mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.
Meat piled atop rice
fragrant as red maple leaves
smattered with sour fruit.
A dirty joke floats
from the end of the table,
a cousin’s guffaw.
Goblets, shot glasses
stand sentry on crisp white cloth
awaiting spilled wine.
form creases in pursed lips,
sit beside father.
Five types of salad
slathered thick with mayonnaise
or hiding a fish.
Plastic wrap, peeled off,
congregates like heroine
on granite counters.
Sergei beats the drum,
pours out whiskey, slow, steady,
incessant but fair.
Aunties pinch cheeks red,
wipe gristle from mustaches,
their thumbs moist with spit.
Liver in the sink,
that fetid burgundy corpse,
waiting to be fried.
Small photos produced
from wallets, compared like notes
of grandkids and dogs.
Alex Simand lives and works in San Francisco. He holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. He writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. His work has appeared in Hippocampus, North American Review, Red Fez, Mudseason Review, Five2One Magazine, Angel City Review, Drunk Monkeys, and others. Alex is the former Blog Editor for Lunch Ticket and past Editor of Creative Nonfiction and Diana Woods Memorial Prize. His short story, Election Cycle, was a winner of the 2017 Best Short Fiction award. Find him online at www.alexsimand.com or on Twitter at @AlexSimand.
I have never slaughtered a pig.
My hands, though slathered with a sheen
Of melted flesh, are swiftly cleaned
With a simple paper towel.
The cottonwood trees watch. Whisper. A
lyrical business, theirs. Bored by the Wind
River, they turn toward the termite-nibbled
The Pacific begs me to swim away, anything
to keep us from strangling each other
on the boardwalk. The Freakshow
is where our love belongs, a two-headed
oddity feasting on dust and bone
This is how pleasure goes marauding
thinking twenty was happy
thinking faces you won’t believe
wrapped in a smell of hand
When she reeked of distraction, a dozen fools
set out to decant her childhood.
You work with doll pieces and cigar
boxes. Mirrors reflect limbs
suspended on toothpicks.
It’s easy to forget how weird Elvis was, sitting in the Atlanta airport on a Sunday morning, Viva
Las Vegas on every screen,
lined up at the bar with fellow travelers recently notified that alcohol is not for sale until 12:30 this afternoon.
Come chill with me and watch a show
Tonight, whenever, I don't know;
We'll listen to the new J. Cole,
And I will judge your nipple mole
look back, look back
you will be Rorschach
a print of a man
She’s not my aunt by blood,
so I’ve a chance to taste her.