Issue 1.30

Trespassing During The Day

We picked the fluorescent lights
off the ground, left behind with
the dank and dust. Held them briefly
in our hands. Felt the smooth, cool bulbs
with our dirty fingers. Before us stretched
the deserted floor plan with an open ceiling
(nature found its way in before we did)
as pools of sunlight reflected broken glass
and puddles of – what? waste? water? 
We slung the bulbs over our shoulders, heard
the crunch of leaves and glass beneath our feet
as we walked the distance of the warehouse.
A game for all of our senses. Felt the slight
breeze from outside and peered into the murk.
Eyed how far we could throw. Watched.
As the bulbs took flight, long white glimmers,
man-made stars spiraling across the dark
before crashing to the ground. Shattered.
As though trespassing was research and
destruction was our portfolio in the making.
Maybe. It was beautiful, cathartic. We never
stopped to think what that might mean.

Leaving Again

The first thing I notice
about this old storeroom
is that it’s not empty. 
In the silence, its history
is shouting and I feel
like joining in.  It reminds
me too much of how
many times I’ve been
abandoned, like how
there is somehow always
a dirty toy left behind
with the dingy mattresses,
misplaced papers, and
overturned chairs.
I identify as both
the leaving and the left,
the departing and
the ditched.  I am
somehow in the middle
of forgetting myself and
remembering everything
else. I am not scared,
though perhaps I should
be – embarrassed and
relieved by the way
in which I love and I love.
The moon is pelting the
dark with its loneliness,
and I look up through the
broken slats of the roof
to meet her gaze for I
know something about
the hope that singles
you out when there’s
nothing else left behind.
I take home the decay
and scatter my name,
graffiti on both the falling
walls and my tender skin:
leaving again, left again.

Ashley Sapp resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband and two pups. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010. Her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, All Female Menu, Emerge Literary Journal, and the Common Ground Review. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter via @ashthesapp and Instagram via @ashsappley.

After Sodium Thiopental

I am going to tell you things I haven’t even told my priest: For starters, I’m not Catholic and don’t believe in priests. I’d only get through two Hail Mary’s before giggling, reminded of football and the way I could see a man’s ass crack through his tight white pants every Sunday after church.

I’m bad at asking forgiveness. I carry the burden of this body, heavy with pepperoni pizzas and glazed sour cream donuts. I abstain from communion if it means passing round a single cup and sharing sips, passing round herpes, gingivitis, and a host of other diseases Deuteronomy lists.

I watch Superman flicks but not because I fancy Clark Kent or fantasize about leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I don’t want to fly. I just want there to be a super / man, someone who can stop bullets, who can hear me call his name when he’s miles away and catch me before I hit the ground.

Someday my father will die. I don’t know how to live in a world where he doesn’t exist. When websites ask for password protections like what did you want to be when you grew up? I type N-F-L quarterback. When I was a little girl, I got seven stitches in my chin. My brother pushed me off a swing.

I don’t click the heart on Twitter to like accounts if they already have more than a thousand likes. Nobody needs to be liked that much. When I can’t sleep, I remember God knows the number of hairs on my head, which is amazing considering the matted drain after every shower. But he’s God,

so he’s probably good at math, even without a calculator, and he cares about the birds in the sky and knows about the bird I flipped my dad when I was fourteen and he hit a forehand past me to win the set. So when I stretch to turn off the light next to my bed, I imagine God’s hand and mine meeting

in midair for a high five—he’s glad I’m still thinking about him and I’m glad just to make it through another day. It’s not a big high-five, not the kind you make at the buzzer during March Madness when teammates are chest bumping and stuff, but more like he’s my dad, sitting in the stands and

it’s overtime and I’m too tired to keep playing and suddenly he tears off his business suit and he’s wearing a jersey underneath it all and I get to sit the bench and catch my breath while he goes in for me and I finally fall asleep and dream of scissors cutting down the net.

Marissa Glover lives and writes in Florida, where she teaches at Saint Leo University. Marissa is co-editor of Orange Blossom Review and a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. Her poetry most recently appears in Schuylkill Valley JournalAutumn Sky Poetry Daily, and River Mouth Review. Marissa’s full-length poetry collection, Let Go of the Hands You Hold, will be published by Mercer University Press in 2021. You can follow her on Twitter @_MarissaGlover_.  

