Monday, November 26, 2012

“Broken” by Victoria Slotover

“Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother”
William Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors

She was my reflection in the morning, she was me at night. In her there was me and in me there was her. Now the mirror is cracked and we’re both gone. We had always been together- neither separated by a second nor divided by a day. From the moment our cluster of cells split in two to become one, she had been me and I had been her.

They say people don’t remember the womb, but we do. Not in any aural or visual sense- we’ve forgotten the darkness, we don’t recall our mother’s beating heart, that came later, but we do remember not being afraid, feeling warm and safe and together, knowing that no-one could hurt us or come between us. Knowing it was just us. So much so in fact that when we came out they say I was gripping her ankle, tearing our mother apart but holding us together. We say that means that neither of us is the older since we came out at the same moment, as one.

From womb to room we stayed together in the same crib. At night they put us down top to toe, though swaddled as we were there were of course no toes in sight, just two pink purpley plums with matching blonde tufts and lips that sucked in our sleep. By morning we were top to top, nestled together like two quotation marks. And when our mother fed us she did so at the same time, each at a different breast but still listening to the same beating heart.

Later our parents worried that we weren’t talking, that all we said was babbly nonsense. Their friends with children our age were ‘streets ahead’ of us they worried to each other. Loudly, in our hearing, thinking possibly that lack of speech was the same as lack of comprehension. They were the ones who didn’t understand though. We were talking, to ourselves in our own way. What other way would we have needed? Who else would we have wanted to communicate with? They might not have understood us but we understood each other. ‘Grunt groogle,’ she said to me. ‘Gush goo,’ I replied taking her by the hand to help her get the doll she’d asked for. And when we did finally speak our first words were of course each other. ‘Me’ I said pointing at her. ‘You’ she said pointing at herself.

We didn’t really needed language at all though, not when we could hear each other’s thoughts in our heads as clearly as our own. ‘I’m scared,’ I felt her say that day. We were on holiday where the sky was as blue as the sea and the water in the pool crackled in the bright sunlight. I was sitting at the edge watching my legs change shape, change colour as I dangled them over the side while eating a packet of wheaty hoops. I kicked and the spray scattered across the surface breaking its mirror.

‘I’m scared,’ she said. ‘Come to me.’ I didn’t ask where to come, where she was. I didn’t need to. She tugged the invisible thread that held us together and pulled me beneath the water towards her. My eyes were shut but also wide open. I could see her sitting on the bottom sucking her thumb waiting for me. When they pulled us out we were clinging to each other, her blue face becoming rosy beneath my touch, born together again.

‘Will they be alright?’ my parents had whispered then and more recently. Huddled by the stairs and outside our bedroom door as they watched us play, they asked the same question constantly that last week. We didn’t know what they meant and so didn’t especially worry about it. Now we understand though and if we had tried to understand then perhaps we could have done something about it. But then again, perhaps we couldn’t have.

Even that morning as our mother matched us in grey- grey socks, grey tunics, grey shirts and even little grey hats- we didn’t really understand what was happening. ‘Important to meet other children,’ she said plaiting our hair. ‘Difficult at first,’ she said buckling our shoes. ‘So exciting, so grown up,’ she said kissing us goodbye before steering us towards two different doors. Two different doors? We still didn’t understand but we started to pay attention.

She howled as much as I did, at least to begin with. I could hear her down the hall and in my own head as well. I felt it both in my chest and in my ears- the sound and sensation of being torn apart. I clawed the door. ‘Sit down dear, come and sing Twinkle Twinkle with us,’ said a little orange haired woman with a cushiony face and dangly earrings . I wanted to both bury my head in her lap and to hurl her across the room. ‘I need me,’ I said. ‘Where’s I?’ The orange haired woman clucked at me and tried to lift me up. I kicked her hard on her shin. It felt good. For me anyway. Just for a moment.

Whenever I’ve skinned my knee or even shut my finger in the door the pain has been hard to bear, nauseating at first, but gradually it has subsided. This pain didn’t wear off though. If anything it got worse- a road drill driving through my chest deeper and deeper to my core. I could feel her pain which intensified my own, a wildfire catching my body’s fibres. ‘Come to me,’ she said again only this time I couldn’t.

