Buzz Kill by Dale Champlin

What is so mesmerizing about a quarter inch of beer?It’s more than I might want    but a binge for a fruit fly. One-by-one they muscle up to the bar        take a sip,list off the barstool        dead drunk        then just dead. And yet—      body floating,      wings askew,      each one takes a little tipple        before the big sleep. The saloon’s amber walls rise        slick and slippery.None of the fruit flies        trust their wings. Continue reading Buzz Kill by Dale Champlin

The Thing About Sex by Dale Champlin

-after “Writing” by Charles Bukowski Wait until waiting hurts, wait some more,wait until it hurts like hell, until your ears ring and you can’t think,until you go blind in both eyes,until you want what you want more than anything.until you can’t think of anything elsebecause, yes, it is everything.All you can picture is his hand on your rumphis fingers in your mouth,his lip on your tongue,his face … Continue reading The Thing About Sex by Dale Champlin

I Wear You Like a Chinchilla Coat by Dale Champlin

I carry you like a kangarootoss you like a paper cupsing you like a high note. Don’t get me wrong,I am the boomerang who will always come back to you,a recurring dream,the tune you whistlewhile you wash the dishes,the romanceyou can’t seem to shake. Even so,you shake me like a maracapluck me like a bouquet, fly me like a paper plane. The truth is,I was never yours … Continue reading I Wear You Like a Chinchilla Coat by Dale Champlin

Making the Bed by Dale Champlin

I fold the duvet the way my mother ironed my father’s shirts.You could tell she wanted him to love her for it. Bed is my nirvana—softand feathery as a push-up bra I fluff up the pillows—recall last night’s catastrophe. That’s why I don’t want to remember dreams. They can be disturbing.Wakefulness is the planet I count on,my mother blood. Now that my father is deadmy mother no longer irons … Continue reading Making the Bed by Dale Champlin

Anchored Boat Lullaby by Dale Champlin

but I split wrong. Only my mind split—into an array of sirens withshow tunes played in between them. -Max Ritvo, “Stalking My Ex-Girlfriend in a Pasture” That night the three of us shared a banana split—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry—butterscotch drizzles,sprinkles, and whipped cream. We dressed to thenines—nothing unnatural between us. Tony Randall, Jack Benny, and Fred Astaire croonedand tripped behind us—Ziggy Stardust at the microphone.We presented … Continue reading Anchored Boat Lullaby by Dale Champlin

I Was Dealt a Sinister Hand by Dale Champlin

It’s a well-kept secret— put a bag over my headand I’m stunning—pleasedisregard the occasionalrattle and hiss. My body—how enticing—my limbslong and supple,my fingers ambi& dextrous,my ankles pliant & resilient. From the neck downI look good enough to eat—honeyed skin, choke cherry nipples,apricot breasts. Over a meadow my gait might glidebouncy and bubblyin pine-scented air. With the paper sack over my headI come across happy—yet—light a matchhow I … Continue reading I Was Dealt a Sinister Hand by Dale Champlin

Space Phobia by Dale Champlin

After I move out of here—if I make it—I want art, laughter and music. What is the term for the terrorof being alone in a huge open spacesomething like an asteroidtraveling at the speed of lightthrough vast emptiness?  I might tumble—a fear so pervasivethat at times I find myselfcrawling across the pine floor.Even then I might encounter a scorpion,a dozing rattler, or a black widow.While upright … Continue reading Space Phobia by Dale Champlin

A Faithful Housewife by Dale Champlin

after Federico García Lorca, An Unfaithful Housewife Translated from the Spanish by Conor O’Callaghan When I led Haroldto my rock by the pondI wondered if he was a virginthough he would soon be my husband. Would he guess that I was not?It took me so long to answer for myself—what does it mean to be a virgin?The peepers were chirping their lullaby. Was it the … Continue reading A Faithful Housewife by Dale Champlin

How Did Harold Die? by Dale Champlin

I ask, just to pass the time. Today for the first timein a long string of days,Old Shoe is lucid. “He died in an avalanche.No, it was a house firewhile I was on vacation. A car crash,” she said,“No wait, he was deliveringthe mail and a semi flattenedhis cart. He was a lumberjackand a widow-maker got him. Hewas cut in two by a freight train.He was … Continue reading How Did Harold Die? by Dale Champlin

Morality by Dale Champlin

Remember that I am your creature…                  —Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Scarlet-lipped, magnetic, full blown and unmothered,I am the blank page my maker writes on. I was a beautiful  unblemished creature. Clean as a crow-picked bone,pure as virgin milk and batter before eggs are added, bright as an albino fawn, an ivory tusk before it’s hacked,a lampshade, Elmer’s glue … Continue reading Morality by Dale Champlin