Walk around the house one last time, when the mourners have gone, and gather some trinkets to make a tasteful shadow box. Include some hair, some matchbox cars, a stick or two of their favorite chewing gum. When you’ve put it all together, take it outside and kick it off a bridge.

     Summon the deceased using tea leaves and several hundred mgs of the antipsychotic Quetiapine (ATC code: N05AH04). Take up a pen and ask the spirit to guide your hand. Sell the sketches at occult conventions. Published them in outsider art zines.

     “You’re asking how much for this?”

     “Not me. The spirit.”

     “The spirit is asking four fifty?”

     “Four fifty, yes.”

     “The spirit is.”



In the waiting room, this docudrama on mute
is showing a real life re-enactment of
a home invasion.

I’m sitting on my hands wanting my
mother to come out and tell us something
different already.

I am ten years old and for some reason
my favorite movie is Halloween.
It is summer.

With closed eyes,
I fantasize about sneaking past nurses,doctors, and guards.
While sunlight cuts through the shades,
Jamie Lee Curtis tells me to stop chasing her, but I can’t. (more…)

I awake in the sand near a body of water. I ask a man wearing a mask, what is this place? The man says, a place near the dark forest. The sky is a beautiful grey. There’s girls in red cars and children playing games on the tarmac. I see a horse tied to a tree. I say, the horse, who does it belong to? The man Alejandro says, that horse belongs to no one. I take the horse and whisper into its ear, your name is Samuel. A woman separating pebbles and stones from dried kidney beans looks up and says, what did you say to her, the horse? I tell the woman, I told the horse its name. A boy laughs and says, that horse is a girl. I ride the horse to the train station. I tell Samuel, wait for me. I see a man in a blue suit. I point to the train. The man says, yes. I say, a ticket, to go to where the train is going, how much? The man in the blue suit says, it’s going to cost you, and he points to the train like I pointed to the train. He says, the train is full right now. I say, how much, to get on a train that is full? He says a number and I look up into the sky, as if I am searching for something. The man says, you don’t have much time. I call for Samuel but Samuel does not come. I walk over to Samuel and look into the saddlebag. There is no money. Instead, I find a moon rock and earth magnets. I go back to the man in blue and say, I have a moon rock and earth magnets. The man in blue says, the earth magnets are useless but the moon rock, I can take. I wave goodbye to Samuel. We take the passageway between the canyons and the dark forest. I look up into the sky and realize, the moon is closer today than it was yesterday. The earth magnets move around in my pocket.

I hadn’t expected to see a woman in this dump, but she seemed to have the knack of making everyone else look out of place. Her elbows took the weight of her height as she propped up the bar. Her deliberate black roots scorched through the peroxide in her hair.

I wanted to talk to her but I knew women alone in bars definitely didn’t want hassled. Besides, she terrified me.

Instead, I watched her discreetly from the other side of the bar. She slugged from a bottle of beer from time to time and didn’t seem to look in my direction.

Three days after the boating accident on the lake
those who promenaded through the park
(chaperones a few steps behind)
somberly reflected. They murmured quietly,
voices vibrating with guilt, what luck
it was to have stayed home or been abroad
that tragic day. A cry rang out and they all
noticed something strange happening
among the bevy of trumpeter swans. (more…)

Published as part of a collection by Howling Press and presented with some commentary by the editor, Herbert S. Trundlewhip


‘Rules are rules, and that is that.’

     That’s the last thing Teddy said before he left us. We ー that is to say, Rupert, Tammy and I ーwere still practically children without the faintest idea of how to keep house, but the idea of spending a week in Margate, unfettered by parents and with a large Georgian house to ourselves, was enough to send a hasty ‘yes stop please stop’ over the telegram. We rattled down on the train the following day, leather cases in hand.

     Teddy, like all grown-ups, was fond of house rules, and he spared no time reciting them as he led us through that beautiful, dark hollow of an old brick abode. The satin curtains of the frontispiece window were to be drawn every night at seven; lantern oil was to be conserved wherever possible; the garden was to be watered once every two days with a little green watering can kept by the porch; and the greenhouse was strictly off-limits.

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…)


for the
that nearly
spilled out
onto your dinner
plate. For the lashes
that cast a shadow. For
the lips that were red, all
red, & the glitter. Sorry that
the band played louder, or was it
his pulse? Sorry for the gospel hymns
I crooned into the phone when he called.
Sorry my fingertips are ten Hail Marys. Ten
novenas. Sorry for the roses that fell out of my
mouth. For the way I pricked you & pricked you & pricked
you. My body is a garden. My body is the patron saint of want.





one by one by one. you gave me
                           the flowers, the petals I go home & eat. this is the part
              in the movie where the director wants me
                            to kill you, but I can’t, so understand something
             that wasn’t love, you told me this, near the stop sign
where you picked me up in your wife’s
                            car, I could choke myself, I wanted your hands
             to be my hands I wanted a scene big enough to make
everybody look at us. I was ready to peel back my skin
              & scream, & I was the glow of the streetlight, I looked
the wrong way & something was wrong. I can’t
             be trusted to kiss mouths without biting, so you wouldn’t
                           kiss me & I wanted to shoot the scene
             where your hands become my hands so I could cup my own
face & feel the word tender. I wanted to shoot the scene where your hands
             become my hands. I wanted to shoot for months
I rehearsed the script of my leaving, but never left.




Lauren Milici is a Florida native who writes poetry, teaches English, and is currently getting her MFA in Creative Writing somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. When she isn’t crafting sad poems about sex, she’s either writing or shouting into the void about film, TV, and all things pop culture. @motelsiren