I let another woman lift me over to a window seat and rock me, she had cinnamon skin that I itched to lick. The pain still burnt strongly in me though I felt it dampen in her. Her voice in my head grew faint and I felt her cover her ears against mine. ‘Where are you?’ I screamed in my head. ‘Soon, I’ll be back soon,’ she said. I’d never had to ask where she was, she’d never wanted to make me wait. I started shaking, the fire’s heat becoming ice.

The woman holding me cradled my face in her hands. I jerked it away from her towards the window and in that moment, in that motion, I saw and understood.

She was strolling around the playground eating a cookie, hand in hand with someone that looked nothing like us. The someone whispered something to her and she giggled. I could hear the laugh in my head-water rushing over stones, wind chimes on a breezy day, the birds outside our window before it was time to wake up- her laugh, our laugh shared with someone else.

I clutched my stomach, sure I was about to be sick, sure also that when I removed my hand it would be drenched crimson for had I not just been split open, split in two? I looked down and imagined my blood crying out to me from the ground just as I had cried out to her.

My mother came to collect me. ‘Hush, hush little one,’ she said. ‘Mummy’s here now’. She didn’t realise she wasn’t the one I wanted. ‘Don’t worry, the first day is always the hardest, you were very brave, I’m so proud of you.’ I brushed off her kisses when she wasn’t looking but allowed her to take me by the hand. I tried to remember how to breathe, how to walk, how to hold my head up on my neck when all I longed to do was to crawl into the earth. To become nothing. To be nowhere.

There’s a lot I don’t understand but I do know this, the she in me has gone and when I look at her now I no longer see myself.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

“Struggle Is, So We Are” by Rusty Kjarvik

Mother’s nest, inexperienced. Flight, vivid, unlike a visit to origin.

I am an Occupy demonstrator. Stereotypical shaggy hair, wiry beard enough to age me youthfully. Impressionable, fire-born, Sagittarius without regret or remorse. I have a taste for the insane rush of amateur denial. Ferocity grows within me.

“Bleed with the public truth of mass suffering at the hand of the one percent.” Plastic mantras defied. I feed off the morning dew, preparing. The violent march of our militant society exhales its smog of consumptive dread over the undreamed folds of a quotidian, earthly stress.

With sudden instantaneous manifestation, my surroundings turn into a punctilious mold. Congruent geometry. A shapeless mass of grey and beige frosts the walls of my interior perception with gross boredom. Enraged, I tear with mad vivacity for a new paradigm. Social dominance does not stray from my line of sight. It defies internal contemplation, and steers ever clearly into the bedrooms of the one percent. I give them raw, open tenacity: ringed middle finger.

I am reminded of W. Bush. We geared to angry maximums, first trip outside of the U.S. after his term of totalitarian presidency. “Show torrential defamation at his name.” Our raged rained.

Now, there is a slump in public demonstration. The efforts sway to clandestine operation. There is an underground swell of purpose. An optimistic slumber chimes beneath the sidewalk cafes. I am welcomed at a subterranean meeting place. The air is unpredictable. A contingent wades in passersby and onlookers, wondering about the movement’s end. “Is it nearer than feared?” Thought is palpable.

I have purpose. My delivery is made. Desperate, I ask for a place to sleep. I need to rest on softer surfacing. Concrete smoothed by nylon ages. The muffled sound of sheets once quelled my silent might. Now, I am only stirred with the jarring gripes of untrustworthy leaders from this, our autonomous modus operandi. Darwinian survival.

Sleepless, I cower trenchantly. Guarded walls around the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt turn the outdoors inside. The streets are emptied with sacred failure. The notches of murder scale high across the batons of the street police. “Have I come here to die for American hubris?” I wait restlessly. Dealing with bureaucrats in twilight hours is like having blow-up sex.

The Cairo dawn inflames my vital organs. I need to escape devil-coaxed Americana. Savagery. I fight for the freedom to move. For my wife and our sanity. We ask only to be awake, and not depraved of a social camaraderie. I know collective suffering. I’ve shared common pain through public speech. I have been communally lightened through action for one being, ninety nine percent whole. We fight for the dignity to rest our heads on a feather of respect in a factory of anthropomorphic holes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

“Lost Weekends” by K. Lee

Lana likes to play flag football on Saturdays. She likes to run up and down a grassy field with David, Terrance and John. Lana likes John. David likes Lana, and Terrance just likes to play football. They all have their own agenda. They each enjoy running and panting down a well-manicured field on fall Saturdays like the happy cast of Friends.

