Sprung Formal Issue 13

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SPRUNG FORMAL issue xiii

2018 Staff Jordan Hooper Callie Bryan Adrian Manzo Nico Reason Opal Roberts Baca Caylie Hausman Abigail Crawford Bailey Hughes Isaac Lee Rory Frazier Paige Gordon Nicholas Olivares

Sprung Formal would like to thank: KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice Malynda Eshleman Phyllis Moore KCAI Print Center Lisa Maione

S p r u n g F o r m a l is a literary arts journal published annually in association with the Liberal Arts Department at the Kansas City Art Institute. Established in 2005, S p r u n g F o r m a l is a literary magazine edited and produced by students who pride themselves on combining professional content with professional-grade student work.

A very special thanks to M i d l a n d P a p e r for their generous support. Printed on Domtar Lynx Cream White 65# cover and Neenah Antique Linen Antique Gray 70# text. Both grades available from Midland Paper. 8 6 6 . 2 0 4 . 9 7 0 0 .

Nurse of Medea  B r i d g e t


Jason. What’s a name like Jason anyway? Ordinary as elder care and a season spent on little league, foam hats ejaculated across a field of domestic dreams. A psychopath with a hockey mask and his carry-on of little pills. A mother’s love distributed in equitable shares with each blow of the axe. The unspeakable abuses of summer camp enter the hotel rooms of middle managers in pharmaceutical sales. Friday again. The husband is stuffing his children in his mouth like chicken fingers. Epoch of flashy masculine despair! While the rage of a woman eats her beauty, Jason lives.

Adulthood 

Lauren Ireland

I want to be in a cold car with all my selves coat on driving a Massachusetts I never left or lived. The divine sweetness of the girls in my head the car exhaling dirty white over dirty white roads. The mountains press the sky press the clouds. Far away geese are calling I park at the party. Cloud of golden midges I’m in love everything is on fire it is four o’clock on a Friday forever it is almost spring and I have never been hurt. Sturdy yellow petals over the turnstile pleasure of excess of heat in the butterfly garden I am already concerned everything is past. Nothing happens fast enough I will lick these peonies open myself. Walking over the bridge of names the darkest dark I have ever seen dark water dark cars hushing over the dark street. Watching the party blink on sealing everything with fear. Warm scent of curled hair on warm dense fur collar dress red as a cat’s throat. Cutty Sark. When we go inside the party who will we be.

Loose tobacco quartz faded brown rose incense and silk scarves at the cigarette shop spiraling piles of books under the windowsill. Names gossiping in the flyleaves spiders on the porch. Here is the swimming hole where we prise garnets from the rocks little tick sucking at my chest here is where the black bear waited by the door here is where we pulled over to talk in the unholy church here is the shop where we buy eggs and bread here it is. Making faces in the convex mirror I’m told this is the face that makes me pretty and this is the face that makes me me. Wet leaf on the wet skylight. I am the ghost at the feast I am afraid of the telephone thunder the dead the space between now and then.

The dark is alive with the imagined scents of sleep and hair I pull it on like a blanket the night’s most awful blanket I’m breathing dreadful clouds like dreams wet can of wet ash burnt cigarette ends ice on the sill on my elbows.

Everyone who lived here before me is dead. Is that a nice thing to tell me before I go to bed? The merciful sleeping into the charred morning. Honey light and the frozen millstream. Kitten-faced violas in a mug whole afternoons on the grass screen door slamming and slamming fresh red blood on my palm. I am thinking of something tell me what I am thinking. I shouldn’t but I am. I don’t remember anything rainy afternoon on Locust following smells home detergent jasmine dough shit the cold expensive smell of the coats on the bed is it wrong to care about this no.

Amanita hen-of-the-woods little one with white dots every slender thing that grows on the forest floor has a name. Brackish water has a taste like fear. Fear tastes like aspirin inside the old cupboard in the shed overturned boat stored in the eaves doves dove shit it is not ok to be here.

Ferns grow Out of bricks. The apples are going with sweet dead faces. Wet dusty scent of storm windows ozone Non-shadow of blinds making vertebrae watery light on the wall the sound of mail being sent (slide whistle of joy) the dumb daily things the luxury of abstinence from lipstick o world o world when did you get so small. Yes all these sounds low and holy in my ear like night.

Deterrence Field ď Ž

Cesar Lopez

Ritual For Clearing Your Head ď‚—

Lauren Ireland

Light a cigarette on a rainy morning and let your car fill with smoke. Exhale feathers. If from your forehead doves pour in a mournful wonderful stream let them feed from your mouth. Roll down your windows. Join the walking flock of weeping things in the wet green median. Bathe in the swishing of cars. What are all the things you have been? It doesn’t matter. The memory of the flock is short. Worms are long. Worms are so so long.

