Body Count

by Shaun Terry

Another dead body sits on the pile,
reeking of cigarettes and gin,
half-smiling up at me behind smeared makeup,
its eyes rotating, trying to lock into mine.

The threads of your little cornflower date dress
stretch – barely making it – from one hip
all the way to the other hip,
and you smell like roses and acetone.

I fumbled over microwavable cliches
and feigned confusion
of the exclusively internal sort,
but in the dark corridors of our “romance,”
I was really just reaching into your chest
like in the Temple of Doom scene,
only to swallow it whole
without anyone noticing,
including myself.

I’m really very sorry. I didn’t mean it.
And yes; I ate your ice cream.

You’re not the first.
You won’t have been the last.

Shaun Terry is a 34-year old non-traditional student at the University of North Carolina, studying economics, after which he intends to work in Social Justice. He has a 5-year old daughter and spends his free time writing poetry and prose, as well as making music. Some of his writing can be found at He’s also interested in Myers-Briggs Typology, psychology more generally, and science and philosophy. Obviously, he drinks plenty of lattes.

The Things That Destroy Me

by Michelle Kubilis

Her name slips past his lips
after they had been on mine.

He says she won’t let go
but his hand is holding tight.

I catch him smiling at her pictures.
“Just good memories, that’s all.”

She thinks she’s better for him.
He agrees.

The break-up.
An ex for an ex.

& her.


by Michelle Kubilis

I had known it the whole time
our love wouldn’t fade like sunlight through trees
It was a lie when I told you that
we were stretched thin – an emptiness searching for hope.

we were stretched thin – an emptiness searching for hope.
It was a lie when I told you that
our love wouldn’t fade like sunlight through trees.
I had known it the whole time

Meeting An Estranged Son

by Kushal Poddar

Short messages of blue
enters the treetop.
Grilled cheese and nothing-
he wants. Water in
the tall glass alerts
every time some car
passes. Moon rises
atop the mill’s chute.
We see no stars these days.
I want him to want
some more. Grilled cheese. Next?
His fingers hide his palm.
You cannot just return
and make everything right.
He doesn’t say and says.
In a message, his mother
made him my look alike.
I watch the etching,
the curves, strokes, give it
an eight. A B Plus.
A maudlin grin.

To The One Holding The Cleaver

by Kushal Poddar

The fat street dog says
something good about
the butcher. All I hear,
a woof, has days, months
years of love streaming
upwards. The butcher
has blood on his apron.
Because this day I
have a banquet at home,
I see smileys, red.
And the goat head smiles.
The dog’s curly tail
too, smiles. The butcher’s
cleaver blinks a sunny day.

Night Telephone

by Kushal Poddar

The clarity of a call
burns a hole in my soul.
I turn and turn, find no
door to the bedroom
where the old telephone
wakes up from its sleep
once or twice in a year.
My feet are hooves from
slaughterhouse truths. I move
in a circle whose
corners slash me, chop me
into seceded desires.
No image. Nothing
except the telephone
in the bedroom where
a linen sea swells, ebbs
again and again.

The Cardboard Box

by Janet I. Buck

I tell the world: “Stop rushing by without me there.” Don’t walk as if you love the ground, do not feel gravity. I ask our peach geranium, named Mabel Marvel in a pot: “Please wait to bloom” until I’m standing straight as pencils sitting on eraser heads. Until I’m wandering the yard and watching you unfold your petals one by one, instead of guessing how you look. I tell our grand Catalpa tree, don’t show your ivory silk bouquets until I’ve walked the stepping stones, stood close enough to touch what’s green. I tell our lace alyssum shrubs, don’t die on me before I’ve washed the dirty windows of my eyes, driven somewhere down the street, anywhere three feet away from cages that I’m living in.

I beg pink roses not to bud before my back can bend and hold, spray for insects crawling toward their perfect circles deep inside. Arthritis chews upon my bones like lobsters eating neighbors in a tank they share—a bucket full of supplements cannot restore the frozen statue than I am. Seven folded joints replaced, with coupons from a mailbox and very gruesome surgeries. It all seems so predictable. Expiration’s coming up like headlights aiming straight at trees in heavy fog. The speed is 60 mph.

I told my doctor just last week: “My life is like a landing plane without the wheels.” “Medicare will pay for scooters, other stuff,” is all he said. He really has no single clue about the engine running hot, night and day, beneath a hood and chassis too that’s broken like a cardboard box because the rain has made it soggy, weak, and tired.

I don’t get the why’s and all’s of painting “hope” with lipstick on a bathroom mirror. If I read it upside down, smear it with a paper towel, at least I’ll know the word is there.