The Worst Thing Ever Done to Me

By Rodney Jones

I was four,
playing on the front porch.

Early spring.
The mimosa was in bloom.
Eisenhower was in the White House.

Usually when I played, I became a car,
the noises of the engine,
the clutch, and the tires
scorching around corners.

Or my body was a car—my mind drove.

Twilight, a little before supper.
My father, just home from work,
was talking with a neighbor—
a bachelor cousin,
a farmer and minister.

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By Nancy Miller Gomez

Featured art by Scott Webb

It was a hot day in Paola, Kansas.
             The rides were banging around empty

as we moved through the carnival music and catcalls.
             At the Tilt-A-Whirl we were the only ones.

My big sister chose our carriage carefully,
             walking a full circle until she stopped.

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Happy Lamp

By Catherine Carter

Featured Art: Under the Lamp, c. 1882 by Mary Cassatt

It’s made to make you glad
on dull cold days, keep you
from crying over car insurance,
made to stop the visions
of flogging your flesh with barbed
wire, gouges gone rust-brown,
swelling with tetanus.
Full spectrum, mock sun;
maybe it helps.

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On Being Asked to Contribute to the Villains Feature

by: Richard Cecil

I searched ten years of word files
looking for titles with names of politicians who
enrich the rich while trampling down the poor
and corporate criminal CEOs who screw
employees out of wages, rape the Earth,
and hide their stolen billions far offshore,
and drew a blank. I also found a dearth
of killer clowns and warlords steeped in gore,
religious rabble rousers, nasty nuns,
child-abusing Catholic priests—zero.
No bought congressmen who vote pro-gun;
no homicidal patriotic heroes.
What’s blinded me to monsters all those years?
The Frankenstein inside. It’s him I fear.

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My Mother’s Neck

By Sarah Jones

Trailer parks as a winding tire swing,
              as Zigzags and a one-dollar wine cooler.
                             Trailer parks as an ice cube in sweet tea.

Trailer parks as a drunk dad on a dirt bike,
              and that chunk of flesh gone from his head.
                             Trailer parks as a shatter, as a fist, as a scream.

Black–Camaro trailer parks.
              Black Sabbath, black leash.
                             Ticks-on-the-dog trailer parks.

Fingers-in-a-pussy trailer parks.
              Good-Lord-Grant-us-Grace trailer parks.
                             Trailer parks as Dad who called me shithead.

Naked-Barbie trailer parks,
              Moon-Pies and Welch’s Grape Soda.
                             I’m sorry, I’m sorry trailer parks. Read More