Lana likes to wear short shorts and tube socks. She says she likes the Chrissy Snow look. She saw her a few times on Nick at Nite. “Nick at Nite has the best old shows and fashion” she exclaims every time we sit on the couch at night flipping through the channels and talking about John. “Mary Tyler more has the best capris; Fran has the best makeup!” Lana loves makeup and pearls and jerseys and John. I like movies.

John knows Lana likes him, but he likes to play the field-- literary. When they play football on Saturdays he has a fan club of girls cheering his name, glossing their lips, talking on their cell phones. He says he loves women who are consistently cliché. Lana wants to be cliché; she wants to be Chrissy Snow cliché, without the annoying laugh. She believes John will ask her out one day.

On Sundays, Lana tells me all about the game she played on Saturday. I learn about the grass stains from John accidentally knocking her to the ground, conveniently landing on top of her. I learn about the after game trek to the coffee shop. How her leg or arm brushed against John’s and he smiled. She tells me about how jealous the sideline girls are when they watch her leave with the boys, sometimes arm and arm. She tells me a lot of things.

Throughout the week we talk about the game. We never really talk about our day or our week. We never talk about movies. Sometimes Lana reminds me of Melanie in the Birds. She’s Melanie in the bird shop trying to fool Mitch, convince him she’s a feisty salesgirl. She only shows tough, independent Melanie when we spend time together. She is Melanie in the boat, Melanie at the church, Melanie battling birds. Most times we just talk about John. When we eat, we talk about John’s beautiful tan, his Adonis abs, and his Heisman winning smile.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. Something as important as man first walking on the moon, as important as that first date kiss, as important as me telling my mother I like girls, and my mom saying, “it’s okay.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Legacy" by Ann Rosen

It’s all mine now, she thinks, gazing out at the expanse of tall grass that undulates Thanksgiving colors in submission to the West Dennis wind. She is now the proud owner of seven acres of overgrown marshland; most of it useless to just about anyone who isn’t seeking a staggering case of Lyme disease. Like most of her life, the scene is deceptively lovely right now. Threadbare sheets and underclothes flutter playfully on the clothesline, flirting with cotton candy clouds that pass above them and she is both amazed and offended by the resilience of her little world. She and Hank gave it nothing to rejoice in, so it draws vitality from the sky.

She looks up, inhaling salt and wind, hoping there is something left for her, and it feels like the first breath in thirty-seven years. Her feet crunch along the crumble of rocks and shells that constitute their, no, her driveway as she walks around to the front of the house, shaking her head at the absurdity of self-inflicted vandalism. Ugly orange “No Trespassing” signs and barbed wire line the blackberries bushes that grow wild along her side of the dirt road to keep beachcombers from “stealing fruit”. Now only the birds can get to them.

She already knows that she’ll sell the land to Chuck Severs. He’ll buy it all just to get the buildable plots adjacent to his family resort. He’ll tear down the house - reduce it to sawdust without a moment’s consideration for the two hands that built it. She’ll get a small place in New Bedford near her sister and buy new underwear, the silky kind with lace trim. She’ll get the fancy ice cream with real vanilla beans.

No more Mrs. Hendrige. She’ll go by Caroline.

Monday, October 15, 2012

“Space, Vodka and Dust” by Christopher Woods

she's washing the greasy dishes after another evening performance, he's on the patio with his telescope, boring guests again, oh, they come because he's famous for going into space, maybe they'll get an autographed picture for the grandkids, but hell, he never even walked on the moon and most have forgotten who he was, she's thinking, and another thing, ever since his return, how he changed from the man he was into some kind of cosmic beast who loves to barbecue for people who come to chow down for free at his astronaut-trough, getting tooted up on vodka, but none can hold a candle to his vodka prowess, and that too is something new since the flight, how he sees the rest of his life earth-bound, and maybe it's sad for ten seconds but hey, what about everyone else, most of all what about her having to stay with him, as no astronaut's wife gets a divorce, not smart, not patriotic, she's been warned, in the last few years as his body loosens and flabs she knows she's trapped, as he enters history's black hole, a zero of a man but that doesn't stop him from coming riproaring drunk, addled on viagra, to bed at the end of another mind-numbing astronomy lesson on the patio, guests nodding off or passing out, and in his mind he has his thrusts going full blast, but it's over too soon and he gets pissed, curses at her, then a slap or two, followed by the big punch, and then the inevitable blackout, and she's looking out the window at stars and wishing she was anywhere but here, and she hopes he'll die soon, and she knows she can't have anything to do with it, not patriotic and all, or if she does, how it has to be a secret, and she's not sure how it will be done, but for christsake it will happen and when it does she'll play the obligatory role of the astronaut's faithful widow, dressed in black, like space, as she has his inebriated ashes launched on a rocket that takes them away from this place, this earth, and she knows she'll select one of those bogus, fly-by-night companies that always crash their rockets in the desert, where she likes to think of snakes slithering through what's left of him or maybe sandstorms scattering him to absolute fucking oblivion.

