Archive of Dead Flowers

Dead Flowers: A Poetry Rag

Three Poems

by Carl Boon

LOST IN KHARKOV

I needed a post office.
I needed a beer.
Heroes of Labor Street
was long, my landmarks
confused with the map
I left on the Kirova bus.

Because this girl
on Stalingrad Prospect
owned legs
that reached to Lenin’s
palm, and moved
like a sparrow, furtively.

I followed her as far
as the Railway Museum,
then got lost because
I was a boy, with no reason
for being in Kharkov
or anywhere, but I knew

there was a post office—
somewhere. I had a letter
for my father in Ohio,
blue ink that said

I’ve fallen in love.
Who won the Final Four?
I’m going to die.

I’m basically happy
to be old now, there being no
Stalingrad Prospect,
no girls with long legs
to distract me
near Lenin’s statue.

There are others
to write such letters,
and my father is dead,
listening to Miles Davis
play the trumpet
somewhere, listening

to long-ago music
in a place like Ohio.

SHARI’S BABY

Shari’s baby tries to sing,
but the rain’s outlandish

and swallows her song
before it’s a song. It’s this way

in storm in Ohio,
July afternoons, and the gutters

know, and the trucks make
one puddle three.

There was a note, a budding
melody she heard

in the kitchen, like violas,
like why is the sky

a painted thing,
and why are we drifting?

Shari lifts her baby, brings her
to her breast, and listens.

Something’s calling
through the rain

that is not the rain,
that is a question.

A MAN’S LEFT

A girl ponders the acacia
brushing the window.
Her wrists are scarred.
Her bedroom’s awry
with panties and medicine
in thin brown bottles. She hears
her mother’s voice
saying it’s a holiday. And how
shall I season the lamb?
She finds herself in a novel
on the Aegean Sea
until the call to prayer
astounds her into being again,
being without his deep,
beckoning laughter,
his resonance. They traveled
in the mountains once;
they drank mineral water
and memorized the shoulders
of the bread-seller.
There were hawks
and it got dark early.
The world they shared,
graceful and mysterious,
won’t be shared again. Her gray,
contemplative eyes go
to the corner of her room,
where a pair of carved gulls
look back at her, propped
on a volume of poems
by Orhan Veli.

Carl Boon lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Posit, The Tulane Review, Badlands, JuxtaProse, The Blue Bonnet Review, and many other magazines.

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Two Poems

by Maeve R.

Here I Am Now

Lately I’ve been thinking,
About the spaces in between,
That moment splitting here and now,
That instant we don’t see,
That place where time seems to stop still,
I, for one, think there has to be meaning.

Meaning,
That behind these things that I’ve been thinking,
These feelings of being still,
It would seem that even my thoughts are in between,
Two ideas I cannot see,
That moment splitting here from now.

Now,
To find that meaning,
That thing you and I can’t seem to see,
We need to do some thinking
In that space that falls between
Where time seems to stop still.

Still,
It’s a hard place to find right now,
Especially when it’s in between,
The real explanation of its true meaning,
And just some thoughts that I’ve been thinking.
It always seems easier than it really is to see.

See,
If life would just stand still,
And we all would just stop thinking
About where to go right now,
It’s likely we’d find our own meaning,
Amongst everything in between.

The Timeless Boy

The deafening sound of being unruly
Allows the quiet to sleep so cruelly.
Beneath the wander, the wonder,
And the want,
Furtive under the surface
It lies in peaceful taunt.

He’s restless, relentless to every which end,
Filled up on it all,
Never ready to say when.
Clever kid, knows just how to go limp,
Floating along, the tide under his chin,
Feigning patience behind a foolhardy grin.

Yes, so on it goes,
Wind-whipped he rides,
Thirsty and drunk at exactly the wrong time.
Laid back in the endless last drop,
Born bored to a world caught in shock,
The timeless boy
Trying to outwit his clock.

Maeve is a writer and artist living on New York City’s Lower East Side.

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The Dark, Unspoken Mystery of Mr. Belvedere – Micro Essay

by Andrew Fay

Recently, one of the digital over-the-airwaves stations in the Twin Cities has been showing reruns of Mr. Belvedere in the interim between the time my wife goes to bed and the time that I join her.  And for several nights in a row—out of equal parts boredom and nostalgia—I find myself watching a few episodes.

