Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
Instead of Bad News
She pours some coffee, pets the dog,
and holds him off with snacks until
her second cup. The headlines crawl
across the bottom of the TV
screen: it’s murder, scandal, mostly
cloudy, and Dow Jones. “I will
not waste my life,” she tells herself.
“I’m finding meaning; giving and
receiving love.” Her irony
ambiguous as Lilith myths.
The coffee’s gone, it’s still damn cold
outside: 16 degrees. She clicks
the dog leash, zips up tight: full armor
for a skirmish with the world.
But science tells us now the scenes lay out
For days then months then years, but first the grayheads
Naked in the rain or is this napalm
Softer than your mother’s hands that fed
You nursing new and old imagined wounds
Protection safer than a gun Dad brings
In darkness shot clean through with arrows
Army blanket, shroud of Vietnam
It’s running with you down the street, could be
The spell your memory now casts, the river
Recombined, the scent of vodka, blood
Self-consciousness impossible to shake
Stop. No, go. Proceed with caution. Blood
The Chorus merely, footnote to a memoir
Hand atremble on the coffee cup
You didn’t know to name it then
Poem by Numbers
Nine’s the witches’ number.
Six is Satan. Seven’s God.
One’s the loneliest.
Two makes politics.
Three’s all charm.
Four means death in China.
Eight’s now lying down: infinity.
Five is for the no-count
fingers typing this.