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Chanel Dubofsky, JJ Goss, John Sweet

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Chanel Dubofsky is a New Englander by birth and currently resides in Oberlin, OH. Her poetry, short fiction and creative non fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Zeek, Hazmat, the Queens College Journal of Jewish Studies, and the Hadassah Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University.

This is Why We Can Never Have Nice Things

At age eleven, I murder the coffee table. I gouge with every available implement: thumbtacks, Lefty scissors, the plastic hand of my Barbie accomplice (who really should have known better). It is a slow death. In the end, there is nowhere to hide the body. When I am finally caught, the pads of my fingers fill the cracks of my homemade disaster. It is the stupidest lie I have ever told.

When my mother is dying, her skin sucking her bones like tentacles, we discuss important details: her curio cabinet with tiny vases and fragile teacups; clothes in her closet still in their store wrappers. She’s saving them for a special occasion; the discovery of a new planet, the victory of a coup in a small foreign country.

The invitation comes at two thirty in the morning. "Would you like to come and see the body?" I am just awake. In the tangled blur of consciousness, there is a woman plucking a perfect nectarine from a blue crystal bowl with slim and beckoning fingers. The most beautiful part is her hands reaching.


JJ Goss resides in Marlborough Massachusetts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Happy, The New England Writers Journal, Red Booth Review, and Slow Trains.  Her short story, “Missing a Beat,” was nominated for a 2001 Pushcart Prize.
 

Sin

snow falls outside the glass globe

and inside move the little people

with chipped smiles

everyone can see what goes on inside

the house with no walls

the tiny tea party and everyone is so

nicely behaved don’t lift your dress up

watch out for boys who look up from the bottom

of the stairs keep jars of sweet sacrifice

on your dresser but don’t taste the candy

before the inspection

 

we wondered how the seed was planted

in quiet parental beds and did it ever get lost

in the sheets washed with the laundry

babies softened and rinsed down the drain

we remembered to put a piece of paper

on a boys lap before sitting

leave some room for the holy ghost

cover the bright red with white lace

tame it down pull it tight wash yourself

with holy water there’s a razor blade

in every apple

 

kiss with your tongue move with the rhythm

let your hair down ugly girl with the good ass

he has risen

it was different with the pillow

the Kotex manual had pages missing

talk to strangers now talk dirty baby

everyone’s doing it but you

snakes are coiling at your feet

rosaries wrapped around your fingers

whisper in dark closets describe your sins

in delicious detail squint to see through a little door

talk to the shadow and faint in the green rubber raincoat

while kneeling at the altar and reciting five our fathers

looking up and seeing Jesus

naked after all

John Sweet has work in Unlikely Stories, Scribbles, Tryst and others. His Full length collection is Human Cathedrals.

Shaping the Future with Broken Hands

quiet again in the
room of empty chairs
except for maybe
the sound of dust

maybe the absence of
your boyfriend
or the memory of his fists

the way that
drawing blood can be
called love

the names of
your children

their small
perfect mouths filled
with broken glass

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