The show, which originally ran from 1985 to 1990, was about a displaced English housekeeper working for an upper-middle class Pittsburgh family.  Two facts become clear: Mr. Belvedere is formerly of the employ of the British Royal Family, and he arrives in Pittsburgh desperate for work.  The family is merely looking for help around the house—maybe a college student to help tidy up, prepare some meals, and tend to their youngest child, Wesley, after school.  But Mr. Belvedere shows up and practically begs for the job.  He complains about being underpaid, but in five years Mr. Belvedere doesn’t leave.  And it’s quite clear that Belvedere is a world-class servant.  If he must come to America, isn’t there an old family in Boston or Philadelphia that would be a better fit?   This all leads to the dark, unspoken mystery of Mr. Belvedere: what led him to dire straits?

I am preoccupied with Mr. Belvedere’s past.  How did Mr. Belvedere get to Pittsburgh without a decent recommendation from the Queen?  What did he do?  Lying awake at night, in the absence of facts, I am forced to speculate.  This leads me to the ultimate conclusion that whatever it was, it was bad.

The still photos shuffled in the opening titles only fuel the fire.  He is seen serving tea to Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at Yalta.  He dines with Mahatma Gandhi, and meets with Sir Edmund Hillary.  Then suddenly he is holding a shabby cardboard sign, hitchhiking for Pittsburgh?  Why Pittsburgh?  The American pronunciation alone must be enough to infuriate Mr. Belvedere, who would want it to rhyme with Edinburgh or Yarburgh.

So it’s 3:00 AM, and I know that Pittsburgh is the last place Mr. Belvedere would want to go, and yet it’s the specific place he’d been trying to get to.  Then I wonder how Mr. Belvedere got to Pittsburgh, and how I got to Minneapolis, and how Tom T. Hall got to Memphis while I’m at it.  I look out the window over my still, slumbering city, just a few taxis idling on a downtown street in the time between the evening and the morning.  Because I watch Mr. Belvedere, I can’t sleep.  And because I can’t sleep, I watch Mr. Belvedere.

Andrew Fay lives in Minneapolis, and hold an MFA from Hamline University. His work has been published in Pithead Chapel.

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The Hedgehog – Micro Essay

by MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh

The hedgehog died in the gutter on the metal grating over the sewer.

His remains were first spotted in the early hours of a still, clear morning on one of the last days of a fine summer.

That he was male is only a conjecture. However, his impressive mass (the size of a fat domesticated cat) made this assumption reasonable, if not infallible. So, for the purposes of convenience, the hedgehog will hereafter be mentioned using the masculine pronoun.

The cause of death was unknown. The placement of his body along a suburban roadside suggested that a vehicle could have been the perpetrator. Yet as the hedgehog’s body was still plump in all his parts, his quills still neat and erect like a tremendous sea urchin, it appeared he simply had lived a long enough life and therefore could not, or would not, carry on any longer.

It was a humble, yet public place to die. Pedestrians sometimes stopped to stare down at him; others, startled, walked hurriedly by. Any regular passerby would expect that any day now, he would be disposed of by whomever or whatever is in charge of ridding family neighbourhoods of such an exposed display of mortality.

However, as days turned to weeks, the dead hedgehog remained.

One might find it most curious that despite the persistent presence of the hot summer sun, the spiked creature never gave off any odour associated with autolysis and putrefaction of decaying flesh. In fact, if one could smell anything at all, it would be only the aroma of the far off sea on days when the wind carried it so.

 Still, maggots chewed through him with a voracity only maggots can know.

As his tissues began to break down, he shrank and shrank and shrank. His face dissolved inward from the tip of his delicate, dark snout. The round of his body depressed slowly at first, and then quicker and quicker still until he appeared to be nothing but a piece of litter thrown out of a car window.

Then it happened that in the middle of the night, when no one was there to see it (or so it can be supposed), the last of the hedgehog’s flattened skeleton and leather-dry skin either slipped through the grating into the sewage below, or was carried off with the incoming Autumn wind.

And then nothing remained of him at all.

MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh is a freelance writer born in Nevada and now living in Wellington, New Zealand. She writes at www.tigerbombtales.com.

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A Series of Poems

by Maureen McElroy

Oxy-Moron

I love you bitterly,
tooth and nail.

The taste of you
is aspirin on my tongue.

Narco-leptic lover,
walk away again

and I may have to beg,
regurgitate “I love you.”

Your embrace
is shock treatment.

I forget razor-blade Monday,
waiting for your train,

the pain of empty doorways,
burnt-out candles.

Can we rehabilitate this mess?
Your smile, so sickly sweet,

it knocks me out
like chloroform.

When You Were Gone

a pigeon died on the windowsill.
I plucked its pure white feathers
and pushed it down.
Someone called “Juanita” from the street.
Black beans burned
the smoke alarm.

When you were gone
I bumped into furniture,
vacuumed red ants
crawling from the radiator,
and dreamt of a baby packaged in styrofoam.

In the laundryroom,
a Brazilian man
stared at my legs in liquid tights.

I offered him a straw.

It All Ended in the Kitchen

you pulling skin off a chicken –
I knew you wouldn’t be fertilizing
my eggs.

It’s a shame, baby,
cause you shook my world,
rocked me like a mix master

with your doughboy cuteness
that went all soft
when I poked your middle.

What a crock!
This Arm & Hammer love
doesn’t do a goddamn thing

when the fridge stinks
and I’m banging on the icemaker
you gave me for Christmas,

red beet juice on my blouse,
and I say “Hey, help me,
I’ve hurt myself.”

But you don’t respond.
Just microwave
your potatoes,

wind up a chattering-teeth toy
that hops across the table
and falls to the floor.

We both bend.
You start to hug me,
but my stomach reels

cause it’s over
and I thought you were my savior,
but you can’t even walk on jello.

Maureen McElroy was born and raised in Boston as one of seven children. She attended Boston University and has an MFA from Emerson College. She taught English and Latin for five years before entering a career in Real Estate. She owns Jamaica Hill Realty in Jamaica Plain, MA. Her work has been published in Seventeen Magazine, The Beacon Street Review, and Mothers Always Write.

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The Misuse of Wings – Micro Essay

by J. Eric Thompson

On the pavement at the northeast corner of Grand Army Plaza and Central Park South, jutting from the sidewalk beneath the clip-clops and tourist chatter, there is a thick, tapering line of bird poop. Look up. Attracted, perhaps, by the proximity of horse feed, or the rounded footing of the cantilever cables, dozens of pigeons coo and jostle. Their intermittent splatters have formed a sort of excremental Jackson Pollock below, awkwardly skipped over by pedestrians lucky enough to glance down in time. But why this light pole?

There is no room for even a flutter, and their footing, ideal or not, is also encrusted, as is every inch and contour of the pole itself. Nearby, poop-free stanchions, however, remain mostly unoccupied, except for pigeons patiently awaiting a vacancy. But they have wings, you say to yourself. If not roaming coastal in Bird Paradise with godwits and plovers, it seems they’d prefer a tree limb, at least, to a filthy steel traffic light. Their provinciality, though, is a means of survival; adventure into the unknown requires unnecessary adaptation. The avian equivalent of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

We, though wingless, are free to live as opposed to survive. We are not ignorant of the breadth of this world, much less of our own fantasies and ambitions, nor are we paralyzed by instinct. Yet we mimic you too closely, pigeons. We tanagers and orioles and warblers and thrushes and shrikes and finches and pardalotes are easily grounded by the stress and hardships of migration. We too often find ourselves content with jockeying for a foothold on a shit-covered light pole. In our own sweet way, of course.

Fledglings: at some point you must jump. Stay moving and ahead of the crap that piles up when you allow yourself mere contentment for too long. No matter how prime or convenient or well-rounded the footing, seek a better place to alight. You may return, if you choose. But migrate first. Explore. Ignore the flashing DON’T WALK and fly.

J. Eric Thompson is a freelance writer transplanted from rural Virginia to New York City. He has a degree in English Literature from James Madison University, and is currently studying journalism at NYU while working on his first novel. You can find more of his work at www.jericthompson.com.