High School With Boarded Windows  B o b b y


38th Floor  J e s s i c a


From IKEA instructions The family is furnishing A New York apartment Close to Sloan Kettering Where Bruce, in a study, Gets free immunotherapy. Daniel, viewing the drawer I did wrong: “Of all the mistakes You could have made—” “What are the consequences?” Sarah asks from the vanity. Daniel: “We don’t know yet.” Debbie in the chair: “Jess, if you ever want To come over and just look At the view, you can.” I start To respond. “Not talk,” she says, “Just look at the view.” Debbie On the phone: “My husband has Metastatic melanoma. We need The curtains immediately, he’s Sensitive to light—” “Mom Can’t you just say we need Curtains?” “Sarah, I’m trying To explain why we need them Quickly.” “But the lady doesn’t care About his cancer.” “She might.” “She Doesn’t need to know about it, I mean.” “Ok, you talk to the curtain lady.”

Two Poems  J a n e

what an animal, today I broke one of the small bowls I rescued from the fire today I broke one of the small bowls I elected to take with me today, one of the small bowls broke itself if more bowls get broken, I will have little left from the fire if I break more bowls, that which I elected will cease to be another incident like today cannot happen I took two out of seven. From the glass-front cabinet. Now I have one the others, in another “today” I know are on a shelf marked by fire by sun-shaft, a kind of fire they shift and sound together. One, two, three, clink. Paws, slippers footfalls in the room, footfalls pigeons under the eaves, bowls I broke myself


Two Poems  J a n e

what I know is that I never had a milk jug when I arrived and somehow that has stayed with me it became a goal, and sure, one was purchased later in a vacant lot, an empty hangar afternoon downtown, one of those consignment cars, one of those goodwills you see relentless newspaper leafings the jug I’m thinking about had its own dinner set, green green has become a favorite color. This, a yellowish bitterhued green all the plates are [were] a soft square, gradated sizes yes, my own jug at last, and teacups. You too can have your own romantic meals now, said the woman, selling. So these soft squares are leaved in their own squared dampening box, separated in a house that is squared, in a squared state and I miss them, and I do not have afternoon tea, and all the meals in my future houses were [are] on plates I’d picked up there and then, un-colored, not favorites washed ongoing and dearly but never mine


TableLamp ď ž J o n a t h a n



Catered To Days Miscalculated  P a i g e


The rut in her gut was carved with incessant labor.

And the sun splintered when she awoke gasping his name. Little silences rested on her fingernails and fed her dreams of her own choosing. “Can you recall what prompted the window’s opacity?” It was the neglect of depth that it perceived itself to be.

Fish installed under her coat, he begged and begged her to leave the door unlocked. Her fingers twisted every knob so that each one was set to the right frequency. She removed her hat and planted it on the ground. “Can you imagine the courage?” They walked in circles around the hat until it could no longer be seen. Her hands glowed red and she pressed them to her face only to feel a sudden wind. She instinctually reached out as if to catch an object escaping.

When you finally give the ground a voice, it tells you to walk carefully. She tethered herself to the nearest streetlamp and told it she would not let it fall this time, but if it did she would be there to see its light diminish. Where are the fronds who said they wouldn’t let a good thing go? Wouldn’t evacuate when danger emerged? She dug every last naïve insight up and tossed them into her wheelbarrow. This time, she wouldn’t let sickness distinguish her right from her left because she’d etched them into the backs of her hands. “Let’s get to it.”

Scenes she’d forgotten relinquish themselves to mirrors. She approached many dead ends that held street signs indicating not to turn back around. When she arrived at the edge of the forest, as if emerging from the depths of war, a large cluster of unexpected, welcoming bodies stood in wait. “Don’t turn back, we will lose you again.” I’ve tossed my hat in the ring a few times but never to let go of anything important.

On a park bench in the middle of downtown: her mother’s letter.

She mindlessly folded and unfolded the corners of

With her tongue lodged between her teeth, she wondered why the world wasn’t reacting to the ringing in her ears. Every window in sight slowly began to crack, and she watched as the shards noiselessly cascaded down the exterior walls. The birds embraced the concavities and tried to understand where all the humans would live now. The trees lifted themselves from their roots without a single bark.

I’ve won the lottery.

