Brian D. Moore

Thump. There’s that noise again. He rolls toward it and presses his hand to the wall. It is cold and wet with the damp. The light leaking under the door of his cell flickers in the beads of sweat on his hand, sparking a favorite memory that takes him far away from this place–to a vision of his sister Anne, giggling in her sequined party gloves.

Thump. And again. And this time he feels it. A beat against his hand. And with it, a dark droplet comes out of the wall by the tips of his fingers, and grows until the wall can’t hold it. It runs down the wall, under his raised thumb, swallowing the smaller beads in its path until it is lost in a deep crack.

Thump. He kicks the tattered wool blanket off his bare legs and slips to the floor. It is cold where the wet has puddled. He huddles on his knees and elbows, shuddering violently, his face pressed into his hands. Is he safe here? Safe from the sound?

Thump. No. It rings through the solid link of bone on rock and chatters his teeth. He crabs across his cell and scoots into the corner, his arms wrapped around his knees. He knows the sound now. They are coming.

Thump. Who will they take? Whose turn is it to be led to the chambers below? Never to be seen again, but to be heard. Piercing

Thump. screams, sharp until snapped off, silenced forever.

Thump. Are his efforts to escape too late? Will he

Thump. be hauled below to be stretched

Thump. apart? Torn limb from

Thump. limb?

Silence. Except for his heart pounding against his ribs and the squeak of skin against skin as he squeezes his knees to his chest. His cell door creaks slowly open and he presses farther back into the corner, his faced twisted in fear, eyes wild. A giant shaggy form looms over him, framed in the light from beyond. Click. The room is flooded with a blinding light. He shields his eyes with both hands, protecting them from a blaze brighter than any he has seen since they locked him away so many years ago. An innocent man.

“John! What are you doing still up? Get in bed this instant!. You have a soccer game first thing.”

“Mo-om. Call me Monte.”

“That’s it. No more scary movies for you,” she shoos him into bed. “Besides, his name wasn’t Monte, he was the Count of Monte Christo.”

As the cell-keeper leaves he drifts off, a small smile pressed into his soft pillow.


“Although I am new to fiction writing, I have already had success with three stories.” Brian (bmoore[at] has work published or forthcoming in The Prairie Light Review, Spring Hill Review, and Agrippina.

The Dinner Dance

Ruth M. Malins

She stirs,
savoring the aroma of
homemade stew
simmering on the stove.
The two children chatter
at the kitchen table set for four.
A door slams shut.

He glares at her
turns his back
slaps his paycheck on the table.
She dare not
let him see her pain
so she peels another onion.

He staggers
out of the kitchen
kicking the cat as she passes
muttering under his breath
as he makes his slow descent
down the cellar stairs
where he’ll drink his supper

Later, she huddles with the children on the sofa.
There are monsters in the closet
in the shadows
in the darkness—
but the most terrifying
is the one
who is, mercifully,
passed out on the bed.


“I am a 57-year old environmental educator, working for a nonprofit organization. I just began writing poetry after a 40-year hiatus. I also enjoy creating visual art.” E-mail: RuthHVA[at]

Colourless Fire

Alan Peart

and then the rain of colourless fire
on the children dancing all night in warehouses
skin greasy like candles, dark wicks of hair,
chewing on rat poison, speaking in silent tongues
blind in the embrace of the mother heartbeat

in the living rooms of strange houses, black paper
holding the creeping dawn from the windows
sweat streaking the walls, bodies swaying
like fronds of seaweed, sleeping heads on stalks
drifting forgetfully down the dry ice river

when you’re coming up, do you like to talk?
or to hug, dance, fuck, sing, laugh, cry—
to make a crucifix of yourself against the sun
something to hold back demons and daylight,
to exchange a year, three years of life just for tonight

magnesium babies burning karma, like sadhus
in their years of penance, palms pierced
by their own fingernails, limbs withered,
eyes bright, gaze unmeetable, bodies twisting
like saplings in a slow flame, the ecstasy kids

rubbing each others cheeks and bellies
chewing spearmint and smoking menthol
crushed and burnt and moulded into each other
this is how they learned to link hands
across their void, and they don’t care how it ends


“I am a 28-year old writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction currently living in Leeds, England. My poetry has been published in The Trinity Poetry Broadsheet and The Stinging Fly, both publications based in Dublin, Ireland, where I lived until recently. I am also co-editor of dreamvirus, an e-zine for poetry, prose and artwork.” E-mail: alan[at]

Three Poems

Edward J. Renehan Jr.

Thoreau On Monadnock

He imagined old Indian trails:
marched pleasantly through the rain
(content, alone)
and sought arrowheads
on the saturated flank.

He slid down the gravel, wore
his soul like a hat,
and then wandered up once more,
up, above the treeline.

The wind always blows on this top
spot: the bald head of
the craggy mountain.
Erosion proceeds with strict
precision: more reliable than even
the atomic clock.

I always look for Henry here on this
peak with no shadows.
Rain collects where the stone
inhales. And if the rain is new, then you
are safe to drink before
you start your journey


Let The Veterans Dance

Let the veterans dance,
in their

Let them sway their hips
and raise their arms
like Hallelujah.

They reach for youth
that has flown
like an angel

They reach for something
that is dead as far
as regards

Let them bounce and wiggle
to the old songs.

Let them proceed
unobstructed to wherever
they must


The Broken Place

I’ve been to the broken place where the new road
tramples what was for
so long: what was then
and now will never
be again.

I’ve searched for traces of the old proud
house, but
found no sign of her succumbing.
Only the chill of

Ghosts, I imagine, still occupy those rooms
that are not there, those rooms that are
They sit at midnight in their familiar
chairs. They turn their eyes from the
high beams of the

and they wonder what has become
of their world.


Edward J. Renehan Jr. (erenehan[at] is a Rhode Island-based poet and writer of nonfiction. His books include The Kennedys at War, The Lion’s Pride, The Secret Six and John Burroughs: An American Naturalist. Renehan’s poetry has appeared in The American Scholar and other journals.


Lindsay Vaughan

Mother and father
joined by the hands of Eleanor—
she buys the diapers
and the car
and the house.
She writes a check for everything.

She keeps stale potato chips
in a glass jar on the kitchen table.
And though she loved us all,
she invented her own truths:

Jennifer is not a lesbian;
Susan is not crazy;
David really loves me;
apologies are not needed.

I had a sister once,
but she was taken away
because the excitement of Eleanor
caused her to vomit all over the front steps.
Her picture was kept in a drawer in the living room—
“She might be in Ohio‚Ķ or maybe New York.”

They’re both locked in my memories,
of third and fourth and fifth birthday parties,
of candy bracelets and grandpa’s stories,
and shoving my face into a chocolate cake.

Maybe I could have stopped her from falling,
but now I keep her face inside a gold pocket—
a reminder of the many times she nursed me back to health—
a little girl lying in Nana’s sheets,
called to arms soft and translucent.


“I am a nineteen year old American girl, currently living in Leeds, England. I work in a pokey little book store in the city centre, and spend most of my spare time reading, writing and meditating. My husband and I run an online literary publication, called dreamvirus magazine.” E-mail: lindsay[at]