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issue 6.04   ::   spring 2017
Scary Bush

Our bravest contributors have shared with us some of their more earnest efforts from the misty past. Scary Bush should not be reviewed while in the process of drinking liquids, and the reader assumes all risk.

The Powder Wig Texan Rides his Theocrasteed

Jen Stein

Going Nowhere

Katelyn Delvaux (age 16)

Standing in a bookstore, he tells her love is complicated.
It is a finger opened by thick pages, open and aching—
he trails a hand along the top shelf to thumb the maps of Amsterdam,
his fingers wagging boats caught in the canals.
Her words fumble over dust jackets as she dares to open him,
to skim his gaping stomach, wonder at the shiver of ribs in the wind.
And in the pockets of his chest sit the women in their glass cages.
Milky blonds in red and black burn inside him,
tulips break ground and he tells her it was never meant to be.

They drive in the whetted hum of anger,
Amsterdam folded neatly in plastic at her feet
the receipt souring in his pocket.


Sonia Greenfield (in the young partier days)

My cat loves me too much:
He tucks his head under my chin
and a string of drool wraps my neck
like a glass chain clasped
at my nape — this is what I’ve created.

Down on all fours in the shower I think
I never meant to raise him so messy. The drain’s
wet hole agape, it tells me the old story
of sickness with a sucking voice.
I set my ear close.

Prepared to reply, I want my body to enact
its inner heaving, to answer with my vortex
swirling down that chrome mouth
fixed with its O
of mock surprise.

But my gag reflex is weak.
I can’t even control
my own physical needs.
Sleep, for instance,
the moon’s sister-shadow

hasn’t visited my bedside for nights.
She’s been replaced by the neighbor’s porch light,
glaring through my blinds
like an angry ex-lover. I may need
to blanket the window soon.

Darkness for darkness,
because the mirrored medicine chest
opens only to love in tiny blue doses,
and the shiny doors
show what I was afraid of.

The salt wash over crescents
under my eyes, two new half-moons
silvering their luminescence, I shiver
in the chill of pre-dawn and think
I never meant to become so messy.

Remote ranch-style,
split level,

Tiffany L. Thomas

If you must leave me,
do not leave me here,

not in the hovel of these memories
not in the wreckage of this self

in its gutted kitchen -
shattered formica tiles
fractured laminate cabinets
pipes bent and bursting rust

in its ancient attic -
of polypropylene windows
and rotting cardboard islands
of misfit celebrations
sinking into a cellulose sea

If you must leave me,
at least leave me whole.

not in this childhood half renovated
not in this future half formed

wallpaper scratched
and scored and scoured -
its curled tendril fingers
reaching for that unfinished, refinished floor
porcelain cracked
and caulked (but still) crumbling
filled with waters stagnant and
succumbing to frost

If you must leave me,
then do so finished.

after the boarding of the windows
and the razing of the yard
begone price matched platitudes
begone curbside bazaar

Leave me
to the lashings of the wind,
waiting where the pavement begins

Leave me with your laughter
thudding down the stairs your
silence soaking up the midnight your
curses stumbling down the hall your
key turning in the lock

Leave me
to settle with our foundation.

Tenderized Buttons

Tom Mock

“It shows that dirt is clean when there is a volume.”—Gertrude Stein.

Waking in the silent dusk. The dawn shudders beyond the hillock. Locked in the room tramping my heart beats. The cage of every night rattles against the blows. Tonight must surely be different, thought the boy, muttered, laced with his prayer. Tonight I will not wake. Every thing the same. Ground into the rut. Groaning, life traces dragged along the mud, see them here. The deposits of one so young. There was his youthful exuberance. Here his springing step. Watch this divot. The stain upon the hole is precious. It was his hopeful indiscretion. The older boys were not kind. So violent that we do not understand. Understated their own pains. The traces of that night are hidden yet behind their forced smiles. They look away from this house and his room, these markings, as they pass by to the water side. Roughness is not what he fears. Only another sleepless night. Alone. This room is that hole. It will never be filled again as long as he lies awake.

Here a breath. She, hair down, swaying. The wind. A countryside of mud and grass waving out the train window. The trolly-man bumps her elbow with his cart. 'scuse me, madam. That was her name. Lorallell. Such women as these are folklore. Mist to the rest. Tempting the sprites of your lonely forest. Remember? There, under the lilly-willow, you found her lazing. And you were never the same, no matter what you did then. They hang paintings like that in museums, you know.