by Nat Myers



The street was storm-sacked.

I recalled watching death

of the cajun sell-out across the street

in the gas line fire.


I recall I woke to the wind talking to my wall

nothing to feel empowered.

I woke wondering how I was going to keep sane

it’s been three days now.


I thought of my mother, before her grieving.

I told him let me live there would be no charges.

I thought he said he’d had too many dropped.


I went to the corner store.

The neighbors spoke coded 

like they didn’t recognize me,

avoiding some unsavory topic,

avoiding this flood, this substance.


They were looking unwashed.

The water was stale and drying

but those looks would stay

waterlogged many months yet.



I learned all I could here

but then the sheet metal started flying.

The Korean dirtbag was with fake atticus

smoking bones on the levee.

They’re trying to touch the storm surge.

The waves pushed them lateral

like the blades of a bulldozer.

No  one had seen them.


I remember the light kicked out

the walls making like

they were trying to slam down,

the mantle wanted to

slow boogie with your portraits


We lived on the highground

above the bowl.

I punched a man for

talking to me about god and luck


Waiting for more in the static 

on the offbrand scanners.

Gumbo was putting what they had left in the family van.

She said they were headed for Houston.


Someone had a radio going

but no batteries.

The cops set up at the school

but no one wanted to go 

unless somebody started shooting.


Nat Myers is a half breed poet. He believes in death, love, and bbq. He is forthcoming on Frontier Poetry. He lives in Kentucky.

by Vyxz Vasquez

Eternal recurrence as amnesia or Clive Wearing, iced tea fan, reads Wiki entry for meaning of life

A dog is running after its own tail.


One minute a man sees 

the next. He is awake again.

He is always waking.


It’s like this:

a glass full,

then empty.

No evidence of drinking.


In sleep there might be peace;

a longer narrative, sea air.


Holding a piece of chocolate,

turning it over and over,

each time new.


Is there life on Mars yet?

People are getting more cancers.


For thirty seconds, a story

from a TV show: the world 

has stopped. He is still 

moving. The eyes become

vessels for no one, an eclipse 

of the spirit. Unblinking,  

he waits to pause.


Semantic (write it down):

Thomas Edison. Eudemonia. 

Seven Wonders of the World.

The Pi to the 13th Decimal.



The first time he meets his wife.
It was raining like today.

He has forgotten the taste of rain.



What the body desires

1. to waste

2. to take in


Briefly, lucid, metaphorical:

a pebble stuck in the middle

of an hourglass. An empty set.



Pin-pricked, the immediate

withdrawal of the hand.



He will refuse to be






The dog always rushing

to greet his master

even when gone

for mere minutes.


Nothing better than 

[This moment]

Better than nothing


She brings him his piano sheets

and he could see with ears

the budding of a flower in full

bloom before it fades, unfolding

all at the same time


he and his wife are on their first trip

together: playing footsie in the sand,

the wind making her hair wild with dance,

the ruby pale swimsuit over a skyless

sun. Being, not suspended, breathing


the earliest beyond language:

how can I remember what I had

no words for? They are not enough

to describe her scent. In music,

a rest. In joking, cease the day. 


In seriousness,

the only present is lonely 



His mother has passed a decade ago. 

A pebble is inside a shoe. To forget

you once mourned, the hour must be

re-turned again and again.


For all one knows, 

in those spaces, 

is a God.



Vyxz Vasquez teaches literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Two-year-old Sago is her joy.

by Michelle Lyn King

Friday Night with My Mother

It is eight o’clock and my mother’s boyfriend is forty-two minutes late. It’s okay, my mother tells me. He is so present when he’s with me. Your father was never present. I don’t know what to say to that. I suggest we watch an episode of House Hunters to pass the time. 


You can tell they really love each other, my mother says about two strangers looking to buy a townhouse in Kansas City. She turns to the small white dog perched on her lap. Can’t you? my mother asks the dog. Can’t you tell? The dog licks his lips in a way I can only assume means Hey, let’s fuck in whatever language the dog speaks. 


