Kid at the Library

O how I love the sun as
my own

how it makes me feel like jumping
Into it.

O how the many colors make
me feel like just watching it all
day long

until tomorrow I love thy
the sunset

Anonymous Library Kid is a young girl who went to the Enoch Pratt Library during Baltimore’s City Lit Festival and wrote a poem on the back of a flyer and submitted it at the Publishing Genius Press table.


A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz

Though little was yet known of The Curtainmaker, scholars generally agreed (with one notable exception) that he had been fond of jug wine and essays on pornography. Accordingly, the young Paul Ell devoted the entirety of his habilitation to The Curtainmaker’s extensive collection of treatises on erotic drawings, specifically those on pre-medieval charcoal sketches of slant-legged women. This collection, admitted Ell, betrayed an inclination toward women of a particular tilt, casting further doubt upon The Curtainmaker’s own slant-leggedness and, unfortunately, lending credibility to the romantic notion—then popular with the media—that The Curtainmaker had angled each deviant drape in memory of some skewed woman. Ell speculated that The Curtainmaker’s mother may have been a bit lopsided, alluding to strange tendencies in her sewing, but kept this speculation within respectable scholarly limits.

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz is an instructor and student at SUNY Buffalo. His work has recently appeared in Diagram, Word for/Word, and the Zaoem Festival of Contemporary Poetry.


Deanna Erickson

Walking to the Library on a Snowy Day
all bad poetry was unfailingly sincere
-Harold Bloom

Colors, traps of the spectrum, each a world,
can do no better.

But I can follow infinite futures eternally.

A multitude, like cat's claws,
stretch out before me.

Today I'm searching
for potato boots
in the Northampton library.

I cannot retrace these steps.
I cannot uncome here,
but I can stay or go.
I can fold up this notebook and,
according to library policy,
check out this show by Johnny Carson.

I can clear the yellow wood,
so to speak,
in a bonfire of futures.
It will make no difference,
trapping red and yellow hyacinth explosions.

One ocean was one ocean in a blue ocean, and I – I took it.
I am utterly lost and silly, staring in the face of my own potential,
trying to hold it like a Polaroid picture.

I am walking home nowwith Johnny Carson shows,
writing with the ink of memory.
Nobody knows which future I should check out.

There is no scripturebut to keep on walking,
step by step,
with the faith of generations.

Deanna Erickson lives in Fort Worth, TX. She fronts the five-girl acoustical jam band, Erickson Detroit.


Carrie Murphy

Houseguest, Litany
The taste of a housekey in my mouth, metallic and heavy. How toilet paper at other people’s houses is somehow always wrong. A golden newel-post. The way a condom wrapper holds its nubby rounded shape long after our legs have untangled. Hours later, the house still smells like curry and I’m groping for the lamp pull. That huge glistening blackhead nestled in an ear. The way your knee looks against the upholstery of my car. Time spent bowlegged and crushed against the wall equals time better spent opening drawers, examining knick-knacks. How breath can’t drown out the sound of shutters snapping in the wind. How the leaves want to watch. Unmistakably, the drip of the faucet speaking alternating names.

Carrie Murphy is from Baltimore, MD. She is currently a student in the MFA program at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.


Stephanie Barber

Letters to Animals (#3)

Dear Cat I Want to Adopt,

I know I seem to have a bad pet record. George was, like you must be right now, sitting on a carpet tree in an animal holding pen. He was with two other cats—a Siamese and a dim looking tabby. He looked up as I came in and then stretched and walked over to visit. The teenage volunteer seemed impressed—George had not previously been so outgoing. I suppose I was charmed by the thought of magic or my own special powers but I think not. I think we just liked each other. Sometimes these things have to do with smell—even humans fall prey to such primacy. I was in a hotel in Texas when Ronnie from that Ithaca SPCA called to do a 6-month check up—see how George was getting along in his new home. I couldn’t tell her he’d been sick and died a couple months after he came to stay. I lied and said how happy we were to have each other. How he jumped up on the bed in the morning and was always good. I opened the untouched liquor fridge in the room and sat down to tell little stories about how he pawed my face and, you know, it was all pretty sordid and like time travel into a future that didn’t come (at least not to me and George). Anyway, I am hoping you do not have a heart murmur and will be happy if I ever really adopt you.


Stephanie Barber is a filmmaker, performance artist and poet. Her chapbook poems was published by Bronze Skull Press in 2006 and a DVD-collection of films and their soundtracks was released by PGP in 2008.