Monday, October 8, 2012

“For Fed Ex, Overnight” by Brittany K. Fonte

She’d carried the box, stamped “Fragile!” and “Fleeting!” from the front door to the mailbox, arms straining. She’d set it down, softly, and paced around it. Her watch spoiled her thoughts with screeching: 6:23 am. Dawn.

She was born breech, she was told. The doctor had reached into an abyss, and blood, and piss and turned her: right. Nothing had been right since then. Today, there was no monitor to read her, no one to offer breath or food or even a warm washcloth to wipe the grime off with. This grime had been building. She slept, each night, under the kindness of buildings once occupied, tried, now abandoned for younger buildings with more tenants and bigger closets.

So she’d decided to send it off, to save it from what it could be in a world where that was important and tangible. She’d lulled it into complacency: some singing, hugging, and, when that didn’t work, slugging. From Louisville. From fear that made her ill. From mercy.

It cried out, once. But it knew its birth had foretold all this. It had been traded, bought and paid for, lost and stolen and levied in Thailand for less than what that man got paid in an hour behind a desk. In an air-conditioned room.

She’d filled out the Customs’ form. Under “Contents” she’d written: “Childhood.” Under “Quantity,” “1.” Under “Worth/ U.S. $,” “More.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

“My Father’s Ghost” by Lee Wright

My father’s ghost sits next to me on the porch of the old hunting cabin as the last day of summer seeps into the dry ground. The muggy air is thick with mosquitoes and the sickly-sweet stench of vegetable rot unique to Appalachia in summer.

Inside the cabin, it’s always the past, always a great time to be a man. Out here however, I am forty years old, overweight, and balding. My wedding ring lies beneath a pack of cigarettes in the breast pocket of my sweat-soaked work shirt. I’m sure I can feel the metal pressing against my chest with each beat of my heart, but that’s probably just another of my bittersweet poetic delusions. Or maybe I’m just drunk.

I fish the last bottle of beer out of the cardboard six-pack beside my chair and open it using the rusty opener nailed to porch rail.

The yard is overgrown—waist high and brambly in places—and stinks of wild onion. Even the wide gravel driveway is almost lost to the forest. And then there’s the kudzu. It eats everything. It swarms over the rusted shell of the old F-100, climbs the rails of the porch, shrouds the roof of the cabin, and creeps in the windows. The weed is relentless, tenacious, inexorable, and, in its own perverse way, beautiful.

My father lights another cigarette. He’s maybe forty-five, heavy around the middle, and not quite a decade from the heart attack that will put him in his grave, but the hands are the same as they were the first time they held me: hard, rough, and strong, the jagged nails yellowed by nicotine.

“A man’s got to have his own place,” he says quietly, almost as if talking to himself.

I stand and my back cracks just the way my father’s used to. I toss my cigarette into the brown weeds at the end of the porch. I can smell rain in the air and, somewhere beyond the valley, thunder rumbles.

“Does it hurt?” I ask my father’s ghost.

He looks at me for a long time, his face all but lost in shadow. Finally, he nods almost imperceptibly. “We don’t talk about things like that—especially in a place like this.”

I smile. My dad, possibly fearing his own restless potential, usually talked only sports and Louis L’Amour novels. They were safe subjects and he knew them well.

In the darkness, I can’t see the smoke at the end of the porch where the cigarette smolders in the dead grass, but I can smell it.

Holding onto the leaning, splintery rail, I ease my way to the overgrown gravel driveway. You’d need a 4x4 to drive all the way up to the cabin now so my little convertible—probably the only thing I’ll get in the divorce—is parked up by the highway. It’s a long walk in the dark, but, already, there is light behind me, flickering, dancing, lighting my way.

