Issue 14, Poetry: The Cure

by Alison McBain

Jump ahead to D-day. Morning comes in
heavy tread–the whine of mechanicals eats the air,
glass reflecting lines and shadows.
Underneath, it’s overtaken
the last crevice inside my body,
the whine of breath, of breathing.

Listen, you say.
There is no answer.

The tick of feet across the floor,
a final notification,
motion in the inner room,
dark drip of liquid.
How old am I, at the center?
On your knees, pretending–
a row of heads, disjointed,
bobbing in time to the beat,
the next step to swallow.

the breeze floats like ashes.
I see bodies
undulating over sand, water,
laughter in the background–
too young to have these concerns.

Outside the window,
the dull knife of clouds threatens
flames, paints the breast pink
like cancer flags.


I am more
than the mouth of bitter noise,
watching the distance
to here
from there
the ridge of paper ripping when
I stand.

I look at polka dots
tongue depressors
the cracked peach counter.
Underfoot, the brown shit carpet,
low numbers knocking together:
the last door.

A pale face turns down,
pages flare under fluorescent lights–
why won’t you tell me
is so fucking important there?

Don’t pretend to a body,
the tick-tock of a bare room,
rush of heat fading
from a cold heartbeat–
Put down my blood, my brain,
everything inside
boxes, check
off the charts.
The paper clock calls out
when I ask what it means.

Push of needle through bone,
last thread of strands
across your hand,
the end
pulling me apart–

Listen, you say.
There is no answer.

New Doc 2017-10-23_1


Alison McBain is an award-winning author with more than sixty short works published, including prose/poetry in Litro, FLAPPERHOUSE, The Gunpowder Review and The Airgonaut. She is the Book Reviews Editor for Bewildering Stories. In her spare time, she blogs about local author events and interviews writers at

Illustration by Shaunak Phadnis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s