Death Rattle

Charles Winslow was an old man with stone lungs
and a heart hell-bent on bringing him to a cemetery to rest.

Charles Winslow’s heart stuttered like a child reading aloud
to the class and stopped dead last Tuesday.

His papery skin fluttered delicately with his last exhalation,
expelling a lifetime of cobwebs and solitude.

Dust settled on lamps and newspapers, coating his shell
and his dwelling in skin cells deader than he.

Sand continued to pile in the hourglass. Weeks flashed by
like an old film. Charles Winslow’s corpse danced with

maggots until his pearly, porous bones smiled garishly at the dust-
coated room. Still the house remained



I’d poured everything into nothing, so
it was no wonder when I couldn’t recognize

my own image in the frost. I shrouded
myself in heavy black linen and hoped

passersby wouldn’t hear the echo of my hollow
breathing. The wind still bit at my fingertips.


Hush, I Might Kiss You

C. Brown

She thought the winter would
keep her warm, that the biting

and bitching wind would be but
hushed kisses on her neck,

and the idiosyncratic flakes of
frost would be her shroud.

Her eyes spattered the bleak
panorama with green and gold

reflections of autumn nights on
tempestuous swells and breakers,

becoming the stars hovering above
crookedly bleeding chest organs.

Soft lavender oblivion has kept her
artfully sedated beneath the

steely clouds of Yuletide. Held
underwater, she sees nothing but

nothing, yet her tongue speaks
of the sapphire sun on the horizon.

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Hobbits are the Worst Heroes on Record

C. Brown

The sexual tension between Samwise Gamgee
and Frodo Baggins makes me want to fold up
like a partially done origami crane
that has been crumpled up and discarded
like so much bygone garbage.

Stop with the anime eyes of adoration and the
Samwise the Brave
and the I couldn’t have done it without you!
This isn’t a Warner Bros movie where
a closed-mouth kiss between
an awkward ginger and Dan Rad
can slide by with its PG-13 rating,
but is somehow more uncomfortable than
every eternal second
between Leonidas and his queen when your parents
are next to you and throwing altogether too penetrating
glances in your direction,
scalding into your skin their knowledge of
your escapades last night.

In case you hadn’t noticed, my dear hobbits,
you are heading into Mordor
to destroy a ring before it destroys you,
and before Gollum’s sticky fingers find themselves
threading around your…

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