Her eyes followed him across winding sidewalks where he retraced paths that collected too much dirt and did not receive enough rain. The small girl holding her hand stared in awe as she removed the cloths from the clouds. She pointed at a blink in the sky, and it would twinkle in the girl’s sweet intensity for the years ahead that she would need more than two hands to count. Cities have hearts and buried within they collect thieves and cheaters that leave entangled trails, piled up to collect dust as the population races. She had inscribed the streets into her veins so that she could find her way back to the start. “Who is he?” The girl watched the boy in the distance weaving his way towards staircases, surrounded by branches lifting themselves up. She gaped at the girl incredulously, for she wasn’t aware the girl would be able to see him at such a young age, let alone from this far away. She reached under her coat and grasped the aging fish. She attentively situated it on the ground at their feet and, they observed as it immediately decomposed and settled into the dirt, as if it had been waiting all this time to do just that. “When you lay your bricks assure to deposit notes where there is not enough mortar to seal. It will benefit you later by causing them to be dismantled quicker.”

Her skin loosened, and she cut the excess off.

“Tell them to search all the wells, the caves, the sewers, the cracks, the books without names, those who claim lack of voice, the tired, the uneasy, the sure, the assertive. Wait to see if they flinch. Make them show you their hands.”

Healthy expansion: The air petrified and awoke a sense of belonging within the characters as the earth broke open. The shifting states required them to find solidity in otherwise unstable conditions. It was the metronomes tick that bound them.

A manner of such diligence caused seasons to change at a pace five times slower.

They drilled holes into the concrete walls in hopes of hanging picture frames.

Need be: a sign that manifests itself into action.

The sundial lacked shadow.

She tugged on all the ropes hanging from the ceiling to see which one she could climb. Many fell to the floor She remembered the door knob, and she turned around quickly to assure that it was unlocked.

Unearthing sunlight, her skin began to emanate.

She watched as he approached the peak and proceeded to crack the sun open like an egg. An unleashable force spread itself out, soaking into cracks and filling in valleys. “Who said you could do that?” She screamed at him across spaces that had desynchronized. “Why do you keep doing this? The sun was doing just fine keeping everyone warm and safe. The sun was doing just fine. It was doing just fine.” Though, she knew he was merely unlocking radiance, turning a door knob that anyone else would fear.

Contour Lines  I s a a c


Echo (Blind Contour) ď ? I s a a c


When We Are Outside, In the House  Crista Siglin I Francesca and I are pulling each other’s hair we are in the bathroom we’ve never cleaned she says my hairs belongs to her pelvis I say hers belong to my armpits by the afternoon we are bald and crying we are grown men now we are old men now I tell her she has nice tits she grabs my ass we have nothing left to lose we play catch with a broken polaroid camera my toss hits her in the nose she bleeds she sweeps the floor with the wisps of her beard

II Francesca and I begin singing songs about when we found your imagination in a seal’s coat you had buried by the peonies in the backyard. She sings how she wanted to drop it next to the sleeping figure of her love so that he would wake, and they would peel oranges until dusk. I sing that you nearly drowned me as I tried to smell you underwater because I thought you dear to me. I sing that you were never born into the fables I sing. We sing that we will not be returning your selkie skin until you have no more seven years and we have no more reasons to be digging.

III Francesca and I are playing mommy/daddy in the dining room

in order to stop the rumor

of sweetness in the soul

I say

I am not a woman scorned! I am a wilderness of syllables

She says

I am something that’s got to be awakened!

Then the thought of a naked man enters the room.

He carries a glass fisherman’s weight.

He shoves the small sphere into the small of

Francesca’s back.

We scream. We run to the dollhouse.

We try to hide inside the small of the attic but it is full

of stiffening tissues.

Smug Vacuum 

Ky l e S o u r y a s a c k

fleeting like vhs tapes, fleeting like 9/11, i am a mountain of frying pan fire, i stumble to your wine glass complexion and burn through your wick. your stare is lined with fleece, soaked in nyquil. i am a polka-dancing husband with a steaming throttle, whose voice is thrown, out into the depths of Borneo, into the purse of mary magdalene as a rain check for a hotter time to strike, to rip through feathered words and splatter across your cracked pavement feeding street children, luring them out for capture. seize the child, rugged and chafed, fueled with contempt, lacking metaphors and methadone, weapons of mass incarceration, a hundred cold hands rubbing together above an ashen flame. i am a mountain of frying pan fire and i burn through bones like wick, i smelt the gospel from tired souls and wash them down with Corona Light. i set my roomba at fucking max speed and i close my eyes

