Grim by Mitchell Grabois

I used to think Mexicans were grim. Dia de los Muertos. Skeletons driving wagons filled with avocados to market. Grinning skeletons driving hearses. But we all die, don’t we?

Eternal death joins eternal life, the cycles of nature, seed to rot.

Mexicans have their Dia de Los Muertos, but Americans worship death every day. In this militarized nation, we bow to the prosthetic device. We kiss the cold metal with our cold lips. We take our youth, make them soldiers, turn them into stick figures, make them heroes of the Paralympics.

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Queen’s Ferry Press’s Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.

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The Farmer and The Dog by Christine Brandel

On the way home today, I passed a farmer, walking back to the house after collecting his mail, trying to coerce his dog into carrying the envelopes in her mouth. An old dog, a new trick.

It is safe to assume this man was twice my age.

I wondered had he ever clasped his head in his hands, wailing “My God, what have I done?” Had he ever fallen to the floor, spilling photographs, pleading to be given another chance? Had he made a life changing decision that in his heart he knew was wrong?

Although less safe to assume, I decided no.

(He should have taught her when she was just a pup.)

Christine Brandel is a writer and photographer. In 2013, she published her first collection, Tell This To Girls: The Panic Annie Poems, which the IndieReader described as a “well-crafted, heartbreakingly vivid set of poems, well worth a read by anyone whose heart can bear it.” To balance that, she also writes a column on comedy for PopMatters and rights the world’s wrongs via her character Agatha Whitt-Wellington (Miss) at Everyone Needs An Algonquin. More of her work can be found at clbwrites.com. You can also follow Christine on Twitter.