David Daniel

The Thing in the Road
The trucker came upon it shortly before dawn, thirteen miles out of Ayres City, on a stretch of road that goes narrow and tricky, with state forest crowding close on both sides, and he thought he’d hit a deer. He hiked back with a flashlight.

But it wasn't a deer. “Nor like to be anything else I've seen,” he told the ranger who showed up forty minutes later in response to the trucker's call on the CB. Between them they got the thing into the back of the ranger's pickup truck.

That was about 6:30 a.m.

The thing sat around the ranger’s yard waiting for the state Fish and Game people to show up.
Before long, kids—who were the first to gather—had poked in one of the eyes with a stick. Later, someone who claimed to have been present would say that originally there had been three eyes and that the kids had poked out two of them; most people, however, dispute this. The remaining eye was a large, round, milky blue orb, though whether this peculiar color was caused by death or nature wasn't clear.

By midmorning a fair-sized crowd was on hand to have a look at the thing, seventy-five to a hundred people at a time, by one estimate. With the September wind lifting the vomit smell off the fresh-cut cordwood in the side yard, it was hard to tell if the thing had any smell of its own, but up close it seemed to give off a quiet musk, less tart than a bear's. “Sweetish,” some said.
“Nasty,” said others.

Folks stood around in Pendletons and leather-top boots, talking the whole time, their voices quick and exalted and smoky in the chill air.

Shortly after 3 p.m. the men from the state finally arrived in a motor pool van. They were an unlikely pair, one too young to be that overweight. He had a small dark mustache and dimpled hands. The other, twice his age, with white papery hair and rimless glasses, appeared to be in charge. The young one looked at the thing in the yard and frowned. He had sweated through his khaki shirt just sitting and was intent on not exerting himself. The older one was full of fussy curiosity. He squatted near the thing a long time, the flesh on his neck pinched into folds by his collar and tie and tweed jacket, never mind the heat. He took notes.

“Are you the fellow who found this?” he asked someone, who said no, and pointed to the trucker.

The younger, pudgy one was questioning people about where he could get some iced coffee. He was directed to the Do-C-Donut shop.

In Ayres City the thing was the only topic people talked about. All day, at the bank and at the superette and at Do-C-Donut, they talked. A good quarter to a third of them had run out to the ranger's to see for themselves.

“Some warm, huh?” the ranger lamented once the men from the state had looked the thing over.
“Yeah, late for September.”

“So, what do you think it is?”

Jittery with coffee, the young man from the state mopped his brow. He for one hadn't ever seen anything like that before. But there would be no decision on the identity made here, the older man established. Nossir. There would need to be lab tests, an autopsy and biopsies, comparative analyses, tissue cultures: and those just for starters. Nossir, not today. Not by a long sight.

The trucker had stayed all day, patiently waiting to give his testimony or whatever. He felt it was his duty. After he'd talked with the men from the state, he shooed kids away from his Peterbilt and drove his load of folding armchairs on ahead to their destination.

A humorous note (though not for the fellow in question) —a salesman named Ed Jubinville, from out of state, heard about it on a local AM radio talk show as he was passing on the interstate. He detoured into Ayres City, locked up his car and went to have a look. In the heat, all of his aerosol samples went up like cherry bombs, blew the windows right out of his car.

On Sunday, in a sermon, one of the ministers referred to the thing as the “Beast.” Her purpose, she explained later, had been exegetical, not zoological, but the name stuck.

A teacher in the town middle school introduced the phrase "missing link” into a fifth grade science lesson. A parent complained to the principal and wrote a letter to the newspaper, the Ayres City Advocate, railing against the school for trying to force evolution into the curriculum when it was just an unproven theory, not the truth of God.

The thing found on the wooded stretch of road thirteen miles out of Ayres City was brought to a lab at the state university, three hundred and forty miles away, and stored in a walk-in freezer, along with specimens of a gray fox and two skunks suspected of rabies, a crow that was being tested for West Nile virus, and a two-headed goat. Before the tests could be concluded, the specimen vanished.

“Chicanery in Alien Creature Case” a headline declared the next day.

The thinking was that competing scientists, eager to make names for themselves, had taken it. An anonymous phone call to a radio station's listener line said a cult of Satan worshippers had snatched it for use in rites.

A national tabloid was said to have debated running the story as its lead before going instead with “Hitler Alive in Miami Beach Nursing Home.” The Ayres City Advocate carried the story on the front page for a while.

