You shave so the rain…

You shave so the rain
can’t stop—twice every day
as if the sky were twins

half shoreless, half too heavy
and these rotary blades
reaching take-off speed

—you climb the way this mirror
fills with water, becomes some boy
shaking a tree, expects your hair

will drop safely in the sink
though Norelco claims the motor
runs even in a shower

—what does it know about rain
or accuracy or for hours
the absent-minded way your face

presses almost too close
dimmer, dimmer into that turn
there all the time on your cheeks

kept beardless: a light held back
at the far end where the runway
wants one from the few left to it.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities”, please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

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Half jack, half when the ace…

Half jack, half when the ace
finds its way back
and the vague stomp
each time you deal a spade

—you teach the kids
dead ends and random turns
half cards, half burial grass

—you say take the risk
bet! and suddenly the black jack
will fall to your knees
and dragged out the deck

—you deal with those dead sparks
from the sun smothered by pennies
the way each night is born again
as laughter safe inside this table

hid by a milky thread
and your eyes not yet ready
for the light or if the next card
is the other end you leave behind.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities”, please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

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Divorce Store

Arm yourself as you desire
Look at this razor—just one swipe
Spills open the bowels of your neighbor
            These are called
            cutting remarks.

Of if you prefer blunt force
Here are our clubs—studded or smooth
(Studded is extra, by the way)
            Brain into pulp
            your partner’s senses.

And lest I forget: our newest arrival
A set of teeth with which to extract
The heat from your lover’s vein
            (I suspect that these
                        will go fast.)

Better take advantage now—
Don’t you think?—than regard
Dull-eyed and dull-eared
            A thousand
                        bloodless Tuesdays.

Michael Shou-Yung Shum is currently a PhD candidate in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Tennessee, where he serves as Fiction Editor for Grist: The Journal for Writers. His stories and essays have appeared in Barrelhouse, The Writer’s Chronicle, Midwestern Gothic, Weave Magazine, and Spolia, among others.

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Bone Appetit

“This reminds me of Hannibal,” she said, wrinkling her nose in a mixture of disgust and fascination at the dish before them.

He looked up briefly but continued to bump the bone fragment rhythmically against the flimsy styrofoam plate. Bits of red oozed out and he deftly put the piece to his mouth and inhaled hard, greedily, noisily.

It was their first proper date. They were at the Adam Road Food Centre, a popular place she had never been to eat, because it had seemed hot, damp and a little filthy. But she had been attracted to the ‘bad boy’ side of him – Hokkien-speaking (complete with the swear words), a smoker (Dunhill Light), a biker (a 125cc Yamaha imagining itself a Ducati), a rough crew cut that did nothing for the short, thick tangle of totally black hair, a guy who wore a dirty T-shirt with the words “I’m the one your mother warned you about” on it, and heavy black boots (Caterpillar), and – especially – looking darkly melancholic when sitting alone. In short, he was a true beng.

“Try some,” he said, handing her a dripping mutton bone.

With index finger and thumb, her other hand readied on a pack of tissue paper, she balanced the oily piece against her plate and sucked gingerly, as if tasting a new drink.

“Harder,” he insisted.

She tried again, then made a face. Abandoning her sup tulang, she hurried to clean her two fingers with plenty of tissue paper.

He shook his head. “We’ll need to practise some more. Do you want something to drink?”

“Iced lemon tea.”

He stood up, wiping his hands on his jeans, and grinned. “I feel like a cannibal, all right.”

Jocelyn Lau is the author of three haiku collections in English, most recently: Hey There, Tot! and Excursion to HortPark. She is working on a fourth collection, Honey, I’m Pregnant! She recently published Life of Pinky with Eunoia Review, an unfolding series of very short stories about an imaginary pink horse.

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I Am All You’ve Got

Come to me with crinkled paper peeling
from perfect bones, white like chocolate
silver foil hanging from the tip of a toe
a freshly opened cave for a heart.

We embrace, tender as puddles filling with poison
eyeless fish and lip-synched “Hail Marys”
fingers fasten on the hem of my dress
keep me down.

Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History; the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications); and a novel, The Book Of (Damnation Books). Her needlepoints and beadwork have recently appeared on the covers of Grey Sparrow Journal, Qwerty, and Kiki.

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Shelter

It’s easy for you to go home without me. It’s easy
for you to take my hand and say no, like I’m
some sort of wounded bird that wants to follow you to bed,
white wings spread as if I really could go if I wanted to
but really, still struggling to deal with
so much impending solitude.

For days now, for weeks, there is no other place
that will have me. My heartache grows fainter
as we talk of my freedom, the places I should go
now that we’re through. There are people out there
just waiting for someone like me

you say, as I try to picture my white wings spread,
carrying me to rooftop nests in Holland,
fields of wild grain in Italy.

Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History; the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications); and a novel, The Book Of (Damnation Books). Her needlepoints and beadwork have recently appeared on the covers of Grey Sparrow Journal, Qwerty, and Kiki.

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Dew-Damp and Sap-Scented

He smiles as if he’s made of wood, coarse flesh,
rough bark, I am unable to leave. I imagine
we’re posing for a photograph, holding hands only because
we were planted too close together.

If I turn my head, I am alone in this forest,
shaking apples free from my limbs like new babies
set free. I am feverish with rattlesnake venom
from this dream that will not pass,
strengthened by a wind that sucks
the sound of your breathing away from my ears.

This is my campsite now
and you are only allowed to see me through
the tiny crack between the zipper and cloth of your sealed tent flap.
When the sun goes down, we will meet just long enough
to exchange horror stories around a fire,
tales of marriage believable only in the middle of the night.

Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her published books include the nonfiction books Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History; the poetry books Late-Night Reading for Hardworking Construction Men (The Moon Publishing) and The Smell of Snow (ELJ Publications); and a novel, The Book Of (Damnation Books). Her needlepoints and beadwork have recently appeared on the covers of Grey Sparrow Journal, Qwerty, and Kiki.

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