Can’t Tell You 

Amanda Lechner

Rabbit In Dark  A n n i e


I started hanging our clothes when the dryer broke. It was something we should have done a long time ago, before my husband lost his sight. One doesn’t need perfect vision to clip small wooden pins over the edges of our damp sheets and clothes, but now he hates to learn a new chore. I sink a nail into each of the two big trees in the backyard and wind a strong piece of twine from one to the other. The taut line comes up to my eyebrows, a tiny hay colored line that defines our green horizon. I drape the sheets and towels and shirts over it and watch them wave like flags of surrender on the wind. I don’t know why I didn’t tell my husband. He never goes out back anyway. He makes it as far as the garage, stumbling around in the dark like an anguished ghost that haunts the gardening tools. I won’t disassemble the workbench or the board for his tools that still hang in an irregular grid, each empty hole between them a socket without an eye. A blind man can’t fix a deck chair, but he can polish his tools with a shammy and hang them carefully back on their hooks. He can whittle a piece of ash into slivers and sweep all those slivers away. What he really misses is mowing the lawn, the watery, verdurous smell of fresh clippings. I only ask he doesn’t try to do anything around spinning blades or motor oil before he has the hang of the rest of his senses. I am guilty of enjoying the creeping edges of Bluestem and Junegrass too much to mow it myself. He tells me moving parts become rusty if not properly used at least once a season, and to this I flip him the finger from across the room, then immediately feel like a jerk. If we need something fixed, my husband has me drive him to the hardware store. I walk him to the counter and stand to the side as he converses with the clerk. My husband holds the pieces of the broken object out in both hands, talking to the guy about what went wrong and how he suspects it happened. I watch the guy nod, then slowly catch on and begin to say “yes” and “ok” instead. It took me a long time to get used to that. It was like being on the radio when you were used to being on TV. So that is how we fix things now. The tools and lawn mower in the garage are just there for him to visit, to put his hands on and sigh, like he used to, but deeper. He trapped rabbits as a child in the English countryside. He had a terrier and knew the intricate knots of a snare that could pop a rabbit’s leg right out of the socket. He says he will never forget the sight of the animals thrashing in the wire, caught in the invisible leghold over the entrance to the hole. We have a picture of that little boy with a rabbit slung on his shoulder. The boy’s eyes are sullen like the rabbit’s lifeless black beads, two dark pits that trap light down inside. But the memories, my husband assures me, are pleasant. I wonder if all memories change when you lose something so integral to your being, if I would remember restless legs with fondness if I were cut off at the knees. We adjusted to the practical chores. I took over most of the hard ones: driving, slicing onions, doing anything that requires a relatively straight line. My husband does the other things: fluff the throw pillows, feed the dog. Mostly he walks around bumping his knees on furniture. I sometimes forget to move chairs back after I vacuum.

The bruises on his shins and knees stir up the guilt inside me, as if I am the one responsible for his loss. He refuses to get a stick even though our insurance will cover one. He says it would make him feel like an invalid, like something that was canceled midway through production. “It would help you move around. Become independent,” I say. “I’m already independent. I can do everything like before.” I catch myself watching him like one watches a baby learning to crawl, ready to leap forward and knock aside anything that stands in his way. But he is careful, walking with his palms out, re-remembering the walls. I wait until he is seated by the radio before I bring the clothes inside from the new drying line. It’s the little things that are hard for him. It bothers him if I change the hand soap in the bathroom from coconut to lemon, or if I let the batteries die in the kitchen clock. He never complains, but I catch him sniffing the pump with a disapproving frown, or standing in the kitchen holding his breath, anticipating the next tick like an absent heartbeat. He steps on things. Maybe not more than he did before, but now his tactile instinct is heightened and sharp. Last week he brought me a button that fell off his shirt two years ago and asked me to sew it back on. I don’t know how he knew which button he had found, but as he peeled it off the bottom of his foot, his exact words were “Janey, will you sew this white button back on my gray shirt?” He can tell by the sound the cheap bulbs make in the lamp when they will burn out, as if the darkness he lives in lures our home through its unbroken tunnel one watt at a time. I thought it wouldn’t matter now if I cut my hair. When I came home from the parlor he could smell the styling gel, the fancy shampoo. He felt my hair with his fingers and frowned. “I don’t like it,” he said. I reached for his face next, traced the crevasse on his temple, the color of new skin. “Too bad,” I said. I let it all grow back. My eyes pop open in the middle of the night, surrounded in darkness at the center of the rabbit’s moonless eye. I slide my hand through the indents on his chest in search of a heartbeat. It bumps against my hand. I put my head back on the pillow. It smells like cool, fresh air. If I got up to look outside, I would see the damp sheets hanging in the backyard and feel the impulse to run barefoot through the dark, toward something that glowed like an open window. The more I could absorb this light, the more I could wring out to him and his perpetual shade. I try the dryer again, but it still doesn’t work. Summer is almost over. It will be pleasant to air dry for the remaining weeks. As I gather the wet clothes in my arms to take to the clothesline, a sputter catches outside the window. I look out and see my husband leaning against the mower. He toes the edge of the grass with his shoe and pushes off in a steady line, confident now behind his favorite tool. Grass kicks up around his ankles and he grins, I can guess, from the familiar texture of the wet clippings sticking to his bare legs. He aims between the trees. The mower roars over my shout. The wide lines of shorn grass are irregular, but it doesn’t matter to him. I watch him push forward like a hare headed for a trap, about to catch, but happy, at the moment, to be flying.

