Psych Ward on Christmas Eve
by Paul David Adkins
What could be idyllic as this well-lit corridor,
as mirrors made of metal,
plastered with snipped paper flakes?
Cut-out Santas, sleigh and Rudolph
deck the halls.
On her wall, my wife’s sketch hangs:
an X-mas fir
snapped at the base,
tiny lights dangling.
Tonight the pharmacist dispenses drugs
in reindeer Dixie cups.
Tinsel is strung
by the nurse station glass.
A doctor sporting a snowman tie
walks a patient arm in arm.
She wears red stockings.
She thinks they are skating.
The tile is cold,
and off somewhere
Laying the Dust
by Steve Klepetar
Sweet empty smells: oranges, old
rooms and shelves of broken glass.
Amidst green and amber shards
my hands bleed. Tonight
moon grins through torn scraps
of cloud. Her melting light smears
the sky. When have we eaten last,
broiled our meal with olive oil
and wine, or taken for drink
a golden glass of wind?
When have we wrapped ourselves
in waves? Tonight we see moon’s
teeth bared in shadows
on the brittle wafer of her silver
face, feel surging tides of our own
blood. How quietly these ghosts
gather, with what tender gestures
find each others’ faces in the night.
Beautiful and shy, they lean
into their own hearts, against
thin, transparent bones, shadow
hands, black pools of their own
huge eyes. At last, in cold wind
and splash of stars
we have dragged our own fury
bound and beaten to the woods.
We have come home to lay the dust.
Seven Sips of Coffee
by Eric G. Müller
A toy dog in a basket fixed on a bicycle
speeds by with its geriatric master
Still as a sculpture on the concrete floor
a green iguana with mandala skin listens
Four tanned surfers swagger along
with decorative boards and butt-crack shorts
Bikini babes with curling tattoos
laugh to the rhythm of their flip-flops
Bored security guard plugged to an iPod
taps his baton as he walks his beat
Two plain blue nuns with homemade habits
Look hot, i.e. sweaty and out of place
A boy pops wheelies
With his bike on the pavement
This is what I spied in the seven sips
it took me to quaff my cappuccino