A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Donald Illich

has published poetry in The Iowa Review, LIT, Nimrod, Passages North, and other journals.
He is a technical writer in Rockville, Maryland.

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Planet Dismal

Dismal clouds surround
our city. We send trained
attack babies to rip out
enemies’ bottles, shred
their pink skin with first
new teeth. In turn our foes
drop stuffed animals laced
with cyanide for us to chew,
set up fake breasts with
exploding jets of milk.
Their puppy dog’s secret
raid empties our coffers
of bone. Our cat conspiracy
robs them of fishes on lines
and parakeets. We hope
the clouds will lift soon,
so we can see children.
That’s why we hurt each
other: jump ropes strangle,
jacks choke adult throats.


Week Prisoner

A prisoner counts his days
on the wall. Monday goes
unnamed, a brilliant soldier
slaughtered and lost in an
unknown tomb. Tuesday
sets itself on fire, refuses
to roll over to save its life.
Wednesday slams itself
into the middle of a week,
creates a motionless hump.
Thursday almost makes it,
tour of duty nearly done,
throws itself on a grenade
to save time. What about
Friday? The condemned
sketches a scaffold and a
stick figure walking up
stairs. Around it, chalk
slashes crowd the scene,
symbolizing a number of
torments soon to disappear.
Saturday a brush will scrub
concrete. The week will
fade with the body’s lines.