Abuse  S i m o n e


I ask myself about the other things that come up / how to mourn abuse / or say sometimes the relationship was good / I have to be careful / I don’t want to forget the pain / as I dance and rock / bathe my body in lavender /reclaim background music/ play the songs we found together / refuse to skip Syd and The Internet sometimes I do / yoga/ also reclaim my living / room floor / two years / eat sautéed sweet potatoes / tossed into chickpeas and purple kale / I yearn to eat all the things / I introduced to your body / without any memory of you / or your teeth or your hands/ in any pot or room or body of mine you should know / I cannot own another water bottle if it is not disposable or plastic / it is difficult to measure / a gallon a day now / without thinking / you could have killed me / how the nurse called the tissue / sticking out my ring finger : a defensive wound / she is surprised by my survival / that I did not go / unconscious under your attack At my last visit my therapist asked : what is it like to have once loved you / to have let you love me : I think he meant to ask what is it like / to have loved /the person who abused you/ battled your body mostly I say it is like being manipulated / not even being able to grieve the sex / without fighting myself / your strange fist balled up / turning over and over inside me / I beg myself / not to become wet / or mostly sick / throw up at memories of being pleasured by you I want this poem to be angry / I still want to burn up your shit / the clothes you left in my baskets / your vision board torn beneath my bed now / even the only picture of your dead grandmother in her youth / I still want to drop the plant / you gifted me / over the balcony outside of my third-floor apartment / I want the ceramic to shatter / the shiny petals to tear / on the thorns of concrete roses however / I have named her / have repotted her in a bigger pot since she began to tilt in the one you brought you must think this / poem means I also want to forgive you / want to let go of pain / that I want healing / you think I wouldn’t grow her / drink also the rage from my own bath water / curse you in lavender & silk

Grand Avenue ď ƒ B r i n n o n


Invasions of the Body, Time and Space:

Western Tradition of Bog and Spaghetti Voyeurism ď …

Natalie Stein

I am your vigilante body/I am your pickled cowgirl/supping on sphagnum and peat/ten hands tall and ten feet deep/ tapping at the butt of the fen/ do you hear me as you cartoon lasso your mammalian tissue Heathcliff? does my tannins leather man you hot? dressed in nothing but my dirndl/ stockings/ and a ten gallon hat/ lance me on the nylons/ holy shred/ assess chaps/ cattle runs knee to moos from the boot/ my proteins hum and shuck buzzed on preserved millet and a ring of blackberries/ in my sultry oxygenation/ back on the patio you call Cathy and the bog beats back a list of compromises: 1. Anaerobic acids 2. Dappled mare 3. Deletion or sleep

Jenny Says Yes Sir 

Natalie Stein

this is the voynich of love. kunckles. sissy. coded neighs. e e punctuates my Mom’s duvet cover. I have grown so tall like a meyer lemon, like a sheprador pony and its all this I’m fed on that makes me grow to such heights. Mom lays out names that we have a lazy knowledge of : yarrow, thimbleberry leaves for toilet paper (pioneer girl pee) and gathered lambs ear. sissy speeds. sissy pees on the carpet and sissy on a stick horse. in one shot : sissy lays out her babies in a long row of swaddling, eyes all shifty, bouncing back like tap shoes. we see you water baby! we are both little glam chimney sweeps, we both love rhubarb. Marmie and Pom. a pox upon me for a clumsy lout, my Pom Pom bid me bind my hair in bows of rosy hue running: our anthems of E. Anne with an e er, green hair like a new corn silks, like googa. one peasant dress with roses girthed in our hanna anderson clogs. E er to charlie the last lamb and e e to her little green plums!

