The afternoons are the worst,
the brightness not fading fast
enough when you have gone
nowhere and seen no one. You
when the past threatens to break
linger in the valley of dry bones
your heart. You scroll the channels
on Sirius, certain there’s something
better than the Grateful Dead station
that has been playing for weeks,
but no matter how many songs you hear,
you always end up back with the Dead.
The Night Market of Ghosts
The ground moves with snakes,
and the sky bleeds red streaks,
as if the night couldn’t leave
without a fight, and all your dreams
are tragedies where no one dies,
but everyone suffers. In your past
life when you woke up hungover, you’d
think, Anything is better than this.
You were a confection, a little
dead around the eyes, the kind
of woman people describe as
pretty in a hard way. And you
refuse to go gently into that good
night. And let’s face it. Not all
of them were good ones. You don’t
care. There is nothing you can do
about it now. Gather the pieces
as best you can even if they cut you.
Michelle Brooks has published her work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Gargoyle, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Her latest collections of poetry, Pretty in A Hard Way (Finishing Line Press) and The Pretend Life (Atmosphere Press) were published in 2019. She has published a novella titled Dead Girl, Live Boy with Storylandia Press. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in the city of Detroit.
Emerson Little is pursuing a degree in Digital Media Production at Whittier College. His body of work ranges from landscape photography to graphic design and multimedia pieces. He has previously been published in Burningword Literary Journal, saltfront, and Toho Journal. He recently designed the poster for the independent film, Carlos Through the Tall Grass. Emerson’s passion for photography has led him to specialize in the strange and unusual elements of the American southwest.