A Bucket List Diary Entry
(from Molly Gaudry)
Last time, the dog drowned, so I crawled into the reservoir and pulled his body free. He wasn’t my dog, but he was a good dog, I could tell. I pet his dead dog head, as if that might offer even more relief than being dead already does.
(from Robert Gluck)
I find Ed’s helpless corpse in bed, his jaw slack of human nature. I prepare my eulogy of cached collections: how I told him at our first meeting that the morning was the most appalling time of day; the babble language only we could understand, but not always; that time I cried because the day was no longer mine to give away; the unique imprint of his handwriting, how I would turn over the paper and feel the language blindly. I touch Ed’s face, the slow slope of his arm, his smooth immobile organs—mourning in my mother’s voice—calming, distancing.
(from Casey Gray)
The mother presses closer to the boy. He wipes his palm against his sweaty scalp. It’s too hot, he says, and she says, Do you want to see hot? She shows him videos of weather patterns on her iPhone until he stops pushing her away.
The Proper Utensil
(from Rebecca Hazelton)
Spooned contingencies and forked openings, she stands in the susceptible forest. This is not a place for little girls. Air spears at her skin, so she must decide on her route. Even little girls must choose the proper utensil for danger. She hesitates, spins a bottle, removes from her petticoat one knife after another, as small as a spindle needle, as broad as sound. She is a girl: prepared.
The Trial – I
(from Cathy Park Hong)
Hellswelt, he keels to a ground already cramped with the buried. His fingers wave through the soil, looking for radishes like looking for bones. But instead of the dead, he came back with the living, that limp girl who died seven years back, drowned in the nearly dry river. Brother, we put him on trial and decided he was guilty.
The Trial – II
(with Wendy Rawlings)
We, the bad and the raised, smite and suffocate the Prince. Because he did not kiss her; instead, he killed her. None of it made sense. We shower the Prince with fake fame and then when he is sleeping like a beauty, we put rope around his neck until all his blood stops its movement and he is a disconnected ghost, without body, without harps and angels, but terribly famous: stories will be written about him, about him and his trials against vines and shadowy magic, but they will all be occult lies, ones where he remains the pure hero, loving her truly. But she dies, do you hear us? He kills her and we do not need a trial for him. We know already. And so we pass his judgment into the splinters jutting into his pearl neck.
Lily Hoang is the author of four books, including Changing , recipient of a PEN Open Books Award. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What's Possible: Writers on the Avant-Garde and Accessibility. She teaches in the MFA program at New Mexico State University, where she is Associate Department Head. She serves as Prose Editor at Puerto del Sol and CNF Editor at Drunken Boat.