Mutated World Sequence

My husband watches Ozark on Netflix.
I walk away to my laptop, tell him,
I don’t like any of the characters
and I don’t like the plot.

He can see how that could be true,
but he watches anyway.
The show’s been nominated.

Conventional COVID-19 wisdom says
the smart thing to do is stay home and avoid people.

We wait for a cure as hours of scripted
dramas flicker before our eyes.

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London Fog

Searching your trench coat,

I looked for truths, found instead
a 1969 penny and a Green Room matchbook—

I resisted the flame.

Pockets, lined with mothed holes
and a stained handkerchief,

not my mother’s shade of red.

What can we ever know, Dad?
This urge to rummage our dead.

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At my parents’ house on the one-month anniversary of my sister’s death, which is also the three-year anniversary of September 11th

it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change.
On the warm ground snow falls all day,
fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but
with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of
What for, why, how can this be.
There’s a hum. I can’t hear right.
This silence is deafening.
I hate snow.

A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home.
The door’s knob wore down and fell off.
The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind.
A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby.
They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a
synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter.

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I love my dog more than my dad

I love my dog more than my dad
By a distance, not a tad
There I’ve said it, the cardinal sin
Preference for a canine to my next of kin
His big floppy ears, doughy eyes, cold wet nose
Means more to me than my father’s bones
That lay in a grave, I hope at peace
My accidental parent, who came from the East
And whilst my dog showers me with kisses
I remember the drink, the rows, the Christmases
He was never there, never told us he cared
But still I loved this boy soldier, unrecovered man
Though not as much as I love my dog
Sorry dad, I hope you understand

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Patricide At the Dog Howl Cartoon

Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78

and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.

There is mother
in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.

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how i cried anyway

my father and i do not look alike
at first glance, but

we have the same scar on our chins
from falling off our bikes and

leaving a bit of ourselves behind,
red bifurcating again and again in the cement,

so strange to imagine how our skin
closed hastily, unevenly

(easing pain is not the same
as making smooth again). 

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Beyond Reach

Like the arc of an asteroid’s predicted landing
none of us are sure what’s yet to come as we ignore
skin’s craving. We stay in this strange apart space where
we cannot shake hands hug dance kiss cannot simply slide
next to one another on couch park bench diner booth as we’ve
always sat, loops for the same belt.

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Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers 1. on your right the dark thing father’s letter to a tramp college strippers’ dinner you’re not invited crackers from the machine get off stage people expect even from an amateur one good thing necklace from classmates a climber fifth avenue jab and punch rarely real corn-flaked motel dirt-blackened tub hard blinding a […]

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Fatal Gratitude

Philip Newton is a writer and musician living in Oregon. His novel, Terrane, was published in September by Unsolicited Press, and his poetry has appeared in magazines from Portland, Oregon to Bangalore, India. Fatal Gratitude To our great delight we have determined That it is your job to be emptied out And deposited right there Where […]

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Layla

Mark Jackley‘s most recent book of poems is On the Edge of a Very Small Town. His work has appeared in Sugar House Review, Fifth Wednesday, Talking River, Timberline Review, and other journals. He lives in Purcellville, VA. Layla Eric Clapton heard Jim Gordon beautifully messing around on the piano and found the coda he […]

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