Salmonella | by James Ezra

     Double patty combos, plastic toys and $7.50 an hour- it’s one a.m. and these things bleed together.

     My mind’s somewhere else far from the blur of people on the other side of the counter mumbling words from the sign above me. They snatch brown paper bags sodden with grease and I imagine that I’m back home in my boxers, watching shitty hour long documentaries that circulate forever on droning stations.

     My mind oozes information I didn’t know I knew as I shuffle behind the counter, assembling burgers and filling drink cups till they overflow.

     In the growing swirl of soft serve ice cream is the rise of the Roman Empire. In a splay of fries is the steel beams of the Industrial Revolution. Tongues swipe white cream from cones and I think of ancient civilizations that sacrificed people atop temples. They were feared warriors that disappeared without a trace, a tragedy to every historian and unmotivated individual who watches their history on cable.
Continue reading “Salmonella | by James Ezra”

My Ex-Wife Has Returned as a Horde of Flies | by Jordan Moffatt

     I run the crab shack by the marina. The crabs are good here, and the walk’s beautiful. Also people like me. Whenever I open up my big plywood window for lunch, people flock over here like boats to a lighthouse. Actually I guess boats try and avoid lighthouses. Or maybe they don’t. I’m a little hazy on the functionality of lighthouses — lighthouses aren’t my job, the crab shack is. And my crab shack’s popular, and I’m popular with it. I’m like a pillar of the community in a lot of ways. Two ways, really: good crab meals and nice service. I’m nice.

     If there’s one thing I’m not nice towards, it’s flies. I kill them all the time. Part of the job. Of course flies are everywhere, but if customers see flies buzzing around the shack, they’re less likely to buy a crab lunch to eat while looking at boats at the marina. So I make sure to have extreme prejudice, fly-wise. I got sticky paper, swatters, rolled-up newspapers, poison, the whole deal. I’ve been pretty good at minimizing their impact on shack business — that is, until last week, when this whole problem started.
Continue reading “My Ex-Wife Has Returned as a Horde of Flies | by Jordan Moffatt”

It Lives in My Intestines | by Provolone Sinatra

     His death was accompanied by a brilliant pain. Not in my heart, but my gut. The doctor said that the burning was just a symptom of an ulcer spurred from my diet of espresso and liquor. I was instructed to relax in-between my spasms of grief and to refrain from spicy foods. Five bodies quickly followed his to the grave. Everywhere, my people were dropping dead.

     It wasn’t an ulcer, though, I knew what it really was. Death had laid eggs in my intestines and they were gestating; feeding off my fears. There was one egg for every name I’ve ever seen transcribed on a tombstone. Six in total. It was my punishment for ignoring the dead.
Continue reading “It Lives in My Intestines | by Provolone Sinatra”

Two Poems | by Amy Kotthaus

“They left behind them, to enjoy the corpses,
the dark coated one, the dark horny-beaked raven
and the dusky-coated one,
the eagle white from behind, to partake of carrion,
greedy war-hawk, and that gray animal
the wolf in the forest.” (Anglo Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 937)

 

Dead Languages

Passing epiphanies light when ossein fingers
close a vice, constrict the heart to desperate
half-beats and settle back on exhalation
to flood the mind with silence.
It’s a wonder people care to hear of anything
but ravens and wolves tearing men apart.
To be lucky enough to live forever
because you were devoured is a dead tongue.
We speak a language of evaporating words,
our myths floating up after them, because
you can’t tell stories with words that won’t stay.
Our hands shy from stretching cow skin, and
we don’t have the guts to burn our kin in public
anymore. Steel bites them in the back until
dry eyed strangers desecrate them with unnatural fire. Continue reading “Two Poems | by Amy Kotthaus”

PUPAE | by Garett Strickland

     Slowly, tenderly but with some force, Anna’s fingers pulled apart – with the soft sound of long-trapped air finally now releasing – what could maybe be seen as a mouth. Felt to think to call a mouth, she did, yes, ‘mouth’ – but no. What could fit? She puzzled her head in a swarm, uncertain.

     Uncertain as she’d been when wandering through these darker woods and having chanced upon the clearing, her eye seized at what faintly seemed to stir beneath the small pile of brush and ivy that swelled within its center. Curiosity aroused, she’d picked at the shadowy mound and found thereunder, this, a sudden musk, thread-thin veins webbing out ‘neath whey-white skin.

     Mouth, she decided, and gently scooped away the mucus. She smiled, wiped her hands clean on some nearby leaves. Continue reading “PUPAE | by Garett Strickland”

Three Poems | by Patrick Williams

Every Eyelid Has Two Sides

When we rode in borrowed
clothes and your horse had
pulled you oh so far from me,
I should have thought of eyelids.

Instead, I took your picture:
small, but so distinct against
the snow-masked lavaplain.
Safety orange head to toe.
I couldn’t see your tears, frozen
and congruent to every nearby pixel. Continue reading “Three Poems | by Patrick Williams”