Hair of the Dog
“News got you down again?” the demon said,
Slipping into the seat across from mine.
The local café. Breakfast. Fresh-baked bread,
Good coffee, eggs and bacon, the weather fine.
And spilling like cold blood from the daily Times,
The entire world’s terrific ugliness –
Greed, murder, fear and hatred, howling crimes –
A planet’s accusations and distress.
The demon reached across and plucked a grape.
“You know,” he said, revealing a dog-eared deck,
“It’s just a matter of time. There’s no escape.”
He shuffled, then I cut. “This life’s a wreck,”
He said, “and the cold, dark house will always win.
Surely…” “Shut up,” I said, “just deal me in.”
by David Rothman
David J. Rothman has poems forthcoming in Appalachia, The Hudson Review, Lucid Rhythms, Many Mountains Moving, Measure, Mountain Gazette, Pilgrimage, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. Poems have recently also appeared in The Lyric, Light, Contemporary Sonnet, The Journal, Blue Unicorn, The Chiron Review, Unsplendid and Jewish Quarterly. He also publishes literary criticism and scholarship, along with mountain sports journalism. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons, and they all go regularly to the mountains to seek their good tidings.
They are most commonly insensible, and feele neither pin,
needle, aule, &c. pryked or thrust through them... They were
watched, only to keepe them waking: for indeed when they
be suffered so to couch, immediately comes their Familiars into
the room and scareth the watchers, and heartneth on the Witch...
--Matthew Hopkins, Witch-Finder General, The Discovery of Witches
A flicker of quick shadow in the eye's
corner speaks more proof to me than volumes
bound in red leather, set in neat array;
an imp of connotation infallibly
points where no goodwife, under her husband's hand,
should be revealed complaisant to the letch:
points out the third teat luring Vinegar Tom,
Hop and Pyewacket to her secret parts.
Naked, awake, watch through the nights and days
to learn that one, true syllable you know
you long to say. My prick about your body
charts the insensible from the agony,
thrills out the very spot, the compact zone
you made with him you never could deny.
by Paul Stevens
Paul Stevens was born in England but lives in Australia with his wife and numerous children, pets, citrus trees and raucous birds. He has an Honours degree in English and teaches literature. He edits The Chimaera with Peter Bloxsom, and he is widely published online and in print, most recently or imminently in Shakespeare's Monkey Revue, Bumbershoot, Snakeskin, Lighten Up, Soundzine, qarrtsiluni, Mannequin Envy and The HyperTexts.