"Creature of the Depths"
i used to like you
until you revealed
to be the knife in my back,
a creature of the
without mercy or consideration,
always expecting me
to drop everything at a moment's notice
simply to spend every moment
and you wouldn't respect the boundaries
i put up so i cut you out
now you won't leave my mother alone
wish you could just take the hint
don't want any balls and chains dragging me down
your negativity was toxic
to my health,
and i am done crucifying myself;
i'm over everything
to do with you
just realize that our garden of friendship has withered and died
i'm not coming back to chains--
no longer enslaved
by your negativity i have found a peace
that i am not willing to surrender
for your sake,
and a happiness that i have friends now that appreciate
that i need some alone time but they also include me
in ways you never would.
"From Being Shattered"
i remember seeing
of a creature in the field
looking at me,
and it turned out to be a little
our eyes met and we looked at one another
for the longest time
until he ran away retreating into the long grasses--
sometimes i find myself in unexpected
in fields real and imagined
running from the dangers of this world,
and so i could identify
with this little fox curious but also afraid;
running to prevent his ruin--
sometimes, though, perhaps it was unnecessary
maybe i would find
a kindred spirit in an unexpected place;
but i've met too many devils with the faces of angels
to take anyone at face value
i retreat deep within
to prevent myself from being shattered.
Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian writer whose poetry, short stories, essays, etc. have been featured in many anthologies and magazines both online and in print. She has five published chapbooks, the latest of which was titled splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018).
This isn’t like fixing a Monet after someone has punched it. Horrible things are happening. My foremost thought is, “I want macaroni and cheese next time. I haven’t had it in years.” All of a sudden EMTs rush past with a man on a stretcher, his face covered in blood and bite marks. I scream something – in terror, I suppose. The last time I was so unsteady was probably when my mother died. I feel like any minute now I might look up and see her in the window of a plane
waving. A policewoman orders me to move along. And I was just about to ask, “What advice do you have for young people?” It was only a couple of days ago that some kids grabbed a classmate and persuaded him with fists and sticks and colorful arguments that one eye is enough.
"Are You Fucking Kidding Me?"
Groups of friends arrive on the hour every hour. A guard with the enflamed eyes of a drunk demands identification from them, but in a voice too faint to hear. You need to be patient at this stage. People don’t remember and sometimes I think they don’t even understand where they are. Cows roam around with butcher knives in their backs to make slaughtering easier. There are countless dead rabbits. A fly can't land on a fruit tree without first begging permission. So I just
sit here with my mouth open, I do, because I’m getting older now, and it’s hard work.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.