Monday, September 24, 2012



“Isn’t It That I’ve Just Been Human?” by Tammy Peacy

I’ve made a big deal out of little and useless. Paid too much attention to none of my business.

These two girls behind me talked loud. The way young people did because whatever they had to say was very important or because they didn’t know yet that sometimes people were paying attention, even when it seemed they weren’t. These girls hadn’t figured out much just yet. Too busy sharing their experiences with one another.

“It was thick, thick,” one girl said, with an accent, something Latin, maybe Puerto Rican.

“Oh, ew. I don’t like that,” the other said.

I didn’t have to strain to hear them, even with all the noise the train made, but I would have, if I’d had to.

“No? I do. And it was, like, black, real, real black. And, like, shiny,” the supposed Puerto Rican continued.

I waited for her to go on. Fought the urge to turn in my seat and say, “And then?” but they’d finished. The conversation ended there. They were off at the next stop.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Arthrogram" by Elizabeth Wade

You were not there when the doctor drew an x on my body, when he tried to insert a needle into that x, when he tried to flood my joint, tried to create contrast. And you were not there when he failed, when he failed and failed and failed again, not there when he finally quit probing and delegated me to a colleague. I do not know when we quit probing. I know that you were never good with equations. I know that I was sloppy whenever I solved for x. I remember forgetting to think about inversion, about how once they are squared, the positive and negative look just the same. I was never good at starting with mystery, at quantifying things, at defining possibilities. I was never good with more than one variable, never saw how x fit with y, never grasped their dependency. The year I took my only college math course, I spent a lot of time looking for y. That was the year we agreed to meet in the middle, picked a spot on the map, and drove all night. That was the night we got lost, the night we circled each other for hours, the night when I found you by the color of your shirt, not knowing that was the wrong variable, not knowing that night in that town belonging to neither of us that we would never solve for x. Years later, I lay in the hospital without you as the needle kept trying to find its way inside me. I did not know it until I got home, but there at the injection site, beneath a piece of my skin I do not think you ever touched, bled a single sphere of ink, the center of the x that doctor kept chasing. A man who’s not you told me I think that’s how they do it in prison, meaning the way the convicted take their allegiances into their bodies, the way they decorate themselves, how they bear the ones they lack, how they signal those outside.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Outside To Defrost" by James Lawless

On a sweltering Italian summer morning while I was inside my apartment sweating through my yoga I listened to the people ordering their dogs around in the adjacent park. They were just voices and shadows behind the hedge not far from my open window.

A heavy masculine voice: "Bring it here! Hurry up you lazy coward".

A high pitched feminine voice: "Be good. Do your duty. Did you finish?".

I imagined the masculine voice didn't pick up the shit his dog left behind, but the woman had a plastic glove already slipped on her hand. And I thought these dog owners will soon head off to work, but at this very moment it was they who were in command, a command that will be passed over to someone else the moment they put Fido away and prepare to punch-in.

And then I thought about the flat tire on my wife Libera's bike. I told her I was going to fix it, but she insisted I didn't. "Don't bother with it," she said. "It's an old tube. It might just leak again. It's better I buy a new one at the bike store and for a few extra Euro they'll put it on for me."

"You mean you can't stand watching me get angry as I do tedious physical work, often swearing at the tire as I fix it."

"Yes, that's a big part of it."

"This time I won't get angry at my work."

"Each time you fix flat bike tires you say that, but you always get angry and swear. You always do."

She's right. This makes me think how much women are better than men. They rarely swear; they usually have patience for whatever they do. And they're better than men at most things, especially things that need care, tact and brains.

Then there's this Italian library where I'm currently writing. It's as hot as a firecracker outside, but inside it's freezing. I brought a long sleeved shirt with me and I'm wearing it now, but I'm still cold. I feel like a pickle in a pickle jar stuck in the back of a refrigerator that is over-cooling and freezing what's inside. So I blow on my hands, send this off, and go outside to defrost.

We're back!

So September is upon us already. Feel free to submit your best short fiction now. Make the transition to fall a little smoother for us by giving us something cool to read.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Hiatus

Like everyone, we here at (S)FC long for the warm summer nights, free from responsibility. Therefore, we'll be taking a break until the end of August. Submissions will be back open beginning on September 1st. So get your stories polished and send them after the heart of summer has begun to fade.

