Back to Issue Twenty-Three.

Derailed on the Way to a Halloween Party

BY BRIAN CLIFTON

It was the season of car wrecks and continual blood flow

                        to our sex organs.
I spat him out. I drank him in.
I called to the Lord, and the Lord

was silent. You were driving, he said
as he zipped up and buckled his belt.

Over the horizon, the sirens flashed like thousands

*

                        of miniature sunrises
in the mirror—my face painted
as a corpse. Breathe easy, he said

and put the car in park. In the headlights’
stray beams, the Volvo’s crumpled nose,

the glass lodged in our palms
like a new skin. Our world

became very small. It rested on my tongue

*

                        and turned into a milky geode.
Then from the shadows, the people descended

                        and tore the driver from the destroyed

vehicle. The police cars ululated in the dark street.

I gagged on the fumes. When my mouth opened,
another row of teeth gleamed under the set I had

*

painted on my lips. He had already fled.
I watched. In my mind, the city
swallowed him as lovers sometimes do.

 

 

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Brian Clifton co-edits Bear Review. He is a PhD. candidate at the University of North Texas. His work can be found in PleiadesGuernicaCincinnati ReviewSalt HillPrairie Schooner, the Journal, and other such magazines. He is an avid record collector and curator of curiosities.

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