Then, other cares—municipal budget cuts, the new state-mandated standardized tests in schools, a law allowing developers to skirt some zoning restrictions, and the like—eclipsed the creature in editors’ and readers’ minds.

All that was some time ago. Lately another story about the disappearance has been circulating, though it is unconfirmed. According to this account, a state lab assistant responsible for carting vivisected animal carcasses to a crematorium inadvertently took the thing and it was incinerated.

The older scientist from the state Fish and Game Department, retired now, occasionally speaks of organizing an expedition into the forest north of Ayres City, but so far nothing has come of it. The City Council have talked of opening a small museum dedicated to the thing (or the Ayres City Beast or the Missing Link; there's been debate over the name) as a way of drawing tourist revenues to the once-great city. A public meeting to discuss this has been scheduled for some time next month.

A tragic note: The trucker who found the thing on the road jack-knifed his rig on a narrow stretch of Route 101 out west somewhere a few months after his find and was burned to death. Someone said he may have been high on amphetamines and liquor, leading some others to wonder if he was high early that morning outside Ayres City, too, and perhaps had invented the whole thing.

Townspeople sometimes meet over coffee at the Do-C-Donut and bring up what they remember of the day. Mostly, though, folks have moved on. The woods around there are big and dark, and life is full of pressing matters. Last Wednesday's snowstorm is the hot topic now.


Jac Jemc

surely a mother knows the slow leak and quiet calm of growing something and saying goodbye, the slow seeping, the pushing of water around the face, the slow growth, the quick absence, the pushing of that water around as a distraction, as misdirection, look, the slow seep starts there, the steeping tears brimming the growth, the growing water quickly dividing itself, multiplying and dividing itself, the water, the growth, halving and then halving, having growth and then dividing oneself from it with goodbye, the quiet calm of growing, of mothering, of by and by

Jac Jemc sells books and writes in Chicago. She is the poetry editor of decomP and a fiction reader for Our Stories. Her two tiny books include Hospitable Madness (Featherproof Books) and A Heaven Gone (ml Press). Her work is forthcoming in JMWW, Dewclaw, Gander Press Review and Handsome. She blogs her rejections at


Michael Kimball

A Kind of World
Locks on the doors. Bars on the windows.
And not going out. Wood and brick.
White paint on the walls.
Food in the cupboards. Water from the tap.
Two people at the beginning. A kind of world.

Michael Kimball is an acclaimed novelist whose poems have been published in Gordon Lish’s journal The Quarterly. He was a contributing editor of Taint.


Justin Sirois


The Jolan hemorrhages with olives, oily bread, brake pads, shoes shined with butter and ink, chicken pens with chickens thrashing rabid – and hovering silver trays like spaceships, tea kettles, tea glasses, tea – motorbikes backfiring, cabbage choking tailpipes, Mountain Dew drizzling through gutters, and children, dozens of shoe-less children pitting dates. Their fingers look shit-stained, but it’s just date juice.

I smell it in my sleep.

The market.

Men milking sickles.

The unemployed barber, General, welder, masseur.

Justin Sirois is the author of Secondary Sound and co-runs Narrow House Press. His book MLKNG SCKLS, which is “deleted scenes” from his novel Falcons on the Floor, about about two men fleeing Fallujah, Iraq in April 2004, will be published by PGP in June. He posts daily photos from Iraq at his blog.


Sasa Ibramigov

Interview with Bill Janowitz


Thanks for the email. I've been tweaking the blog a lot lately, and I'm glad to hear that you checked it out. See like I just changed it again right now. I added an events page that we can use to put up info about some crazy parties. Like then when we have the New Year's Party and somebody doesn't know the address to Tony's house now they can look it up there.

ANYWAY, DK, Dangerous Kid, I went and I saw Buffalo Tom last night with Randy and let me tell you, I can't even tell you how great they were. And I WANT to tell you, because you're the only other Buffalo Tom fan that's worth any damn thing because unlike the Rand you liked them before you saw them live, that's right before you saw them live (which you still haven't done), but I CAN'T tell you how good they were because I'm no, like, Lord Tennyson, right, I ain't got that control of language. But get this, they did every single song I wanted to hear, some songs I didn't know I wanted to hear and then they did Husker Du songs with Grant Hart and they did a Who song ("The Seeker") but not with Townsend—but still it was . . . I mean you know?