Cherry ï‚… A d a m


Late Night ď ž A d a m


Anywhere But Here  R o w e n

Fo s t e r

Vermont, on Sept. 24-27, when the mercury topped out at 90 or above each day. Officials said fish fell “from the sky” in coastal Mexico this week during a rainstorm, according to the AP.Waterspouts are a likely cause, the AP sa Many Florida citrus farmers found their crops in disarray following Irma’s passage through the state. The storm created a mess of uprooted trees, flooded groves and fallen fruit. Growers are still in the process of assessing the damage from the storm. It could take weeks to know the true scale of the impact, as fruit continues to fall. H

owe Florida is the leader in orange juice production and second only to Brazil in global orange production. In most seasons, more than 90 percent

of America’s orange juice is made from Florida,

according to the Florida Department of Citrus. The Florida Citrus industry contributes $8.6 billion to the state of Florida and supports 45,000 jobs, according to the Florida Department of Citrus. Florida had one of the worst experiences in its history in 2004 when four hurricanes rampaged through the state. Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne slashed crops by a third throughout the state. Simultaneously, farmers discovered the disease citrus greening in their groves. The disease has been blamed for killing crops across the country including more than 130,000 acres in Florida since 2005, according to the Florida Department of Citrus.

Oranges ripen in a grove in Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Plant City, Fla. The citrus contributes $1.5 biliontotheFloridaeconomy.Growers are worried about citrus greening, a condition where an insect causes bacteria to grow on U.S. Republican Vern Buchanan called for immediate action in Congress to help struggling citrus

farmers recover on Sept. 25, according to a press release. Florida farmers are facing an emergency,” Buchanan said in the press release. “Between Irma and the devastating citrus greening disease, we can’t wait any longer t o provide citrus growers with the relief they need.” Buchanan proposed the Emergency Citrus Disease R esponse Act, which aims to assist farmers struggling with citrus greening and the impacts of Irma by making it less costly for growers to replace damaged trees. The bill also provides tax incentives to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday after touring damage from Hurricane Irma on Florida’s west coast, said “we’ve had bigger storms than this” when asked about climate change. “If you go back into the 1930s and the 1940s, and you take a look, we’ve had storms over the years that have been bigger than this,” Trump said. “If you go back into the teens, you’ll see storms that were as big or bigger. So we did have two horrific storms, epic storms, but if you go back into the ‘30s and ‘40s, and you go back i n to the teens, you’ll see storms that were very similar and even bigger, OK?” accords earlier this year and had previously had called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese. Trump’s comments Thursday go “which we can say really say nobody’s ever seen before.” “They’ve never seen a category like this” come in because it came in really at a five,” he said. Top Trump administration officials have repeatedly dodged questions about how climate change affected the damage done by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, saying the issue should be discussed at a later date. EPA Administrator Scott Pr\ told CNN that climate change is a “longer discussion on another day” a for farmers

Family Size ï‚– B r a n d o n


NYT 12  J o n a t h a n


Oh Bertha,  R o w e n

Fo s t e r

it’s late and I’ve made rabbit stew—the table is set but there are no guests they must be galloping manic on some other ragged shore or maybe they’ve forgotten me only last Tuesday Albert wrote and informed he’d be staying in Santa Ana two months longer than planned monkey’s rubbed feces all over the blue prints they’d been drafting and now it was back to the drawing board—god, I look awful Bertha, it’s as if my ankles have swollen to the width of my neck and gone purplish I’ve been tripping frequently spilled groceries last week there’s a leak in the guest room emits a low wailing sound that’s slowly beginning to seep through to me I’ve never heard anything so doleful before the cat’s gone rabid and I haven’t the heart to shoot the pretty little thing it seems my life is falling apart before my eyes why’d I ever move to middle of nowhere Minnesota I have many regrets in my life, Bertha, and this is one of them

Slides on down the pipe  Angelo Maneage

There in the shower my mother’s razor sits and waits to burn despite its five blades. I’m your Venus, baby, I misremember the commercial for the razor for that shampoo one, I’m your fire. ~ The drain gets clogged with so much hair.

My mother had

a brain tumor and soon after I got chlamydia.


It was gone

when we poured bleach down the drain. My mom loves bleach. The effect of hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach, acts the same as heat on bacteria grown from places of focused heat: legs and the pubic region, places of accumulation. It clumps their proteins together,

kills and hardens and burns

all life living on the specimen all shared life in the tangle

become hard and dies;

in the drain

dies and becomes a clump. But

if the clumps become clumps, then how do they wash down the drain? Simply they do not, but the initial fibers weaken and dissolve,

I think. They wash

back up in months over time. ~ How many times have you had diaper rash? ~ Meningioma brain tumors are common in women of forty or over. They grow on the surface of the brain, stemming from the meninges, pushing the brain away from the skull. They invade under the skull cap, and grow large, away from the midline of the brain, near the frontal lobe in some cases. Structure of the tumor itself is bony and hard. It is not uncommon for them to be up to 2 inches in diameter. Removal is recommended even if symptoms are not occurring as these tumors grow at different speeds. Vroom. ~ I’m running out of hot water so I’m getting a little nervous. I lather in soap before I do the shave, under and over. Smooth swipes, probably 400. Over and over and cut and ow and slower now. —This does not come to my mind until months go by: chlamydia. The months before these months went by, a past partner of mine, who I’d not seen for a hefty amount of time prior, told me of her ailment and that I was the last person, both ways, she’d been with. Pointing the burning finger that I apparently had. Inconvenient at most, but still. You think “not me.”—

