by Fabrice Poussin
It is hard to catch up with the character she plays
running from word to word, passing a period
down to another paragraph to the end of a chapter
so eager she is to reach the grand finale of her own story.
Always she wants to close the cover and find refuge
within the sheets of the unfinished romance
in a perilous cliff-hanger safe from the rest of us
alone in the dark corner of our unwanted thoughts.
Timid to the outsider she never looks from the page
dark spectacles give shelter to those disturbing gazes
hearing not a sound, she awaits the moment
when she too will commune with her dreams.
Peace is the only aim of this trembling soul
once trapped in the vise of a frenzied mob
life flows in her crimson rivers as in torrents
and all she wanted was an instant with her knight.
Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications.
by Abigail Barnett
A spectacled woman sat at the counter this evening. She handed Garrett the art museum’s friends-and-family-discount slip.
You’re here far too often, she said through her thin lipstick smile. You’re practically an exhibit yourself. They both laughed.
Garrett brought the slip of paper into his pocket and back out again. In and out it went as he passed the marble sculptures and empty stairwells. Garrett liked the new mixed media exhibit. He told the dragon carving so.
Garrett paused at the impressionist paintings, tracing the pattern of their curling frames with his eyes.
It’s too cold outside for you, he told them. His boyish fingers hovered above their white and citrus strokes like an orchestra conductor.
Then his hand jerked and he was pulled by the weight of his own body down the hallways. Shoulders swaying, eyes open to all the colors he knew that he knew. His body lilted from wall to wall, as if floating homeward around the corners.
Perhaps the last visitors saw him: one green coat swimming past the last guests. Perhaps a bejeweled grandmother glimpsed his white shoes flash on the hardwood floor. Perhaps the intercom announcing five more minutes didn’t reach the far corners of the museum. Perhaps there was one pair of gleeful footsteps echoing off the metal sculptures. Echoing off the glass cases. Echoing between the massive canvases. Echoing echoes. Perhaps it was only an echo.
Perhaps that’s why a stray man in blue uniform paused. He hovered over the last light switch. He couldn’t remember the install of a new exhibit back here: a life-size young man frozen mid-stride beneath the red glow of an Exit sign. The figure’s eyes were closed, one hand in his pocket, glancing backward as if he’d heard the security guard approaching. His other hand glinted, clearly made of plastic, above his shoulder; a sort of final wave.
Modern art, muttered the security guard. His own footsteps echoed away. They were the only sound for a long while afterward.
Abigail Barnett is a senior Psychology major at Corban University in Oregon. She didn’t know she enjoyed writing so much until she took a Creative Writing class on a whim last year. You can find her at one of Oregon’s many coffee shops (in the next two weeks before graduation), probably pretending to be a hipster and drinking far too much espresso.
by Robert Beveridge
The heat of the melted wax
draws the splinters from your hands.
You had been holding the shaft
of the hammer when it slid.
The little knives went deep,
broke off. I dripped
gloves of wax
over your hands
and the splinters rose.
It was what you needed,
you said, and the wax on me
sank in, nestled itself
around my heart, drew out
Robert “Goat” Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in The Nixes Mate Review, Violet Rising, and The Road Less Travelled, among others.
by Fabrice Poussin
Once more she stands in the face of another soul
the smooth surface of century old looking glass
squinting at fragments of a self once whole.
The pulses in her breast beat inside the thin vessels
hovering timidly in the burning light of summer’s heat
she grasps only shards of her former thoughts.
when, little girl she pondered no such queries.
She may be that forgotten Renaissance girl in the attic
put to canvas by a hopeful lover from a distance
her fair complexion torn by the craquelure
at the jigsaw she has become to suspect so well.
Where does she begin, where are the boundaries
of so many parts in motion as she sits in fearful awe
sharp edges of the giggling teen she once was
cut deep at the dreams of a future she once fathomed.
Even the sorrow of a tear venturing down her lip
seems to break apart thus devoid of source or intent
her pain excruciating must remain hidden in her chest.
She is the kaleidoscope of her many dawns
a universe hoping to come together in a grand home
made of walls seamless of like a marble giant
idea of the child building days of carefree wisdom.
Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 350 other publications.
by Ariel Brinkley
One last sketch.
One last time.
It was a promise he’d made a thousand times but one he could never keep.
Charcoal dug beneath his fingernails, bits and pieces of it tumbling down from his artwork onto the steering wheel. Nightfall was upon them, the sun completely lost behind thick branches lining the clearing.
“I need light.” He flicked the headlights on, illuminating the area in a harsh white light. It created a halo effect around her golden locks, producing dark shadows behind her while highlighting her curvy figure. “No complaining now,” he smiled, dragging the charcoal along the length of the drawing’s hair. “I’m almost finished.”
His muse didn’t seem to mind. Instead she laid there in silence. No complaining, not even a blink of an eye. She was the perfect model, always had been. Which was why his car was littered with sketches of her, images drawn on 3×3 brightly colored sticky notes focusing on what he liked most about her. Like her eyes. Mouth. Even her unruly hair. He liked it all. The mere thought of her made his heart race.
With the finishing touches behind him, he collected each colorful masterpiece and brought it to her still body. Releasing them above her, each image tricked down mapping out the one sided journey they shared together. He knelt beside her, caressing her loose curls. “I promise.” He planted a kiss to her cold lips, her head rolling to an unnatural angle. She stared at him with bright blue eyes, dull and lifeless yet reflecting her fearful last moments.
Intrigued, he returned to her with his art supplies, sketching the look in her eyes. “One last sketch. One last time.” He whispered. So enveloped in his work, he paid no attention to the approaching flashing lights, to the sound of officer’s shoes splashing in the forest’s mud, secretly surrounding him with loaded guns. “I promise.”
Ariel Brinkley is a creator of many things and lover of everything creepy and cute. In her spare time, she enjoys writing novels, blogging, creating short films, and expanding her photography skills. Her hobbies include YouTubing, watching anime, playing video games, drawing wannabe anime characters, identifying voice actors, and consulting her friends through the art of comedic psychology.