My mother says her dog is her one true soul-mate. My mother’s dog has a cloudy eye and poops out brown-red lava onto the living room carpet every morning. None of this bothers my mother. My mother knows all about unconditional love.


By nine o’clock my mother is talking about how unreliable men are. At nine-fifteen she changes out of her blouse and into her extra-large Eric Clapton National Tour shirt. 


My mother’s had a long pilgrimage of men. First there was my father. Then, briefly, my step-father, a man I never did trust. Then came a revolving door of boyfriends. Patrick, the masseuse. Ben, the personal injury lawyer. Stephen, the Uber driver. This new one is a professional ice carver. Anything you want, he can create out of ice, my mother tells me. Anything in the world. 


My mother is the kind of woman who believes that anyone not part of a couple is an incomplete person. My mother believes that I am an incomplete person. You won’t be young forever. So says my mother. You need love. When was the last time you had some love in your life? 


What counts as some love in my life? My father turned sixty-five last month and I took him out to a lobster dinner in Miami to celebrate. We split a bottle of champagne and a too-rich chocolate lava cake and the waitress thought we were on a date. You two make a cute couple, she told us. Does that count? 


What counts?


The man who used to be my husband returned to my life seven months ago, right around the time I moved in with my mother. He and I got married the summer after high-school. We divorced before either of us could legally drink. For nine years this man and I did not exchange one single world. I thought we would never speak again, but then one night he fell out of the sky. Is this still your number? he asked. I wondered if it had been him all along. My other half. 

In that first phone conversation my ex-husband told me that he was on the step where you’re supposed to ask everyone for forgiveness. 


Okay then, I said. Consider yourself forgiven. 


But he either did not believe me or he was lying to me and wanted something more than my forgiveness because he began to call me every other night. I never called him. I only answered my phone when it rang. I want to make that clear. Each of our conversations lasted no less than three hours. We did not speak about politics. We did not summarize the nine years we had spent apart. We focused only on ourselves. We treated our past relationship as if it were an event in history worthy of being analyzed. 


After three months of speaking, I purchased a plane ticket to see my ex-husband over Labor Day weekend. When I called to surprise him with the news of my my upcoming trip his voice turned tight and flat and cruel. I think there has been some mistake here, he said. I never meant for what we’re doing to become real. I have a girlfriend. I have a serious girlfriend. 


What counts? 


My mothers asks if I’ve tried Facebook. She tells me that Facebook is a great way to connect with men. She says an ex-boyfriend from college used Facebook to get in touch with her after thirty-some years. He said he never forgot her face. That her face was too beautiful to forget. 


He wound up being married, my mother tells me. But still. 


I ask my mother if she told the married man to stop messaging her and she tells me, No, no. Attention is nice and he’s all the way up in Georgia. No harm in a little fantasy when he’s all the way up there. And besides, my mother says, that face he thought was so beautiful is not even my face anymore. We would just disappoint each other. 


My mother understands what should become real and what is better off left as fantasy. My mother passed her eye color down to me. Her weak ankles. High blood pressure. Why couldn’t she have passed her sense of reality down to me, too? 


At ten o’clock my mother places a pint of ice cream on the counter. At ten-twenty my mother asks me why a pint of ice cream, as if I have decided to keep the pint of ice cream frozen. My mother starts every night out hopeful. At eight p.m. she believes in love, but by the time eleven rolls around, she has her doubts. 


You’re smart to avoid all this stuff, my mother tells me. It hurts to be alone. I’m not getting any better at it. My mother picks up her dog and kisses him on the mouth. My smush, my mother says. My little baby smush


The ice carver calls early the next morning. He’s so full of apologies. An emergency with one of his kids. A split chin from roughhousing. There was so much blood. They were in the emergency room all night. The ice carver hopes for another chance and my mother does not hesitate. She just gives one to him. 



Michelle Lyn King is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Her essays and stories have appeared in Brooklyn Magazine, CatapultHobart, Joyland, and The Rumpus, amongst other places.