Issue 102 Fiction Poetry Nonfiction Art + Photography Film Music Books For Creators more
Editor's Choice
Of Sex And Chess
by A.J. Huffman

Knight spies attainable Queen

across a crowded barroom, tries

to move toward her, but

the squares of the floor are all wrong,

better suited for checkers.

A dark figure moves in, cries

King Me! Rejected,

his associates pull his humiliated body

from the board. An opening

in the menial crowd creates a plausible

pathway. Two

pitiable pawns attempt to cut him off, fall,

collateral damage,

swept to the side. He strikes

his best supermodel pose. The mysterious

lady in white smiles, undresses

him with her eyes. They both recognize

victory when they see it.

Check Mate.


Insomnia, Deconstructed
by Beth Gordon
Sleep is the lie perpetuated by men
who never close their eyes, vampires draped in slimy
silk suits, enviable boots constructed from the skin of murdered
reptiles without names.  They sell us mattresses perfectly 
attuned to our slumber requirements and midnight 
excretions, meant to repel 
tiny spiders who creep
into our mouths, knowing we will swallow, knowing that our stomachs
are lined with arachnid legs.  Our dreams blossom
like feral cats brought indoors, fed bowls of warm milk, like new
butterflies with dripping, uncertain wings, like mythical
creatures who require no food, no shelter, no flesh-to-flesh 
companionship.  They offer
oblong pills the precise color 
of our grandmothers’ nightgowns, unclean white.  They offer reduced-
price red wine, with or without trace elements of arsenic, the open 
window beckons, offspring of our eight-legged invaders
begin to crawl, begin to sing, begin the long slow trek to morning,