Issue #2

the train station carnation

it is yellow darker yellow darkest yellow and it’s green.
its head is bigger, so much bigger, so much better than its rest.
it was a looker in its day; this day
it doesn’t look like much at all
it doesn’t look like it much more
it was a looker in its day, it was yellow, fat with dew
now it’s brown and tired and wilted
now it looks like I look too

the fear

I am the concubine of it.
I am its put-upon handmaid.
I let it wipe its grease upon my breast
and my other; but that is not where it will stay.

I can feel where it has been. It lives, when you wake,
at the back of the throat;
In that heaving impasse between the palate and the for’head,
It crooks its clammy index and hooks your parched tongue.

It glues it there. Your gullet will gape, forced to gulp
The hell-fresh air - Lucifer’s bellows -
To further poison the bitter grease you coated yourself in
While its frosty pokers singe your nape with ice.

Hand over hand, palm flat, fingers stretched
To burn your trembling, cracker-brittle back.
It spends some time tapping at the softness of your belly
- the previous eve lurches, in grossly lurid detail -
It softens, long enough, for you to lift your raving skull
- and with its other hand seizes your head!

And it has you! That slap of bloody recall
Is not the worst of it - alas!
It sets its demons free - they dance their horrid dance -
- down your feeble legs -
and you know, with utter truth, it WILL NOT LEAVE -
Until the happy, happy morrow.

Sleep now.

Katy Tucker