And the hunger of loving is so acute that it becomes larger and more real than hunger. It turns itself inside out, and — flayed and tender side outermost — it whispers: I am not hunger. I am something deeper. I am what reality is made of.
by Dale Favier of mole
That winter the cows would surround us
In the darkness, feeling like omens
Against our fearful skins, fat tongues unrolling
To taste us, fermented straw-mist on their breaths
And ours, them coming through the thick mists
On our hillside, us across fields returning
To the cottage from drowning our terror.
Sometimes on no-moon nights the jigsaws
Of their hides appeared so quietly from the dark
There was almost no time to scream and scream
As they bumped and pushed us from their peace.
Now they are long dead. Still their generations
Do the same. Their children know us, harry us.
At night I reach over to your side of the bed – that cold spot with its frozen memories. The warmth of my hand brings them out of their icy suspension. I can almost feel your nipple growing hard between my fingers. Thawed memories and maybe flawed memories begin to mix in with my body’s involuntary muscle twitches and my random mental twitches – until your side of the bed freezes up again.
by Fred Garber of Factory Town
The Lagosians of Isale Eko come here with great fanfare when an old person dies. They order the most expensive casket, hire out a school’s sports field, throw a large party with canopies, live music and colorful outfits. The gift of longevity is celebrated. But if the deceased is a youth, fallen before life’s fruition, they buy a simple box. The rites are performed under grief’s discreet shadow: a small afternoon burial on a weekday, a somber brass band, and everyone in black.
by Teju Cole
Evolution scrimped for ages, only
to have ungrateful kids at the end
rather wear halos and pretend they’re
too pure to enter colleges of fittest
survivals on the wrong sides of seas,
where sharks open jaws on smaller fish
chomping tinier ones still. Death will
wait for a giant asteroid then, when
peaceful people who dismantle bombs
can’t stop it. They make love one last time,
happy they won’t have to wake again,
turn on lights, and remember the sun.
by Donald Illich of The Church of Tony Hoagland
There was a seizure — she shook her husband awake.
Now she lies on this bed, won’t open her eyes.
Her husband sits beside her, thinks of the cancer.
Every day there is more of her hair on her pillow.
The roots of it are slipping out of their sockets
as she lets out each breath. There. There.
The thin curtain pushed gently into the room by the breathing of the breeze. Where it lifted, sunlight splashed and stretched across the floor.
He lay on the rumpled bed, lapped by blown light, shifting shadow. He turned his head to look at her. She was busy with day-start, pulling on clothes with brisk efficiency.
“I’ve got a lump under my arm, in the armpit, could you look at it?”
She fastened something with an audible snap and leant over the bed.
“Don’t worry, it doesn’t show.”
As she turned and left the room the breeze fell, the curtain dropped.
by Rachel Rawlins of frizzyLogic