Somewhere near the corner of Redstone Road and W. Pine River

Wind turbines are scattered
like pinwheels misplaced
and standstill. They give
you the familiar urge
to wedge your thumb under
the base, popping propellers
off like dandelion heads.
You imagine standing
underneath one, palms pressed
against wet metal. You wish
you could climb it, 
a beanstalk taking you
to nowhere.

Tayler Karinen lives in Saginaw, Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a MA in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her fiction and poetry have previously appeared in Daily Drunk Mag, Hot Metal Bridge, The Roadrunner Review, Milk Candy Review, The Harpoon Review, Cardinal Sins, and Cease, Cows. One day, she hopes to pursue a MFA, publish a collection of flash fiction and make her cats proud. Find her on Twitter @tayannkar.

See Something Say Something

The hot iron hissed steam. The pane fogged and the world outside grew cloudy and gray. The leaves changed color. The mowers fell mute for a season or two. 

The boy spoke to no one on his way out the house and cringed at the rusted clap of the screen door behind him. His feet struck concrete. Then depleted grass crunched arthritically until he discovered the cool, packed earth of his well-worn path, and passing under the gray branches, he sighed like a man exiting a Hollywood prison, his silhouette towing the horizon line in long shot. He carried his possessions in a secretive rush and leaned like a stalk of wheat.

The woman navigated the iron over the collared dress shirt, its silver keel floating over the blue shades—what was either dark and damp or dry and light. 

He moved under the still sky and through the chapel woods. He knew where he was going. He had been there before. The squirrels no longer watched him with curiosity. The tree line was absent their twitching. They no longer scurried from home to gathering. They had prepared for winter with neither calendar nor clock. The snow fell, but the snow did not accumulate. He checked his watch. He needed to know the timing of every step. When he crossed into the unkempt space, the husks of wild grass swished against his tattered jeans, a square patch sewn over the left knee.  

The woman lifted the shirt and examined it. Her fingertips caressed the smooth surface. She wasn’t Poseidon, but she was no mermaid either. She tugged on a thread and the button came loose and fell to the floor. She watched it roll between the washer and dryer—lost beyond her reach and out of time. 

The boy arrived at the shed. He turned the dial to undo the lock. He opened the gate to that other world and moved into the darkness. Mildew and chemical and fertilizer and gasoline filled his nostrils. Even in winter, he could make out the smell of grass—as summer of decay. He breathed all of it in like some vile prophecy. His nostrils flared like some unseen garden snake. He lowered the duffel bag with care. He shed the book bag. He knelt to the shape of his plan and unzipped the bag. He reached into the parceled womb and wrapped his fingers around the metal bones, tucked and folded in crude arrangements and odd angles awaiting assembly. He turned on a lamp. He began where he had left off.

The woman knelt on her laundry room’s linoleum floor, hands on hips. She grabbed the edge of the washing machine and pulled herself up to a standing position. She attempted to straighten her shoulders, but the seasons had eroded her once perfect posture. She found a button in a small plastic drawer that didn’t quite match but was close enough. She located a needle and thread in a second plastic drawer. She attached the button that didn’t quite match. She could have done so with her eyes closed. She knew all the steps by now.

The boy tinkered. He invented. He followed the instructions he carried in his pocket. He lit a fuse and the flame reflected in the white moon of his teeth. His plan had phases.

The woman noticed her reflection on the pane and turned away. She missed the small flash on the edge of the map when she bowed her head. She hung the blue shirt on a hanger, its tail dragging over the end of the ironing board. She looked out the window a last time before reaching to turn out the light. In any other time of year, she would not have seen so far into another life. Through the bare trees and across a carpet of straggling brown leaves, she watched the boy step out of the darkness and lock the chain. She wanted to tell someone, but what was there to tell? She had missed the nothing she didn’t know. She turned out the light and stepped into the hall. She shivered. The warm earth had unraveled in moments.

This was all sometime before the spring.

Bryan Harvey’s writing appears or is forthcoming in Hobart’s HAD, No Contact Magazine, FlashBack Fiction, Moon Park Review, The Daily Drunk, Rejection Letters, and The Florida Review’s Aquifer. He blogs for Fansided’s The Step Back. He lives and teaches in Virginia. He tweets @Bryan_S_Harvey. He’s probably on a long run.