Homo Sacer and Her Lover by Ewa Mazierska

When Sarah woke up, Thomas was already making coffee and smoking a cigarette. He couldn’t live without fags. He seemed to be anxious to even go to sleep, because this would deprive him of his favourite object of consumption, and he smoked straight after they had sex, like a character in films about prostitutes and their clients. But Sarah did not mind it, even liked it, because cigarettes suited him and after sex she wanted to be left alone. Thomas also liked to eat, and his eyes were always on the best risotto or cherry pie in the city. In the past one would call such a man a bon vivant, but these days this term had an archaic inflection, so in her diary she named him ‘Agent Cooper’. Despite not paying much attention to his health, in his late forties he still looked good. Probably he even looked better in his forties than in his twenties. For her he looked best when he was naked. Most men look ridiculous without their clothes and they try to hide their shrinking muscles, dicks and balls or try to puff them up by this or that means. Instead, he simply liked to spread himself on the bed, as if unaware of the space he occupied or offered his body as a vessel into which she could escape into a different reality.

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Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

When she was wheeled into the day room, attended by her IV drip, Jack thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She seemed absolutely pure, evacuated of all evil, honed to perfection. Her head was an imported melon covered by the finest filo pastry, stretched and rolled thin. Her cheeks were eggshells. Concave. The hair on her head was shredded coconut. The hair on her body was dark and fuzzy, like the mold on Gorgonzola. Her skin was the color of Dijon mustard – that wonderful brownish tinge that comes from lost vitamins and minerals. She was everything gourmet Jack had denied himself.

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I’ll Tell You Your History by L’Erin Ogle

They never tell you how hard it is to love someone.  Or how hard it is to be loved.

The first person you ever think you love is the shift manager of the restaurant of your first job.  He’s twenty, four years older than you, and you don’t even know him.  He doesn’t know you.   All you remember about this first love, the one you aren’t ever supposed to forget, is that your first kiss was a shotgun hit of weed that turned into tongues and teeth mashed together, that later he vomited tequila in the sink and then you fucked in the spare room of your friend’s house.  You were so drunk you didn’t realize you started your period and it looked like a crime scene, which seems appropriate now.  Anymore, sex and love seem like crime.

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The Dreampurple Light by Leila Allison

Whatever happened to the power-chord?
To which my boyfriend lit a bowl

Was A Stairway to Heaven really the greatest song?
Think it over as you pass that on

Said he’d love me till the end of time;
Forever came to stay in 1989

Still, he was never all so great;
For me that bell had tolled in ‘88

Thirty years go by in the glaze of an eye;
Can it be it’s always the promising future that lies?
 

*******

When my sister Tess and I were girls we’d often visit our father’s grave in New Town Cemetery. Although he had died suddenly when I was two and Tess an infant (thus destined to be little more to us than a face in the family photo album and a grave in the cemetery), we’d make time for “Dear Father” because we had agreed that it was the sort of thing daughters should do. I would recite a psalm memorized from Granna Ivy’s Bible, and Tess would lay a hastily clapped-together bouquet of daisies, buttercups and bluebells on his headstone. I recall admonishing her for the frequent inclusion of dandelions to the arrangement, “Those are weeds, numbskull.” Tess would defend the addition of dandelions on the grounds that “Nobody grows daisies, buttercups or bluebells on purpose, either, bonehead.”

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