A Perfect Animal

The opposite of anything is the thing itself—     Say, a face or a body.

Say, lilacs blooming from within the barrel of a gun.

As it pertains to the living, say then: each day is a crash course in survival.

Say, under extreme conditions,

a mother may kill and / or abandon her young.

As such, say it possible at every baptism, we arrive as low-hanging fruit.

That we are as strange & as meek as thy neighbor.    Say, especially, this means

what we can’t say otherwise:     say—  of guilt & love, only the smallest

child can explain the difference …

Say, then, you believe the sun burns as extremely as it hungers.  That violence figures

as a mercy which yields great returns on a body.

Say then: I am worthy.

Say, this time, I will be more than the slow infinity of my name in God’s mouth.

That should night come, I will be given

proper burial.    At the very least—    say:  one day,

a perfect animal will make a house from my bones.



Susan L. Leary

Susan L. Leary’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in such places as Posit Journal, The Christian Century, Heavy Feather Review, Arcturus (Chicago Review of Books), and Into the Void. She is both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, and her chapbook, This Girl, Your Disciple, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in August 2019. She teaches English Composition at the University of Miami (FL). Find her at www.susanlleary.com.

The Infiltrator


Oh, bigot cry morning,

but it is too late to change, poor children,

for their words only echo what you have taught.



Reluctant one, coarse and grate,

go mend your ditches and drink your harvest,

it is your prejudice that disturb the heart’s contentment.



Together with two dark boys on foot under a sharp Chicago sky,

they wander in and out of consciousness (but warrant no response),

only to be ridiculed from behind the closed window.



Struck down by conversations teeming with acronyms.

Our weak ears forced to listen to the difficulties,

by which you happily donate to the schoolyard, beat by beat.



A childhood robbed of its pleasures, deprived of running and playing,

merely arguable by the fate of our daily bread.

I heard the sound of your voice, casually suggesting accusations.



Befriending a crime is your chosen approach,

for you must take in order to banish the rocks from your path,

while upholding the nothingness, which you consider to be life.



Your hoary head rears, spewing unattractive complaints,

the luckless and weary ones begrudgingly listen.

Deluged and left divided by the reasoning that you project.



You cast your fears outward like a claw, only to intrude upon us.

Laying open your tasks corrects the despair of rejection and dismissal,

but you announce with sincere intention the inferior ones.



We are haunted by your performance, casting its spell,

Presumptuous and volatile and ever the inescapable liar,

attired in the necessary costume to scale a bloody Kansas wall.



Little ones sent to say: You just don’t know how hard it is to have two.

Why you ask of the given aggressiveness­—just like a peevish child.

Ah, sing your song, you fool, I will love you tomorrow, I will love you tomorrow.


Kim Kolarich

Kim Kolarich is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her fiction was long-listed for The Fish International Short Story Prize, and a finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Her stories have appeared in the Bridport Prize Anthology, FreeFall, Julien’s Journal, 3711 Atlantic, 34th Parallel, Karamu, Rollick Magazine, After Hours, The Gap Tooth Madness, Streetwrite, Intrinsick Magazine, Paragraph Planet, The Furious Gazelle, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Third Coast Magazine

Sam Love

Japan’s Revenge


Like a flotilla revenging World War Two

an army of Japanese KonMari acolytes

are assaulting the cluttered disorder

rampant in our consumer laden homes


Mari Kondo, their high Netflix priestess,

advocates testing possessions for sparks of joy

and if there are no sparks

they’re off to Goodwill


For many, Mari Kondo is the antidote

to an out of control modern life

and by following the KonMari method

your home becomes a sanctuary of order


Yet like a time-consuming sponge

order nurtures conventional thinking

and studies show randomness

can spark creative ideas


This repackaged Shintoism

would have castrated the creativity

of Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein,

and Steve Jobs who loved their messy desks


Somewhere on my desk are studies

linking messiness to creativity

but with so many paper piles

I am not sure where they are



Barbie Turns 60


Barbie you razor thin blonde

who mutilated so many body images

who worshipped consumption

of sports cars, fashions and dream houses

who dallied on and off

with Ken but never married


Of course, it’s easy to understand

the lack of long-term attraction

between the model “it” couple

Very photogenic, but missing

some major private parts


Now Barbie you have to realize

your frozen good looks

can’t last forever and

it’s time to face the reality

of hitting the big six o

and let some wrinkles show

and consider a plastic butt tuck


Soon Mattel will have to replace

your suburban dream house

with Barbie’s Assisted Living

No dream kitchen

just communal dining

No spacious rooms

just one room and

God Forbid a roommate


So, Barbie your lack of eros

may not have stimulated Ken

but capitalism will honor you

as the queen of consumption

who stimulated the economy


Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel Inc.


Sam Love

Sam Love lives in New Bern, N.C. which is as good a place as any to observe the drama that currently passes for Western Civilization. He has published and produced enough material in mass circulation media including Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazines that he has earned the right to be a footnote. After years of work with visual images and linear print he turned to poetry so people can make the movie in their head. His poems have been published in Kakalak, Slippery Elm, Voices on the Wind, The Lyricist, Flying South, Sleet and other publications. Eno published by Duke University has published six of his environmental poems and four of his poems have been featured on Poetry in Plain Sight posters throughout North Carolina. His latest poetry book, Cogitation, is available from Unsolicited Press. His illustrated children’s book My Little Plastic Bag is available in Spanish and English and has won numerous awards including a Nautilus Award. He is currently president of the New Bern local Poetry Group that organizes a monthly open mike.

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