She Swallows the World, by Amy Y. Zhang
see more artwork by Amy at foxglovehymnal.com/artwork
This is how you build a man.
(You cannot build a woman,
as they are tricky and build themselves.)
You must first glut yourself on motherlove.
Know that motherlove is deep and dangerous,
and if you think it too risky, wine will do.
(If you have a good source of motherlove, sell it.
Then you’ll have no need to build a man.)
Drink until you swell and belch, then eat
olives and oranges and day-old lamb,
pomegranate seeds. (Save a few.)
Fennel and parsley will clear your head.
When you cannot take another bite,
take two and three and stop.
These are certain objects novices use:
beeswax, dog bones, rose petals and moonblood.
These are not reliable.
(Those men are delicate and overwrought
and will melt if left in the car.)
Beg a barber for a bag of hair.
Buy an old leather coat.
Break the wineglass, sticky with juice,
over the plate and pomegranates.
Bury them in a pinewood box.
With three nights and a dream,
you will have yourself a man.
Give him a strong name, tell it to him often.
In the beginning, they’re quick to forget,
and wander, and roam, and swoon.
A constructed man is a flimsy thing.
If you ever need to tear him down,
simply call him by another name.
(The pine box will have your coat,
your plate, and your bag of hair.)
by Erin Rider
Far down the road from the City, where the gates of War stay ever open, there is a small village that knows peace. The village lies nestled in a valley, along the shores of a great lake. It has stood there for centuries, untouched by war or plague or famine. But the village has its stories. This one is mine.
by Gemma Files
(with apologies to Proverbs)
The lips of a strange woman drop honey
And her mouth is smoother than oil:
But her latter end is as bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
From the great dead heart she comes,
mincing out the summer kitchen door
into the front yard. Her tanned vest cannot feel
the wind, stiff breasts lopsided. Skin puttees
contract with cold ‘round hairy thighs,
the toybox hung aflap
at her crotch’s crease salted-stiff
with silver paint, fringed in red ribbon:
A valentine sent straight from Babylon.
All up around Friendship, Wild Rose, Plainfield,
is sand country, near Sand Lake.
The sky presses hard in daytime, cataract-pale.
Nights the moon shines down, illimitable and pure,
just as it once did on
the blue faces of Civil War dead, while
Whitman stood weeping; just as it once did
on the steps of Tenochtitlan.
by K. M. Chavez
She comes to town in June, a few weeks after the shell-shock of graduation. You almost don’t notice her the first time she comes in, too weighed down by your waitressing job, your three college rejection letters. But some guy you went to school with for twelve years holds the door open for her and tells her some stupid joke and she laughs. You look up. She’s wearing tiny bells for earrings and more necklaces than you thought possible.
You aren’t even aware that you’re staring until she glances your way. She tucks dark hair behind her ear and smiles at you and you feel yourself blush. You look away and rush across the small diner, delivering Eric Wilson his breakfast. You ignore his attempts to flirt with you with automatic amusement. He’s almost seventy years old and flirts harmlessly with every girl between the ages of eighteen and thirty.
“Nice, pretty girl like you,” he’s saying as you watch this mysterious new girl lean against the register and talk to poor Lenny MacDonald, who looks like he’s going to cry of Pretty Girl Syndrome. “How come you don’t have a boyfriend? It’s just not right.”
“I guess I just haven’t found the right person yet,” you say, not taking your eyes off of her.
Judith in Repose, with Severed Head
The children feel it
though it makes no noise.
In the past three weeks,
there have been eight
In the morning, each was found eviscerated
but not bloodless.
The ranchers’ children talked of
something moving in the night, but
no one believed them
until James Fenny saw it too.
The media calls it a chupacabra, but
we know better here.
It lumbers across our fields,
an anatomical horror with a canine face, which snaps
with the jaws of a coyote
but has the rough, mottled hide of a cow.
Stranger still is how its front legs end
not with paws but flippers.
Its labored locomotion fails to hinder it.
If you stare too long,
you’ll fall under the spell of its hypnotic eyes,
which fascinate and fabricate tranquility.
They say the Rundell boy, who was just a toddler,
died that way last Saturday.
All I can say is
bolt the door and lock the windows
before it comes for
by Katherine Weinberg
They all knew the rules: shuffle the cards and dare to ask your question. Flip the card over for the answer. Red means yes, black means no. Start with, “Spirit, are you with us?” and end with, “Spirit, may we leave?” You have to ask permission, or the spirits claim what’s theirs.
“It’s always right,” Brittni-with-an-i told Georgia and Sato. At first Georgia had given her a hard time for playing around with that cut-rate ouija board. But then Brittni told her they could play in the next-door graveyard Friday after sunset. Georgia nearly dropped her backpack full of R.L. Stine books in excitement.
What lurks beneath the sand this night,
what rises with the waning light
from black shores, rotting and reeking
as though dead, yet moaning and shrieking
as it heaves its pale green corpse onto the rocks
‘tis a kelpie, child,
roaming the loch,
searching for the innocent,
in deepest darkness lost.
In moonlight gleaming it stands apart,
and even those with fearless hearts it drags
into the deep, the waterlogged cold
to devour the screams of the heedlessly bold
as they bubble toward the mirrored surface.
Beware the kelpie, child!
Beware the shallow shoals!
Do not go near the loch, my son,
for the depths Death’s secrets hold.