And check it out, Mistra Absent, THEN we saw Bill and Chris just you know hanging out in this bar, The Gingerbread Man, sittin' back playin' some tunes for a handful of goofballs like ME, yes ME, and I was like, "Hey, Bill, I'm glad I finally got the chance to see you guys play. I liked it a lot." And he was all, "You mean this or . . . oh, over at Metro." He was talkin' about when did I see them play, their concert at Metro or right now, when they were fooling around with some Bob Seger songs and "Jesus Gonna Be Here" and The Stones while we were all just sitting around in The Gingerbread Man Bar. Then some drunk guy who had been telling me all about how Murmur is THE BEST ALBUM IN THE WORLD gave Bill a big hug. And Bill said, "Oh, hey, that's nice."

Anyway talk at you later,

Sasa Ibramigov’s book of interviews (which are really non-fiction poems) is forthcoming from Wichita Hunger Press.


Lauren Bender

from Whale Box

In the whale it stands to reason that
Imaginary numbers are real
I am so afraid of being afraid
That even the richest coffee in the world
Crafted by Colombian artisans,
Can't bring me back.

Scientists call this"poems written on the day of the reading.
"Whenever an individual forms an asymmetrical
Friendship bracelet, there will necessarily be
Other ideas toward the world, like friendship pants,
Friendship tankini suits with friendship soft cups,
Friendship onesies,
Friendship traditional Mayan garb,
Friendship fanny packs.

One project is to weave a full friendship wardrobe
For no one in particular.
Another is to weave a friendship gun.
A third is to weave a letter of apology
For the time it takes to weave the letter.

Lauren Bender’s chapbook-length poem, “Whale Box” was published by PGP in October 2007. It featured a potato-printed cover of whales and boxes. It is now out of print but will be available online soon. A writer and performer, she blogs occasionally.


Laura Ellen Scott

The Temple Dog (for Michelle Reale)

Ricky the ex-porn star went to the wrong library when Family Friendly Libraries was absorbed into Parents Against Bad Books In Schools and he started getting action now emails from all over creation. It was confusing. The back of his Escalade was loaded with Cyberporn=Genocide signs, and Pickle Pie The Second, his hyper-spastic mini pin mix, leapt up and down in the passenger's seat like a weasel on fire. Ricky left the window cracked for her.

Ricky didn’t know he’d gone to the wrong library and just assumed he was the last noble man. Besides, what really mattered was the fact that librarians preferred pornography over patriotism. He passed through the foyer and nodded to the woman behind the desk. At the first available terminal he googled librarians + pornography and left the results up on the screen.

The Librarian looked at Ricky as if he were scum.

She was hot. He asked her out for coffee.

She said "No" and "Ssshhhh."

Then a bum peered over the carrel at Ricky. The bum's runny eyes went bright, and his head began to wobble in a homely rhythm. "Unh, unh, unnngh," said the bum, with one hand jammed down his pants to tickle himself. His other went in his pocket to tickle a gun.

Bang? Outside in the parking lot, Pickle Pie 2 bounced around the interior of the SUV, attracting a crowd of skate kids who heard a gunshot but ignored it. PP2 jumped up on the dash and screamed into the vents. She jumped into the rear and scrabbled across the signs, yowling as if she'd been skewered. Hands cupped around their eyes, the punks peeked into the back where they read the signs, mocked the message, and taunted the little beast. Pickle Pie lost her balance on a holocaust poster and pissed in a spiral arc as she tumbled to the floor mat.

Proclaimed: "Awesome!"

Inside, the Librarian forgot to scowl at Ricky because she was being robbed. The bum, demented, pointed his handgun at her. He’d already shot up into the ceiling to prove it was worth taking him seriously.

She offered him petty cash. He didn’t want that.

Ricky approached the bum, startling everyone. Without a trace of irony the gunman shot first and asked questions later: "Who the hell are you? I know, I know!" This, as Ricky lay bleeding on the tile across painted dinosaur foot prints.

Outside, through the cracked window of the vehicle, skate punks swiped Pickle Pie The Second. They took her to the woods and fed her Cheetos. They spirited her away to be the skate punk bitch queen.

Inside, the Librarian knelt by Ricky as his organs shut down, one by one. While she thanked him for his heroism, she failed to love him. He told her that he used to act in pornographic movies before he was saved. He asked her if she thought she was a patriot.

