mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.
Meat piled atop rice
fragrant as red maple leaves
smattered with sour fruit.
A dirty joke floats
from the end of the table,
a cousin’s guffaw.
Goblets, shot glasses
stand sentry on crisp white cloth
awaiting spilled wine.
form creases in pursed lips,
sit beside father.
Five types of salad
slathered thick with mayonnaise
or hiding a fish.
Plastic wrap, peeled off,
congregates like heroine
on granite counters.
Sergei beats the drum,
pours out whiskey, slow, steady,
incessant but fair.
Aunties pinch cheeks red,
wipe gristle from mustaches,
their thumbs moist with spit.
Liver in the sink,
that fetid burgundy corpse,
waiting to be fried.
Small photos produced
from wallets, compared like notes
of grandkids and dogs.
Alex Simand lives and works in San Francisco. He holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. He writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. His work has appeared in Hippocampus, North American Review, Red Fez, Mudseason Review, Five2One Magazine, Angel City Review, Drunk Monkeys, and others. Alex is the former Blog Editor for Lunch Ticket and past Editor of Creative Nonfiction and Diana Woods Memorial Prize. His short story, Election Cycle, was a winner of the 2017 Best Short Fiction award. Find him online at www.alexsimand.com or on Twitter at @AlexSimand.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.
She’s been sitting in the passenger seat of my car for a week.
She won’t wear her seatbelt and she won’t come in at night.
We are the easy targets
to the men who hide behind
the thin veil of life
the men in Washington
who pretend that they care.
It’s nice to scream
“This is what democracy looks like”
With a hundred people you’ve never met before.
Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down