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Raw Material – Micro Essay

by William Pomeroy

I dreamt last night of a colossal farmhouse in decay, much like the abandoned plantations I have seen in Upstate villages.

It was faded white, almost transparent, with hunter green shutters, parallel to a rusted railroad long since discarded. Behind its sagging front porch and two-story apex ran a narrow corridor of one-story rooms almost fully collapsed like a broken wing hanging off a goose carcass.

Near the back corner of this battered strip with holes in the roof like a random succession of bombs had fallen, stood a makeshift, stone-tiled shower stall, white but yellowing as though generations of men had waited there, chain smoking.

Black mold splattered across its three walls. Near the open entrance laid a heap of flaking red chains.

It had been a cell.

I knew the men responsible.

On a bright afternoon, I stood before a table of elderly, dignified women sipping glasses of lemonade and hot tea in fine china adorned with roses.

White haired, their pale faces were speckled with tiny craters like moons.

Behind me, I suddenly glimpsed a young man, tall, thin, dark and well groomed, strikingly handsome.

“I know what you are!”

I laid into him.

Flailing beside him, I pressed his face down on hardwood floor and reached around his head to suffocate him with a rag soaked in bleach.

Everyone clapped and cheered.

Her dented face twisted in mirth, a woman reached over to hand me a machete, gleefully exclaiming: “Finish the job! When the brains are out, the man will die.” [1]

I hacked away at the back of his skull.

His blood was jet-black, flowing in clumps like sludge.

I awoke as a huge man I identified as his father paced furiously in the hallway of that rotten farmhouse where they had detained and violated a prisoner.

He tore up and down this crumbling pathway, thundering hatred for losing his son, and from a distance his taut skin and broad cheekbones resembled an octopus face.

This only happens when I have not written in several days.

Otherwise, I can usually avoid Lovecraftian monsters.

People define inspiration as pure, ethereal and optimistic.

Sometimes, it can be unrelenting.

I empathize with Keats:

And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek,—
I knew to be my demon Poesy. [2]

[1] Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Signet Classic, 1963. 87. Print.
[2] Keats, John. “Ode on Indolence.” The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of Keats. Ed. Harold E. Briggs. New York: Random House, 1951. 297. Print.
William Pomeroy lives in Greenwich Village and teaches English in Harlem. He taught ethics and poetry in a medium security prison while completing his philosophy degree. His writing has appeared in Art Times, Foliate Oak, Embodied Effigies, R.P.D. Society and Maryland Hunting Quarterly. Please visit his website: http://www.willpomeroywords.com.

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I’m So American Sometimes – Micro Essay

by Azia DuPont

I’m so American sometimes.  White, 2.5 kids, Christian, and I feel free—until I think about my IUD and the Suffragists long before me and suddenly I’m in cages, tied down with thick ropes, gagged, unable to breathe or scream, blindfolded.  I’m so blind.  I think maybe the box my little life fits into isn’t made of a white picket fence, but barbed wired worries barricading my brain—small reminders to not get too comfortable, too satisfied because maybe I’m still second-class (maybe still a bit white trash.)  And it seems no one can remember a time when women had to keep their mouths shut.  It seems that there are people out there that want me to keep my mouth shut.  It seems some people choose a life of silence, holding in their words until they dissolve into their throats, into their blood and their bodies are made up of everything they’ve ever swallowed. Their daughters growing up to expect hollow hearts with swollen wombs, ovaries that belong to God & Nation, birthing little soldiers and package-makers who fight for Freedom! and 2.5 children households!  While the corporations wear crowns made of thorns and we worship our paychecks and we drink to our freedom and the bombs explode in the sky while our children light sparklers and we wear American flags on our t-shirts because where do we go from here?

Azia DuPont currently resides in Northern Iowa. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Screaming Sheep, Scapegoat Review and Haunted Waters Press and her essay, “I don’t love you like I don’t hate tomatoes” was featured in the Canadian magazine, Highbrau. She is the Co. Founder and Fiction Editor for the ePub Dirty Chai. You can find her online via Twitter @aziadupont.

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“No Love Lost”

by Ryan McGinty

Take my reflection
and wear it as a mask
mirrored in the dark.