She began to love him just a little. Nice, but too late. From far away Ricky heard Pickle Pie 's cries, short bursts of anger bent over a moment like a librarian bent over a desk in a pornographic movie. Then those cries stretched thin, thin into goodbye music. Unbearable, no? That damn dog had learned to sing:

Heavenly shades of night are falling . . .

Laura Ellen Scott has stories forthcoming in Northville Review, decomP, and the Paycock Press anthology, Gravity Dancers: Even More Fiction by Washington Area Women. She teaches at George Mason University.


Matthew Simmons

from A Jello Horse

The House of 2000 Telephones is on a residential street in a small town in the tip of northeastern Kansas. It was set up by a civic-minded citizen intent on making an attraction more important than The House of 1000 Telephones in southwestern Kansas.

It has two other distinctions: it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week except for Christmas day, and every single phone in The House of 2000 Telephones works and is a separate line.

When you walk into The House of 2000 Telephones, some of them are ringing. At any one time, says your guide to The House of 2000 Telephones, at least a dozen of them are ringing. We never answer them as they are all wrong numbers. Not a single one of the phones in The House of 2000 Telephones is listed. We don’t even know what they are, so we never give them out. No one ever calls The House of 2000 Telephones on purpose.

That’s very interesting, you tell the guide.

While you are here, says the guide to The House of 2000 Telephones, feel free to look around at the many different styles we have collected over the years, and please, feel free to answer one or two of the calls. We only ask that you do not tell them that they have reached The House of 2000 Telephones. Pretend you are answering your personal phone. Tell them they have the wrong number. And after that, see if they would like to talk.

You walk around The House of 2000 Telephones and look at each one. They all have cards, explaining what kind of telephone they are. Here is an art deco design, a black phone with a rotary and a large handset. Here is a vintage candlestick phone with an earpiece like a saltshaker and a wide blower. Here is a rotary payphone, and its return is empty. A card taped to the phone says: Everybody checks. Don’t be ashamed. Here is an old Mickey Mouse phone. Here is a pushbutton wall phone in pea soup green. Here is a yellow slimline.

Some have a second card, too. One says: In June of 1987, a man answered this phone and spoke to a woman for two hours. They were married months later.

One says: In January of 1994, a man answered this phone and talked a teenager out of suicide.

One says: In August of 1982, a woman answered this phone and spoke to then President Ronald Reagan about Iran because he believed he had called his Secretary of State.

One says: In September of 1990, a woman answered this phone and spoke to a stranger for an hour, and discovered that the stranger was—quite likely—her biological father.

One says: In October of 1985, a man answered this phone and spoke to someone who insisted she was Amelia Earhart and that the year was actually 1935, and that she was calling her mother.

One says: In May of 1999, a man answered this phone and heard someone speaking in a language that he was almost 100% certain was not human, as it sounded to him like whale song.

One says: As far as we know, this phone is the only one we’ve never heard ring in our years of operation.

You walk through The House of 2000 Telephones, and look at a phone shaped like a football, a phone shaped like a Smurf, a phone shaped like a penis (in the Adults Only, Please room), a phone shaped like a mini-phone booth, a phone shaped like an apple, a phone shaped like a tornado carrying a house into the air. There is a green donut handbag phone, and a blue donut handbag phone, and a red donut handbag phone. There is a room of princess phones. There is a room of phones used in crimes in one way or another—a Rogues Gallery of phones with cords that choked wives and husbands and mothers and snitches, phones that have dents and chips on the handset where they were used to bludgeon wives and husbands and fathers and snitches. Phones used to call bomb threats. Phones used in the commission of voter fraud.

You walk around looking at phones and sometimes they ring. A phone that looks like the red phone from the Batman TV show rings. A wall phone rings. An eggshell colored plastic phone with a round face and buttons rings and you pick it up.

Hey, says the person on the other end of the line. It’s me. It’s your brother. I thought you might still be out of town, he says.

Yes, you say, or no. I’m home now. It occurs to you that this is, in fact, your brother.

So, he says, I’ve been thinking.

I really think you should just move out here to Seattle. You don’t have a good job, he says. (He’s right. You work at an inbound call center.) You need medical benefits. There are more jobs like that here than where you are. You could be around us. (He is married.) Family. I think you’d like it. (He’s probably right. You visited Seattle when he got married and liked it very much. It was green, and big. And also small. You could walk from place to place, buy a bicycle. The museums were bigger, and the neighborhoods diverse. Seattle is a nice place. You could go there.) Think about it when your lease is up, he says.

