Laryssa Wirstiuk – My Last Memory of Snow

My Last Memory of Snow

I hesitated entering the bodega. The cashier had seen me cry before:
I’m sure of it. Would he remember me at the table with my twenty-four
ounce can of Yuengling? After that embarrassment I should’ve left you
in my car. The menu was sandwiches: hummus and vegetables on rye.
Sour Patch Kids. Steamed soy milk in coffee. I’m intentionally bleeping
out the important detail: three feet of snow on Third Street in Old City.
Normally I would have been defeated by the heavy white powder,
but we were procuring carbs, caffeine. At the AirBNB was a tub for two.
What’s more, I knew we’d be Pioneers! O Pioneers! in just a few months.
Extra pickles and hot sauce, please. My eye contact hungered for chips.
And, sir, is it possible I’m making a mistake? We plowed through drifts
with heavy boots and paper sacks. Voices bounced off new acoustics.
Few were out; locals were scraping cars a step ahead of the next squall.
I longed for less complicated circumstances: not so much of the always
life or death. Next winter a close friend would text me the following:
Your commitment crushed my hopes. I didn’t get it. You had plowed
the trail where there wasn’t any snow. He would send me postcards
with full color (some white, some grey) landscapes covered with more
than I’d endured. Despite who you are, I’ve landed. I can’t revoke a storm.

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The drinks came
And I asked the predictable question.

“I kind of like it,” she said
“It keeps me fit
And the money’s not bad.”

She blew smoke thoughtfully
And fidgeted with an ashtray.

“My twin sister has baby girls
And I watch them during the day,
God I love those girls—
I think of them as mine,
I’m with them more than she is.”

I thought her drink
Was going down a little fast.

“My schedule’s real flexible.
Sometimes when my sister’s off
We get a sitter and go shopping
…Go to the beach.”

“She’s so sweet:
We’ve never had a fight,
Not even growing up.”

She signaled for another drink.
I wondered if she gets a cut.

“I’m saving.
We’re going to open a hair salon
When the girls are a little older.
She works at one now,
And I got my license.”

“Oh, hey, I’m on.
Nice talking to you.”

She levered off the stool
With a hand on my thigh
And one on my shoulder.

Her smell of perfume,
Tobacco smoke, sweat,
Hair spray and alcohol
Saturated me,
Took a grip that nothing,
Not five years,
Not my marriage and baby,
Has ever loosened.



MAY 2017


Gonzalinho da Costa – APHORISMS


Politics is a realm in which iniquity is multiplied many times over when the masses like herds of animals incited by morally corrupt leaders participate in systemic evil on a massive scale.

Degrade the rule of law and reap the consequences of a lawless society.

Aloneness is alienation, solitude communion.

Everything is, yet nothing is as it was.

You can have your cake and eat it, too, not the other way around.

A friend in deed is a friend indeed.

Tend to a boiling pot lest it overflow.

A leap to safety is not guaranteed by a look.

Tyrants impose, peoples depose.

Wickedness will worsen when it is motivated by the underlying fear of retribution.

Tremulous truth is in reality conquering courage.

When the sun, moon, and stars bowed down to a child, it was only a dream.


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Barbara Ann Meier – 3:11 AM


3:11 AM

It starts with a contraction,
a shudder, turns to a roll,
tightening to knots…
the earth twitches and shakes off its top layer.
Just as the cramp grips the calf.
I wait.
Watch the pictures rattle…Anticipate the next twitch.
Why do I bother to wish for sleep?
It won’t come. The cramp won’t stop.

The pain that starts mid-calf,
travels to the arch of the foot,
Reminiscent of a forward fold
and downward facing dog.
Just as the ache from head to child
planks my adult. Board- like stiff.

To tighten the muscle,
requires the stretch to rebound
and snap with tectonic plates.
For the next spasm of muscle.
I grasp tight, but leaks in cracks,
break loose.

I roll to floor,
hobble to gulp magnesium.
Turn up the heat, lay the leg flat,
and think of past actions.

I’d text you sorry but what good would that do?

Warrior 1 shifts to Warrior 2.
The end result is a stretch and a cramp
at 3:11 AM.

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Girl Burning the Wrong Way

The girl wants you, alive this time—

Which is to say, hands turned on the table
so we know you’re not moving to kill us, hands
around our neck meaning forever, meaning
right now, meaning hands
around waist pulling toward another
fire, another swallowing thing, choosing
the poison over the lips and the
wrong body in the lake, over
and over.

But you aren’t
the one dancing this time with
rolling veins, a stronger sage, spitting
holy water into the
hotel room to
remember all this for you.

When you thought, at least there
was dirty breathing on
the opposite side of
the bed, at least there
was breath, a man in a hat swearing
he loves you, swearing and
heart pounding, and
fist in wall–
why did they all feel the same to you?



Helena the Shark

She told me she was Helena
Blavatsky reincarnated, there
was some resemblance, I told
her her breasts reminded me of
Texas, one sort of drooped toward
Dallas, the other curled like a
Texas longhorn in a Waco twister,
her farts were ungodly, I’m talking
Martian strange, I took her on a
short road trip and told her if she
cut the cheese anymore, I’d stake
her ass to an anthill and lather her
with honey, she just smiled, we got
to the beach, I got out our lounge
chairs and tequila sunrises from the
cooler, I fell asleep when I woke up
a tiger shark was wearing Helena’s
sunhat and bloody bikini top and
was sipping an icy Old Milwaukee.