IV: Poetry by Richard King Perkins II & Photography by Jessica Schroer-Smalley, 1

Delicate and Venial Knives

The morning before the first snow
we had found the aftertaste of warmth

replaying the delicate and venial knives
blindly exchanged last night

protected by secret identities
we struggle to subconsciously reveal;

waiting for you to pluck strange florets
of thought hovering above you—

he’s a smiling hostage to his own dark plan
wearing the ribald face of decency.


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including Hawai’i Review, The Louisiana Review, Plainsongs, Texas Review, The Red Cedar Review, Roanoke Review, and The William and Mary Review. His poem “Grease Poet” was a recent prize winner of the Woodrow Hall award for enduring excellence in poetry.

Jessica Schroer-Smalley is a photographer from Shelton, CT. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including 11 seconds before the rain, The Adroit Journal, and Vogue. To learn more about Jessica’s photography and also view more of her diverse portfolio, please visit her site, it’s a small world, at www.jescamoon.com.


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