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  You could have a big dipper   

Finger Stain by Alex Pauley

CW: Suicide, violence

that cinderblock in front

of the plank to keep

animals from the crawlspace

from rummaging beneath our feet

we can share more than spit and sheets

foile a’ deux

a telegraph sending screams

bad persons or human beings

lay at dragon’s feet

all treasured secrets

the silent phones are symphonies

of crashing metal drones

and your choreographed perjuries

distilled liquids from your breathing

dripped into my ears like mercury

but you call it honey

something to eat

in the afterlife

a fever for your dreamsrestless legs, restless things

nobody is with anyone that’s how it seems

notes from him

folded and flexing, origami wings

I can see how you built cathedrals

with the yarn and strings

a cat’s cradle

my hand caught

finding out what truth

really means

you breathe in gasps of mercury

tucked away in your lungs

your weapons

the mood swings

taking the temperature of things

but you told me everything

crossing your arms

and your heart

we know what that means

we don’t know a father figure from a crucifix

and pleasure can have its rips

like vinyl

the needle skips

pierce through the skin and tell me this,

“tell me what you’ve hid?”

pressure and pleasure pressing lips

This all has its ups and downs and its morphine drips but…

a beautiful plant with poisonous leaves

my cyanide palette

and a Caravaggio canvas

the betrayal

Prussian Blue

the antidote

to my heavy metal poisoning

it could be bliss

and here I am


in the garden eating

don’t desecrate our special place

the silhouette of your lips

and the negative of the photos

using shadow clocks

distrust technology

computer screens

the light that falls upon

this timeline’s all wrong

flipping over an hourglass

time told on dials, spilling sands

recoil, snakelike and taste the tail

infinite regress

you’d call that progress

the path beaten down

in the same places in his mind

where he is watching

this hole it surely eats

as I take me piece by piece by piece by piece by piece

your help I don’t need

like to take my time

Is that still suicide?

not a car crash

but piece by piece our precious failures

like diamonds rings

crushed beneath time

under the hourglass sands

I keep them alive

under the house

in the crawlspace

I feed them blueberries by hand

until my fingers stain


Alex Pauley is a writer from Springfield Missouri, studied creative writing at Missouri State.

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