Through the wall
her muffled screams
crescendo and break.

A door slams shut,
the screaming stops.
Gentle sobs fade to
nothingness.

The faucet runs
uninterrupted
for days.

Water can’t find a toehold,
slides right down the drain.

Ryan McGinty graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010, where he majored in English with a writing emphasis. His work has been published in Eclectic Flash, the Battered Suitcase, and Firethorne. He won the Lawrence Owen Prize for Poetry in 2010. Ryan is also founder and CEO of Oil Can Marketing LLC – a Minneapolis based internet marketing firm that helps small businesses increase their visibility online. When he’s not working or writing you can usually find him home brewing a batch of beer. He lives in South Minneapolis with his bride Lauren.

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“A gunman opens fire”

by John Sweet

when all you want to do is sing,
or maybe be
be told you’re beautiful

a baby falls from the sunfilled sky,
a rain of weeping hawks, of
angels with broken wings,

and do you remember the
sound of me holding your hand?

were we actually ever in love w/
anything more
than the idea of escape?

i need to believe
that we were.

John Sweet won the 2014 Lummox Poetry Prize, the resultant collection, The Century of Dreaming Monsters, is now available. 

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“Crossing the line”

by Mark Vogel

The habit of their lives is never to recognize
that they have irredeemably crossed the line.
~Philip Roth, Exit Ghost

When the intuitive gropes, seeking to act,
there can be beauty in creating change,
in turning from habit, though by definition
time is insufficient to judge as the spontaneous
and innocent push forward. Elsewhere
a plotting determined cabal collects this morning
under florescent lighting, ready to force
confrontation. Those living for sustained
destruction are parodies of professors
so professional as they walk a poisoned
trail cultivating their degree-ed outrage.
Arranging damning labels that cheapen,
documenting sources arguing for pain,
they breathe as one glued group,
with hair in place and words arranged.
They know to whisper propaganda—
respect, justice, community—
and catalogue in notebooks the spreading
sin of others, and visit suited authorities
to test rhetoric, to weaken their enemy
and drive her away. Then, when noticed,
they swarm and sting because they suffer
so much, o tears, living so long as grey ghosts
powerless to strike. They pick at wounds
in spare arranged moments, then explode art
and refuse to see the rubble. When their victim
appears to confront, they stand together
erasing plotting smiles, and speak innocently
of love for pedigreed dogs. They can’t
help but hold hate tight like a hardened turd
until a persistent chill curdles their blackened
blood. When exposed blemishes fester,
they build the inevitable stroke, waiting
impatiently to see what they have built,
to get all they are due—blind to seeded
karma already growing roots down
in the trampled ground.

Mark Vogel has published short stories in Cities and Roads, Knight Literary Journal, Whimperbang, SN Review, and Our Stories. Poetry has appeared in Poetry Midwest, English Journal, Cape Rock, Dark Sky, Cold Mountain Review, Broken Bridge Review and other journals. He is currently Professor of English at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and directs the Appalachian Writing Project.

Two Poems: “A Final Round” & “Slouching on a Siamese Pipe”

by Colin Dodds

A Final Round

I was led like Socrates to the slaughter.
And they cut my head off quick, without hacking.
They batted it idly against the courtyard wall awhile.

I think my parents set me up.
After the crowd left, they placed my head back onto my neck,
then walked off, burbling with smalltalk.

I stood up, gingerly. I wasn’t dead yet,
but couldn’t reason why. A little dizzy, a little bleary,
I went for a drink, to wait for death to catch on.

My executioners came in, talking cautiously.
And I stayed at the bar, rattled but amused.
Healing was out of the question.

Beyond eavesdropping at last,
I ordered another drink and reveled
in my peculiar, almost-dead blues.

Slouching on a Siamese Pipe

I’ve been waiting this way
As long as I could arrange—
Somewhere between a millionaire
And a man who needs to change.

Every bar is an island,
But not one where I can stay.
I make my home, I take my stand
Then daylight throws me away.

I throw myself away, claim it wasn’t my idea.
My self-breaking heart waits until the lights are out
Before uttering its one true plea.

