“May” suggests potential paths, offering not the certainty of resolution but the allure of possibilities.
In this spirit, our eighty-ninth issue grapples with some tough questions. What have you lost? What if the circus didn’t have to die? What was Mary Jane Kelly like before she met Jack the Ripper? What’s in the box? Why aren’t you a spoon? Does this month’s cover art include an ouroboros?
Scry it online or summon the .pdf.
Mary Jane rang an Irish refrain,
drunk on Ten Bells whiskey.
Her unpolluted apron ablaze,
she surrendered a scarlet shawl
and her weary wildgrass heart
to the rogue incubus cloaked
in the serrated fog, haunting
every step of squalid streets,
preying on its darkest shadows.
She placed the native beauty berries
upon her wooden churchyard grave,
marked with the Unfortunate’s brand
she seared upon her own scars
when she abandoned everywhere
that could tie her to anyone.
In the end, there was nothing
she would not do
for a fire.
MEGAN MEALOR resides in Jacksonville, Florida, and works full-time as a mother, writer, and pet-sitter. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Digital Americana, 4 and 20, Midnight Circus, The Rathalla Review, Obsessed With Pipework, Hello Horror, Dark Moon Digest, Belle Reve, Skidrow Penthouse, Broad!, Deep South, Black Heart Magazine, The Belleville Park Pages, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Rat’s Ass Review, Better Than Starbucks, The Front Porch Review, and, most recently, a ten-poem feature in Sick Lit Magazine. Her writing style is patchwork potpourri infused with venom, volcanoes, and raw clarity.
You were just out for a walk
you tell Virgil when you run into him on the path —
just taking the dog for a stroll in the woods —
you’re pretty sure you know the way forward
the path may not be straightforward,
but you’re confident you haven’t lost it.
Virgil gestures to a gaping hole,
a gash filled with darkness
where the leaves and rocks
have been pushed aside,
a hole that was not there
the last time you walked this way.
The hole is big enough to drive
your minivan down into it,
and maybe even do a three point turn.
His gaze says,
one must go down in order to ascend,
and the two of you stand looking into the black
while your dog pulls at his leash.
You consider the lions and panthers of your life.
You realize Virgil is here by invitation.
What have you lost? you ponder.
Is today the day to make the descent?
MARK BONICA was a soldier once, and young, but neither of these anymore. These days he teaches management at the University of New Hampshire where he enjoys helping launch young people on their own grand adventures. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the Loch Raven Review, Words Dance, Oak Bend Review, Vagabondage, and others.