I’m your fire, your desire, I whispered to myself as I rinsed the blades thoroughly. I placed it where I found it. ~ We are in Virginia, west or east or north. One of the Virginias. I’m 3. I lay on sand by the ocean, on my stomach, and move my body and arms as a turtle does; I’m doing it correctly, I think. Tide roles in and instead of riding to the center of a wave, I feel salt creep into my diaper. It stings. It burns. ~ I clogged the drain. My mom and I poured bleach into it to melt the mass. It worked. We turned the fan on to air the bathroom out. A cockroach fell from it. We all screamed. ~ The surgery is performed by the cutting of the first layer of the scalp, then the second, and so on. The skin is peeled back, and then a skull piece is cut and removed. The tumor is burned off of its stem with a laser and removed. In the case of the tumor being close to the midline, in the case of it being on the right of the frontal lobe, extreme caution should be used while burning. Before the skull cap is put back on, one should check for any dropped coins, lip balm, et cetera. When the skull cap is put back and held by a prosthetic, skin-like mesh-glue holds it in place. The skin is put back and the head is stapled shut. A coat of sealant on the fresh wound is squeezed. ~ I never give my mother chlamydia. My mother doesn’t use the razor. / lift anything

for weeks after the months

a few more months fixed the problem and in Virginia all the time / her /

/ The doctor told us

went by and I still hadn’t / my mother had her staples removed

she lifts me up I live with

so quickly

In front

Strands of hair cover the cut. / Down the drain

you grow. She says

sing with

We have the world to burn

floating / clumps

I won’t let her

of the tub

of us /

/ Ha ha hair cut

Nixon Says To Be Angelic is To Trespass  S e a n n

I caught Richard Nixon pinky swearing with Jesus in a wolf-dark bathroom between a golden urinal. I asked them for directions to the chapel of our Lady of Smithereens and Nixon emptied a can of mace into my face. He said have someone kiss your eyes. I rolled on the pee spoiled floor and Jesus groaned all our foibles are ordained by groin-sick angels. He stood on my back and sermonized. The first angel Nixon met stripped him naked before a camera crew and mapped his back with talons and teeth. The angel followed him home and slept in his bed for eight trenched weeks. Nixon slept on the slim comfort of his water-sogged rug. Nixon smeared honey and cinders in the angel’s wings, the angel’s wings hardened the angel woke the angel named Nixon Profligate the angel pulled a bouquet out of Nixon’s cock, the angel shoved a dozen rotten violets down his throat and left him heaving. I stood in the corner ogling. He’s been my pest ever since. Nixon tore off his starch-strict shirt, he kicked Jesus in ribs and stuck his pinky in the spear wound. Jesus held Nixon warful by the throat and shrieked into his mouth I may belong in dirt but never forget you are my maggot. Nixon washed Jesus’ feet with toilet water while I gawked like a thief snug in the stocks.

We i r

Dear Nixon, Please Kill My Dad  S e a n n

We i r

He swore on cobblestone if he’s ever loaned a throne I’ll be hanged by friends in sunshine. You should know I live deep in trench country where taxes are collected in urns. He said when you were an angel you wrestled Charivari-Girls in white nightgowns who held you down cleaved through your wings with thick machetes. All he’s ever wanted is his face on a coin in every pocket. My Dad says all presidents are failed angels that God wants the world to hate. He prays for a devil to deepthroat his name. The Charivari-Girls have returned to swarm. The Charivari-Girls hurl their bodies at your walls till every border is a pile of splendid rubble. The Charivari-Girls have occupied our Capital, for this we’re grateful. They’ve dragged the other presidents from their graves and paraded them in glitter and chains. My Dad spent the morning of occupation caving in chests - since then he’s been wearing down the shoes of murdered bridegrooms. He says on your first wingless day the Charivari-Girls carved apologies along your spine - basked in your sundering. My dad busied himself - levelled rows of tombstones to make room for coffin-sized condos. I’ve seen him talking down the barrel of his rifle asking if the moon won’t shine on him till vassalhood is branded on his forehead. No luck but lurk. My dad begs the Charivari-Girls for a title they offer him one useless as a pistol with a broken trigger.

Threats leak out his tar-hued mouth.

The Charivari-Girls promise they’ll tell you where your wings are buried when you hold my father’s dripping heart in your little rotten hands.

