Jeffrey Winke
With A Clean, Dry Hand

The fluorescent lighting burns especially bright on
the white office walls. Some top dog’s wife selected
gold-metal framed abstract poster prints that hang
self-importantly. An executive wearing a discount
warehouse $299 dark suit enters the waiting room. He
thinks the suit looks like it cost five times more.
He’s the only one believing that. With a clean, dry
hand he presents a plain, manila folder to a lone man
sitting on the edge of an uncomfortable side chair.
The dark-suit says: “You will want to review the
enclosed document carefully. Consult with your
attorney if you like.” The seated man carefully takes
the manila folder, and then, leans forward to vomit on
the worn, plush nylon-blend beige carpeting. The
executive curls his lip into a self-satisfactory
grimace and says: “I’m sorry things turned out this
way, but I know this is for the best.”

           clean window
           a fat robin’s thunk
           leaves a smear



Stanley H. Barkan

Some leaves
still cling
to the brown branches
turning black
—purple, red, yellow—
until the last color
like infrequent rain
on thirsty Savannahs.
Birds are busy
pecking at the seeds
scattered throughout
the mulch, twig and fern.
Mushrooms, toadstools
rise up by the roots
of the once shaded forest.
It’s certain now:
Summer’s gone;
Fall has fallen.
Autumn’s last memory
flees with the wink
of an eye.
The sky is full
of inevitable white.



Katelyn Robertson
The Ride

As I sit rested up against the railing of the stairs I can hear the click-clack of a skateboard running its wheels across the fragmented pavement. Glancing up I become aware of the fluent movement between the rider and the board, both needing each other to move in this way. He rides by oblivious to me; almost robotically he swings his left leg over and over to continue his forward motion. Suddenly a girl steps out from around a corner and with simple instinct the skater shifts his weight on the board, moving around the girl and pushing ahead unphased by the interference with his journey. After he is out of sight I lift myself up from where I am sitting only to step in front of another rider and his board, following the same continuous flow as the one I had so intently just watched, again unphased by my presence he glides away from me only paying notice to his board and their journey.



David E. Oprava

She’s looking in the windows at the fluffy bunnies counting babies based on ovarian samples taken in the morning piss-stick palaver and I wonder, had I married a woman less inclined to create, perhaps a butcher or exterminator, would we be on this sunny afternoon safari into the stuffed mammalian mind? Alas, no, we’d be in the pub swamping sobriety in pint five between plates of fries smeared twixt jovial let’s go-to-Tibet-or-Svalbard banter, hypothesizing about saving Buddhists or polar bears who don’t need saving and savouring systemic parasites or frost bitten bits that would be a nuisance, but a conversation clincher at cocktail parties that parents never seem to attend. Parents like us, so consumed, so trivial, so not bemused

come, feel here, it’s a
foot, no elbow, feel? To me
it’s still a monster.

The rumble-thud of golemic thoughts waiting in the echoes of hospital halls, it’s coming slouching towards abomination, my thoughts spin through the multiplicities of what could go wrong, then he’s shot earthbound and everything is sublime, what wash of soul that is to be standing amidst the blood and screams holding the single most poignant being, numb and dumb as to what it all means. I wait for the exorcism of the malediction, father’s fear still near.

the road is every
chance, any car could be death,
I’d just miss the kid.

This spot that grows around me never rubs out, just spreads and makes matters the more complicated to understand, why one does it in the first place, knowing the impetus for the decision lay more in genetic need to procreate than any rational thought, just my fate to be a mother-fucker-baby-maker. Stop me before I shoot again.



Robert Warrington
Death to Zombies

He reckons if zombies were real
at least there’d be something to look forward to
He could run them over in his car
or park somewhere and wait for them to appear
with a car full of guns and grenades
He could turn his car
in to a zombie killing machine
with a reinforced roof and a machine gun turret
He could live in his car and travel the country
and have bumper stickers that say
Zombie Slayer
King of the Zombie Killers
Death to Zombies

If zombies were real
he could live a life
of death-dealing adventure
and guilt-free mayhem
But since zombies aren’t real
he’ll be spending his life
clocking on and clocking off
instead of killing
the murderous undead

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