By Robert Beveridge
Tra, tra, tra, it’s in the pretext, in the mines, in the hallway that extends every time you kiss the hem of the alienist’s patchwork suit. The meme replicates in the medulla, the batteries poke their heads out of the sand, the wormwood’s in the rice again, pa, chase it out with the thirty-ought. Your cat is dead set against its claws being in any way arrested, but it can no longer walk without assistance; it gets stuck to everything from shag carpet to armadillo. The time has come to make that change, but first you feel the need to shower. You never know when company might pop by for coffee, blood, a Béla Tarr marathon
Our Names Begin with Q
There is a standard measurement, but no one is quite sure what it is. We have learned we can walk up to 30% of a field before we find a calf. We can walk half a day up the road before we see another person. We can cast an entire winter and never land a herring. We can consume up to 50% of a mermaid and still not be cannibals. We work from the outside in, observe, apply, observe, apply, try and discover how the apple and the quince fall together, fall apart.
crossed camels with empathic quavers—not bad work if you can get it. If anyone asks whether you are indeed a waterfall of haddock, apologize and confirm you are in the correct line for the circulation desk. That Alice Springs has gone dark cannot be blamed on you any more than can the absence of malamutes in the Best Supporting Actor category last decade. No one expects the phrenic inquisition, just as no one expects to recognize the face on the blue plate special, but here we are at a lunch counter at the gateway to the Australian outback and you find your entire farm passes before your eyes.
I went up to the bar and asked if they could give me directions to the local den of thieves. Got the expected response. Lit enough candles to at least give the place enough light to read a menu by, instead ordered a gimlet with a rack of lamb, frenched, on the side. The two guys trying to pick up the lady in the purple dress open to the waist, their heads both snapped up as one, stared down the bar at me as if I’d just given the secret code word for the extermination of the entire city and they were the only two guys with the keys and the codes. I hoped they’d lost them in a barely-concealed navel, told the bartender I’d reconsidered my feast.
Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Throats to the Sky, FEED, and Sublunary Review, among others