I will, you say.

Is that a phone ringing, he asks.

Yeah, I think so, you say. Neighbors, you say, I should go.

Okay, he says, I’ll talk to you later.

You hang up and walk to the exit. The guide says, Did you talk to anyone interesting?

You say, Sort of.

Matthew Simmons lives in Seattle with his cat, Emmett. He is, among other things, The Man Who Couldn’t Blog.


Krammer Abrahams

a baseball bat, a bag of sneakers, and a pen I stole from the ATM counter

I walked home with a bat on one shoulder and a bag of shoes on the other. There was a tiny dinner scene in my pocket but I crushed it when I bent down to pick up an acorn. The bat told me I still had a shot. I replaced the dinner scene with the acorn. I thought of which records I would break first. I dropped the shoes and took 57 swings in a row. When I was done I tipped my cap and said, “It was an honor Mr. DiMaggio.” I imagined him giving me the finger. “Fuck you Joe,” I said. I took the acorn out of my pocket, tossed it up, and hit a perfect line drive over second base.

The shoes did not like each other. I tried to remember the dinner scene and all I could remember was a small child giving me a peace sign in front of a plate of Spanish tapas. I picked up the shoes and put them back in the bag. Most were jealous they didn’t get to play in the Sunday basketball game. The tapas had actually been crepes. A pair of loafers missed the days when I would casually shoot hoops and sky hook shots over the backboard.

A pen stuck out of my back pocket. A silver chain made up of little perfect rounded pebbles, hung down and brushed the back of my leg.

Somewhere in the world there is a crosswalk with seventeen white lines. I stepped on each of them. I imagined they were boards on a bridge suspended a thousand feet above a river of lava. I felt like an action adventure hero. I looked around, but there are no movie cameras. I continue walking home.

A block or two later I came to another crosswalk. A red hand told me to wait. I thought of cowboy and Indian movies. There were a few passing automobiles. A green dot told them when to go. A couple stopped behind me. I wanted to ask them if they had tapas or crepes for dinner. “It was terrible,” said the women, “My father didn’t understand.” I didn’t know what her dad didn’t understand. The guy nodded. He probably didn’t know either. I thought of terrible things. I thought of vomiting green omelets into a bag of sneakers. The crossing signal changed. The couple crossed. I looked at the crosswalk. It was faded. The lava had overtaken the bridge. I shrugged, put down my bag of shoes, and took some dry swings.

Krammer Abrahams, funny, has published in journals like elimae, Lamination Colony, Action Yes and many more. As editor of the long running Twitter journal HeyShortyComeToMyKegPartyDougIsInABadMoodThereAreNachosRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGBANANAPHONE
, he is a pioneer of online publishing. He didn’t blog and then he did.

Juliet Cook

Pig Trough as Concept

In this series I am floating face-down
in a large steel vat of tapioca pudding.

This vat is akin to an industrial-sized pig trough.
This vat makes me feel as if I want to prick my fingertips

until they bleed all over the scalloped edges
of silver foil cupcake papers, except instead of being
made out of silver foil, these cupcake papers are molded
out of heavy duty steel. I guess they are only cupcake papers
conceptually. I guess prick is too weak a word.

Another pig-like concept has to do with snorting and wallowing
and rooting around in dirty mud, except instead of being
dirty mud, it’s cake frosting. If I gave you a new naked
picture of myself, would you Photoshop me into a cake?

You can think about gluttony, poor impulse control, self-
perpetuating cycles of doll flesh. I’ll think about my own
flesh as a blemished mess that needs to be smoothed all over
with thick icing. Cover suspicious moles with candied rosettes.

You can think about the ways a glass-topped coffee table might be used
as a prop in kinky porno. Did you think about me bleeding and licking
cake frosting? Would you believe I didn’t even know I was pregnant
until my water broke, the glass broke, my flesh spoke a sticky sweet
waterfall of bloody shards and cake frosting clotted on the crown.

This would be perfect for my author photo.
Screw me here. No, I meant with metal screws.

Prick is too weak a word to penetrate my new breed
of sticky. When you’re Photoshopping me,

can you make the cake flowers look lonely and carnivorous
at the same time? Can you make the pink flowers grunt
voraciously or does that sound like I’m trying to live vicariously?
I want them to bite back, force-feed themselves back
inside my cake-decorated womb concept.

Juliet Cook is a poet and the editor of Blood Pudding Press. Find out more about her exploits and latest projects at