Porcelain blue and white dishes clatter on the soft-sheeted table. The curtains cloaking the house from the dry paradise of crops and grass outside sway as the wind picks up its pace. It starts as a small stir, kicking up dust centimeters high.

The mother busies herself with a dish to prepare, one that she’s spent days on giving thought. Her knobby fingers splay out on the top of a bowl, and she counts as she spoons bits of items into it. The tornado gathers a fair radius, bumping against the house’s porch and testing the weight of the beams supporting the patchwork. (more…)

There’s always one glowing window of the house. Only one. To have more would totally fail the house’s style. A standing, scattering noise face, with a single shape of auroral reference. She feels sensual, debauched in a good way, with just one window lit. Lately, the uppermost right, third and top story, from streetview, has been her favorite; two criss-crossing strips of dark wood zoning the four panes of emanant unsubstance, shining way above the ground. This corner spot hides its light from the rest of the home’s cast, and so also reveals how many of the slats and doors and balcony dead-botany are left in shadow, darkly wheeling down and to the side. The bulb inside, specialized and ordered from friends of deep-tunnel, lets on a kind white mist to something massing and revivingly detailed there, hidden in the rest of the building. There have been other windows attempted, for similar livering affects. For awhile, the house tried the small bathing window, halfway up the side-wall perpendicular to the street, the side-breast of her structure, but that just left a looming convalescent enigma in front, sans much mystery. The passerby took only to looking at the house when down the street, catching a lateral, albeit pleasing, site of the little footed window, evanescent and lonely. But the house is more confident from a straight-on angle; anyways, her flank is a little thick for comfort. Of course, the house chose settling in an abode of ocular void, a lot of total darkness, sunlight being possibly the most boring aesthetic, in her opinion. Plus, all her soily bulges make shadows under the sun that she really wishes she could thin out. The sun hasn’t come this side of the copse in years, assuringly. The top rightmost window feels perfect for now, with the moon’s multiplex and effects. Just enough letting on, a darting of the spires lifting with a tickle of bottomed-out light. And the black-and-white lantanas in this window’s flower box look delicious so a-lit. (more…)

The lantern’s wick is lit from
the flames of our bodies.
Demure and sweet-slick we
pluck our fangs from each
other’s teeth.

More readily accepted
among men, among
those arrogant believers.

They shove scriptures,
mortal tinctures down
our throats, in hope
we parrot some divine
message collected from
their small gods.

We roll our dimpled
hips in time, as one,
as many. The lantern’s
pulse, our hearts
stuttering, intermittent. (more…)

     The ghost who lives in the hallway used to be quieter. When we first moved in, I’d see him only occasionally, on nights where fog was thick or the moon full. He’d just float there, bowler hat on, side of his face melted and slipping off, and watch me. As far as ghosts go, he was pretty harmless, which is why I never screamed. Never even told Ted about him. I’d just pass by him in the hallway, nod politely, and go about my business.

     I think he liked being seen. I understood. The longer we lived there, the more he’d come out. Soon he wandered out of the hallway. He’d hover near the kitchen table and watch me do the dishes. Sometimes in the mornings, after Ted had left for work, I’d pour an extra mug of coffee and leave it on the table. I always made too much anyway.

     Mary & Joe had wanted a baby for a long time, but to no avail. The day Mary got pregnant the heat was an all time high. It was a red Sun type of day and Joe had been such a savage that he left Mary with a ton of scars he had turned into an entire different beast from the usually passionate Joseph that he was. But Mary had no problem with this. They were finally pregnant and she just wanted to celebrate.

     People around town were happy for the couple. They knew the struggle they had gone through and they were happy they finally got their dream come true, especially for Mary who had been wanting to be a mother for the past few years but had been denied her wish, not only cause Joe had a problem ejaculating inside of her but also cause of their economic concerns.

     But now they were pregnant and Mary’s belly grew fast, so fast in fact it wasn’t human. Doctors took her in for testing. But everything seemed normal. She was as healthy as could be. No problem whatsoever. But things weren’t as normal as they seemed.

First Sighting

     We’re a small town. A very close community. There’re 3,570 people in town and about that many within five miles of town. We’re not bigoted. We are champions of diversity. We have an Arab, Muslim family, several black families, two Asian families, and three mixed race/ethnicity couples. We have gay couples and a score of gay individuals.

     I’m Jewish, married to a Catholic. We own the Country Store.

     We’re forward-looking and forward-thinking.

     In the last election, we voted fifty-eight percent Democratic.

     You need this background to understand. I hope you do understand. (more…)

     They call your mother a witch, a prostitute, a con artist. The kids at school have a lot of questions for you. At recess there is no shortage of palms to read and even the teachers think you have something valuable to tell them. Your sister, skinny and dark-eyed like you, is your only friend. Those years when she moves ahead to another campus without you are torture.

     You don’t like lying to people or stealing their money, but that doesn’t stop the steady stream of spirits from entering your life. Dead siblings and lost pets flock to you. You are at your most vulnerable whenever intimacy is possible. A cold breeze blows up your skirt at a family barbecue. A ghost boy, his tux bloody, begs for a dance at the prom. A cat slides its claws through that liminal space where she can’t scratch but can still make you cry with her silent meow.

     Your sister laughs when you say you just want to be normal. What do you mean?, she asks. Would you like to shake off unbidden spirits or would you rather evade Child Protective Services? The questions pile up over the years. Can you have an affair with someone from beyond the grave? Can a ghost be prosecuted? Is there a statute of limitations on emotional manipulation?

The sides of the volcano poured themselves upon us.

The sky, every shade of tumescence. It began with our looking at pictures, one thrown up after the other but in no discernible sequence, with no lucidity. Everything slid like the dusty melt of August (if only we had known that incalescence thus then) streets, our fair traffic overcome. Flanks of pumice, ash, great fissured slurries of acacia and other, even more ravishing names. Because their heads were covered, the women were the first to feel the rain, spotting, arrow-tipped.


In the augury of one picture, a serpent wound about itself yet stretched as long still as a century. (more…)