tophotmovie

Birthmark

BY PRABHAKAR VASAN

It is, again, unsafe.
At least, it is unclear.

animals, their dark forms when they crouch at the margins of the freeway

The city is charred, as
from a blast. Or the eyes are.
The mind is crumbling into
its own foundations. Or
the homes are. Waiting, even,
is a taut state, the drone
of current through a wire.

silent, tense, they search for a space in which to cross

And negotiations unravel.
Language, a dried gauze, fails
to keep this clean.
Exposes to the air the burnt
stump still raw. Flesh painful
just to look at. The burn wound.
Which refuses to scab over.
Endures like a birthmark.

how we must blur and roar past them

Any impulse must originate …

Prabhakar Vasan

Prabhakar Vasan lives in New York City. His work has been published in the journals 6 X 6 and Tarpaulin Sky. He is at work on a manuscript of poems tentatively titled How the World Works.

Yes No Yes

BY DIANE SCHENKER

Now is the winter of our inevitable results, unavoidably determined by prior conditions.

Essential? Absolutely. Logically. Required.

Convention, on the other hand, dictates plenty of things that are none of its business. Poke convention in the eye with a sharp stick.

Effects are not always what they seem. Beware faulty reverse engineering. It only seems logical.

S seh seh seh incessant abscess accede exceed concede proceed recede secede ancestor. S.

So what, that’s my motto. So fucking what.

Absolutely essential, needed,

Required—what small, scratchy volume contains the overlap of necessity and love? Will you tell me?

Yes I said yes I will Yes.

Annabel Smith

Annabel Smith was born and raised in England and educated at the London School of Economics, twice, and Oxford. She has taught high school history, politics, human rights and global studies for nearly twenty years in the UK, the US, Kenya, South Africa and, briefly, India. She travels as often as possible, surprisingly frequently with her students. She began writing in 2003, and has attended both the Kenyon College summer writing programme and Summer Literary Seminars Kenya.

Consider

BY DIANE SCHENKER

Consider housekeeping, consider the rain. Consider
the fly dancing on the window. It herky-jerks its
relentless heartbreak of trying to get out.

A fall warbler appears on the seedy maple stuffing
itself for its long flight, feathers weathery dull in

post-connubial anonymity, hard to identify.
Consider the dirty window. You lift it to see more
clearly. The fly stumbles up with it, then out.

The warbler is gone but you can see the rain, its
needled finery gently wetting the patient, nodding
trees. They gossip in whispers among themselves.

Consider the lifetimes spinning out before you, each
small choice weights in one direction or another:

1) You stare out the window with notebook and
pen, channeling the array of tiny …

Diane Schenker

Diane Schenker got her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by two years of study in Paris. She has lived and worked in New York City since 1993. She writes and reviews poetry (and has learned how to print it, thanks to the Center for Book Arts in NYC). She has poems in The Gettysburg Review, forthcoming in Gargoyle #55 and a chapbook, Relation/Couch/Dreaming, published by Finishing Line Press.

Mira Ptacin

Mira Ptacin currently resides in NYC, where she curates and hosts “Freerange,”  a monthly nonfiction reading series. She recently got married and completed her first book, “Poor Your Soul,” which is a memoir about the uterus and the American Dream. She loves all dogs and most people.

Death Becomes Us

Requiem for Jimmy
The Community Choir of the Community
birds on a wireBY TIM KREIDER

The news spread quickly that he was gone. And while nobody could deny that a vast emptiness now laid claim to some part of the world, some later would suggest that he had been disappearing for a long time.

Now this needs to be qualified. Nobody really noticed this gradual and subtle disappearance until after he had died. Only then did a contingent led by Hank Mortibund, Old Man Mortibund’s youngest, put forth the claim that he had been gradually disappearing over …

Tim Kreider

Tim Kreider’s work has appeared in Lynx Eye. He currently lives and writes in Philadelphia.

Composure

BY LUISA A. IGLORIA

Everything returns to a source:
gladness to the tree, fruit
to the cradle, flesh from the bone.

Water lashes the roofs in the town,
but also the pink and yellow roses
that appear as if out of nowhere

in a corner of the garden,
where once there was only
a hard rectangle of dirt. But

ask yourself how you truly feel,
what the bones in your ribcage
might be singing

in the silence of night
to each other, as they hold
the stricken heart in place.

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