"Duck Sauce – Big Bad Wolf (4:53)" by Brian Oliu

The wolf does not announce its presence—it does not answer the spitting of ashes into the air with its name; it does not stretch vowels out like fingernails, like smoke trails curling in on themselves, like the smell of fire on our clothes long after we have gone to bed, long after we fold the blankets under our feet to keep them warm: our eyes in the dark watching the slide latch on the door. This wolf founded this city: licked at its toes, stuck its wet nose into the red clay and kindling, found us there: cold and waiting for the next war to send black soot up our noses. When the wolf died, it became a ghost—it walked through us like an open jaw, tooth glinting. In the story, the wolf swallows the girl whole and gets a knife to the belly for his ambition: a long cut straight up from the navel and to the bottom of his gullet—the girl pulled from the stomach bloody and swimming in everything the wolf has eaten: a small smashed berry, muscles left behind on bare bone. I saw the girl, dripping red, eyes closed, and she reminded me of you—scratches on her arms, a small mouth too delicate to open. I am waiting for the girl that is not you to announce her presence, to wonder what has happened: what became of the wolf she lived inside, that someone must be worried, yes, someone must be worried sick. The wolf, I would tell her, loved you. The wolf who loved you is inside out, eyes to the stars. Your mother, the one with the pearls, threw herself into the woods. This is what I would tell her if she asked. I would tell her about the girl she reminded me of: bread cut into triangles, every song memorized, neck stiff from looking downward. The girl that found a city where there was no city, who kicked glass until it stuck in her soles, who threw her shoes into the tree. The girl who knew what to say to the wolf. The girl who crawled into bed with him while I watched from the trees. The girl who stood in front of the mirror and asked for something to come back to her, to come back whole, never eaten, never clawed to vinegar. I would never tell her that no one gets swallowed whole: that they are bitten and chewed like teeth through skin, like mouths over bark. I would tell her that I found you, you are safe now, I found you. Here is the house where we both will live. Here is where we will make our beds.

"God #143" by Sean Lovelace

Cold day indeed. The clouds all socle, the winds all skirl or some other language plastique and so I mean to say Tuesday and someone kissing a concrete floor at Guantanamo Bay while I sip a latte and drive a hybrid car (Did you know they had to add engine noise to hybrids?—They were silently running people over!) and park the car and punch in for the day and walk over to this large oak tree and climb up, up to my platform (a dictionary nailed to a sturdy branch) and I sit and sit and sit…Yes there goes a 3-legged coyote with a crumpled sonnet in its jaws and yes the sky coughs a bit and smells like laughing leaves, remote control acorns, something anchored in history, OK, move on, supple, undulations, video feed, winter light, etc. And wouldn’t you know it! Wouldn’t you know God appears under the tree, but just off my right shoulder and me right handed—think about it: off right shoulder/me right handed—and there’s no damn way I can get the gun about to that awkward angle, no way I can even aim at God, much less shoot Him in the vital area (imagine a basketball: heart, liver, lungs) without Him noticing, so I sit there quietly—shhhhh—and hope He’ll work his way around the tree, into my shooting lanes (I cut these lanes back in spring, pruning the limbs, stomping down the shrubbery) but it doesn’t happen; nothing happens. Nothing, not even lexical richness or a good voice, like with NPR this morning, the NPR ditty, then some talk of Haitians who today—right now, this very Tuesday—are dying of cholera, whose lives are beyond replevin, very much funky-junked and thorned, yet still I support NPR and Burger King and thank them both for Science Friday and the fast food vegetarian burger (hold the mayo, extra tomato), because I care…right? Why else would I perch so high in this tree? In fact shivering now, and the wind sniffs and snuffles as God subtracts into the morning mist (there’s a reason Appalachian people call Him the Grey Ghost) and I curse His name and climb down the tree and punch out and drive my hybrid home, very pleased with the gas mileage, no doubt, and obviously happy with the prose poem’s unhegemonic sway, but very upset with using an entire packet of hand warmers for nothing, and also it’s Tuesday, God’s favorite day, Tuesday, can’t you see the entire world—a young girl huddled beneath a destroyed Russian-era tank in the Panjshir Valley; a well-dressed drunk fellow passed out on the eighth green of Old St. Andrews; a fourteen year old Border Collie in Oklahoma City with bones stiff as boards–waking up and looking up at whatever they must look upward to, and all of them mouthing quietly: Tuesday.