VIII: Poetry by David Spicer & Photography by Jessica Schroer-Smalley, 2


But a Parable

Barbed wire adorns the steel
tombstones around this fort’s
perimeter, nooses and balloons
hang close to the trenches, and I’ll
soon declare my manifesto on the gate
after the dead assassins and luminaries
of Subterranea are collected
in the morgue. Don’t worry: we’ll pray
and offer praise for your lionized
sleepwalkers. I’m a realist and know
I’m no Greek icon, that
you allow me to marry Queen
Anemone, whose umbrella
protects me. Don’t shun or
scuttle me, dear conquered,
don’t hate me or be terrified
of this speech. Pretend it’s
a commencement, observe as my
skull illuminates like a yellowed
lamp. I’ll invent a new alphabet
and train you to swim the coils
of the Snowdrift River. Don’t
protest, for this life I offer you
is but a parable, and you’ll yearn
for it as I mine your arrested hearts
and teach you how to love me.


David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., In Between Hangovers, Dead Snakes, Easy Street, The Laughing Dog, Mad Swirl, Ploughshares, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, Yellow Mama, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, two Best of the Nets, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jessica Schroer-Smalley is a photographer from Shelton, CT. Her work has appeared on numerous book covers, including Cold Shivers (2012), by Matthew Champine. To enjoy more of Jessica’s vast portfolio, please visit her online galleries at both DeviantArt and Flickr.


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