Window With Still Life ď † B o b b y


Pink Stripes  P a t r i c i a


Winsteads 

H a n n a h Ro s e n t h a l

from Leafmold  F.

Daniel Rzicznek

A Carnival of Heretical Sects: the commentators there to remind, to entice, to advertise, to engarland, to historicize, to catapult, to sensationalize and then unsensationalize. The Sect of Muggy Agave. The Sect of Light Pouring Silver into Huge Explosive Eyes. Just get out. You’ve had too much. Occasional rite: the actual language dragged into a spotlight and beautiful for it. The Sect of Buying a Stranger’s Childhood One Toy at a Time. The Sect of Memorial Day Spent Drinking at the Track. Shrines lit on the smoldering summer hillside by the Sect of the Demon of Applause. The next day, a battle between the Sect of Hedgerow Darkness and the Sect of Dreaming You’ve Gone Blind. How does it go from here? Sect of National Tractor Pulling Championships Bumper Stickers Plastered on Dog Crates? Sect of the Dog Who Peels it Away, and in the background, Sect of the Lonely Neighbor Singing along to a Sad Country Song through an Open Window. Sect of the Form Rejection. Sect of the This-Came-Very-CloseTry-Us-Again. Sect of Thanks-for-the-Personal-Response, Enclosed-Please-Find-the-Following-Prayer…

from Leafmold  F.

Daniel Rzicznek

Midnight at the crossroads on Friday the thirteenth—tall trees shaking giant orange and yellow leaves in the wind to the ground. At longspur someone has dog-eared the page. Rain in July; a headache before eating well; a clear map of the stars above wet asphalt; the scent of rosemary—its particular accuracy. What I am reminded of: the more you learn of the world, the more obsolete your nostalgia becomes. Wooden skin, wooden hair—the figureheads in Neruda’s house have seen more of the sea than any one mind. Today’s walk: dozens of trampled crabapples, garbage truck hydraulics, the edgy neighbor from two doors over—her hair silver and wet—shoos me away but I reveal myself to be a tiny coyote snared in the roots of a sassafras. The city is on schedule: lights off and on, trains stop and then return slowly to motion. A clear head is a sign only of one storm lagging in the sunny wake of another. Four white cars in a row means nothing good will come in the mail. Objective superlative, objective pejorative, and in between a cuckoo cries.

Things To Call Earth  M a r k Ice-capped Pac-man eating itself. Grief reef. Woe sleigh. Snob oasis. WAR TURD. Devil’s Eyeball. Lawyer Rock. Egg we’re born on the shell of. Lost toy of an infant god. Hotdog manufacturing orb. Setting Kurosawa shot. Place where every living thing is a relative of every other. Tyrant’s paradise. Religion bazaar. Narrative dispenser. Garden of debt. Greenhouse of irony. Gore gazebo. Animal machine. Earthquake factory. Ocean tureen.


Anna Nicole in Perler Bead  P a i g e

Nicole Gordon

And for Perfume, I Use Shellac  M e g

I have so many goals in life. Like performing the world’s unsexiest strip tease. I would start by posing in a corn cob costume. I would peel off my green layers to reveal my yellow padded unitard. I would be dancing to the Helen Kane song Dangerous Nan McGrew. Maybe I should have mentioned that first. Hotcha, Chacha, Vo-doe-de-oh / And Boop-oop Poop-oop-a-doop... Under fluorescent lighting, I would look especially tired. The dark circles under my eyes would accentuate my eye sockets, highlighting the ephemeral nature of life. Someone would throw a teddy bear onstage and hit me in the head with it. You would think they hate me. But it’s all part of the act! From seemingly nowhere, I would acquire a pair of scissors, then cut off the teddy bear head. I would lob the head in the direction it came from, while gracefully tucking the scissors away in the padding of my corn costume. As I pull out handfuls of stuffing from the bear’s body and throw it into the audience, I would continue lip syncing to Helen Kane. And I make a widow of a wife ‘Cause I’m dangerous Nan McGrew.


Just Think About Doing It 

Ky l i e M c C o n n e l l

2018 Contributors Bridget Lowe Lauren Ireland Cesar Lopez Bobby Haulotte Jessica Laser Jane Lewty Jonathan Bennett Paige Edson Isaac Lee Crista Siglin Kyle Souryasack Annie Raab Simone Savannah Brinnon Schaub Natalie Stein Adam Beris Rowen Foster Brandon Frederick Angelo Maneage Seann Weir Patricia Graham Hannah Rosenthal F. Daniel Rzicznek Paige Nicole Gordon Mark Leidner Meg Johnson Kylie McConnell