The barstools, the women and the war
Come along for the ride.
Like the contents of a drawer
Yanked open too hard,
We slosh like a frustrated tide.

All the bars are the same.
Their residents meant me harm before I came.

The friendliest ones take the most,
Wielding new vices,
Sealing my fate with a toast.

At the end, slouching on a Siamese pipe,
The air dirty with desperate laughter
I look at my hands and wonder
If the moment was ever ripe,
If it was life that I was really after.

Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than a hundred forty publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.

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Two Poems: “ageing” & “reborn”

by Dan Jacoby

ageing

sometimes at the end of the day
just before giving up on waking
trying to gather thoughts
about the next day
failures, victories
like a preening tom cat
going over old ground
listening for a sound, a chance
to minister some resolution
a figment like gatsby
fresh to the scent
of daises and coke bottle glasses
found in barbwire wastes
I hear the house move
just so in the hard wind
cat hears it too
he hears much more than I
ears still ringing
from a 1960’s firebase shelling
back cramping, flinching
hears my heart racing
sensing an incoming old terror
mind no longer in neutral

reborn

where does one catch
the moon taxi for the bayou
you think you know
you have no idea

brother, you don’t know the road
its’ roots go deep
hidden in the kudzu of time
a thin line between genius and delusion

destructive power in blind ambition
when you’re ankle deep in horseshit
with that three on a tree
in high gear on bald tires

early lunch, tacos and beer
moonshine in the trunk
trying to find spirituality
on a tractor or in bottom pasture

one can always go back to that place
and pull the pain back up
sitting with a bottle of sour mash
making obscene coyote calls

momma said it was just a phase
growing up southern baptist
a little too rigid, just elohim
too low on air

like an old stern wheeler
trying to capture the rhythm of the river
navigating the snags of mussle shoals
to avoid an early grave

an all too fast tequila boogie and
jukebox playing chautauqua hymns
left over from an old medicine show might
leave enlightened cab fare to gather at the river

Dan Jacoby was born in Chicago in 1947. He has published poetry in Indiana Voice Journal, Haunted Waters Press, Deep South Magazine, Lines and Stars, Red Booth Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, and Red Fez. He is a member of the American Academy of Poets.

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Tourmaline – Micro Essay

by Karen Eileen Sikola

The day you got married, the forecast predicted rain, a rain that never fell but seemed to remain still in the air. I took my dogs to the park, where the mist clung to their fur but never seeped in. I ate breakfast in a train car diner, where the coffee was weak and the Spartan Special sat uneasily in my stomach. I returned home and watched recorded TV dramas until the meal settled. I had sex in the shower. I finished an opened bottle of blended red that had been on the counter a day too long. I ate Rice-A-Roni, and roasted Brussels sprouts, and an ice cream sandwich. I went to bed.

The day after you got married, I ran six miles in new shoes that gave me shin splints. I showered too soon afterward and sweat through clean clothes as my body tried to recover. I watched my boyfriend and his friends brew a batch of stout so dark the runoff stained the patio, listened silently to their banter as I closed my eyes and soaked in the last few rays of sunlight before the cold turned permanent. I watched the dogs chase flies that flew into our rented townhouse every time the screen door opened. I drank cider in 4 oz. increments. I ate leftovers and watched the Saints overcome an 11-point deficit. I stayed up for the evening game only to go to bed at halftime.

The Monday after you got married, I woke up.

Karen Eileen Sikola received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from California State University, Fresno. She now lives in Boston, where she works in publishing and conducts the blog TrainWrite. Her nonfiction has appeared in several journals, includingMonkeybicycle, Specter Magazine, and Used Furniture Review. Her digital chapbook, “Riding the Green Line,” is available from Walleyed Press.

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“Early Education”

by John McKernan

I would only read
Books on spiders and butterflies

During religion class
I often fell asleep and dreamed
Of meeting God at a baseball game

The first time I watched
A classmate draw an image [of an ant]
On a blank sheet of paper
I said I don’t believe that

At recess the nun
Would randomly show us some thing
A dead baby hummingbird
Or a monarch butterfly
Wrapped tight in a spider web

She never stopped whistling on the playground

John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska – is now a retired Comma Herder / Phonics Coach after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives – mostly – in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines

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