Hard labour was good for you, he said,
and by now sweat splotched his shirt,
his face had runnels of sweat, like the four
of us, two couples ripping rotted shingles
from the house, mid-July, humid, windless,

already my arms ached and the sweat stung
my eyes, but it would be good for me, I knew,
not just in the way he said but because I wanted
to rid my body of desire for him, forbidden
desire, since he was my best friend’s husband,

so I slid my hammer to get purchase and pulled
until a shingle loosened, again, again, he said
maybe we should stop for a beer but I wanted
to keep going, I wiped my eyes with the bandana
my own husband handed me, and my best friend

said she didn’t want a beer, she wanted a long
hot soak, and I saw the two of them making love
in the hot tub, and I wished we were shingling
the house instead of unshingling it, so I could
hammer, hammer, hammer desire away,

and then he said he’d been reading a book
about perspective, it got a little too technical
in parts but was worth the slog because of
the reminder that no one could see what someone
else saw, think about it, even this, he said,

even the four of us out here in this fucking heat
ripping shingles I should’ve ripped five years ago,
not one of us can see what the others see.
I’m here, you’re there, he said, and that’s all
there is to it: we’re alone, we’re in this alone.

Lynne Knight

(Lynne Knight’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review,Ontario Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, RATTLE, Southern Review and ZYZZYVA; she has also published eight collections of her poetry)


January 26, 2016

My cell phone’s dead zones chase me from room to room
to the front patio, where I finally hear Mom ask
if I’ve read some article from thirteen years ago
about how to peel a prawn. I hate prawns, which she knows, frozen
turds thawing in my colander until they turn translucent—
apostrophes ready for E-Z Peeling and disguising with spice.
She’s asking if I’ve heard of Heather McHugh, one of my favorite poets,
and the interview she did in that article called “How to Peel
a Poem.” She says she knows I don’t like shrimp, although they are easy
and they keep in the freezer. My mom, who knows all the dead poets
I loathed to learn about, who won some prize in eighth grade
for a poem about her home state, Kansas, who taught literature, who eggs me on,
who has no-need-to-write-herself, but has a lifetime of story
leaking out by cell phone. My Nana, too, dying at ninety-four—
she wouldn’t write her story, either, would not even dictate when I begged her.
I had college before babies, not babies before finals. I was post Roe v. Wade,
post-feminist, poster girl for the generation who learned math
from fathers. Post-everything, so I had to choose. My daughter believes
what I say. I hope she’ll have kids, a career, great sex
even after kids, and get over her fear of math. I never tell her
any of that. Who am I to, who am I? I peel pre-slit shrimp, the easy way.

Jill Klein

(Jill Klein has poems published or forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Borderlands, Cold Mountain Review, Rattle, and multitudinous others. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, cats and bougainvillea).

Do I love killing?

January 26, 2016


A short while later, as I stare down at the bodies of the six men I have just killed, I cannot help but wonder: Do I love killing? Of a certainty, I love the way my body and weapons move as one; I revel in the knowledge of where to strike for maximum impact. And of a certainty, I am good at it.

Robin LaFevers
Dark Triumph

put a bullet in his head

January 26, 2016

Liam, soon-to-be-fucking-dead, Callahan was walking down the stairs—my fucking stairs—with his sex hair high and his green eyes sharper than razor blades. He was beautiful, and I almost regretted the fact that I would have to put a bullet in his head and then smash it through a fucking wall.

J.J. McAvoy
Ruthless People


January 26, 2016

Torture TuesdayTorture Tuesday_the-fall-of-the-house-of-usher

Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied. 

 Jane Austen

 Pride and Prejudice

Torture Tuesday_dungeon__manzanedo
The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green
Looking for Alaska
Torture Tuseday-torturechasmberofdrsadism
She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.

Jonathan Safran Foer
Everything Is Illuminated
Torture Tuesday_the-house-that-screamed
“As a matter of fact,” the other voice went on, “if you do tie her up from time to time, or whip her just a little, and she begins to like it, that’s no good either. You have to get past the pleasure stage, until you reach the stage of tears.”

Pauline Réage
Story of O
Torture Tuesday_Pitandpendlum
A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart, and for a brief period I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon recovering, I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre.

Edgar A Poe
The Pit and the Pendulum