumbnail will crack.

The moon will stick
to branches without leaves.

is the rain that falls all day.