By Robert Beveridge

Ancient Grains

Tra, tra, tra, it’s in the pretext, in the mines, in the hallway that extends every time you kiss the hem of the alienist’s patchwork suit. The meme replicates in the medulla, the batteries poke their heads out of the sand, the wormwood’s in the rice again, pa, chase it out with the thirty-ought. Your cat is dead set against its claws being in any way arrested, but it can no longer walk without assistance; it gets stuck to everything from shag carpet to armadillo. The time has come to make that change, but first you feel the need to shower. You never know when company might pop by for coffee, blood, a Béla Tarr marathon

Our Names Begin with Q

There is a standard measurement, but no one
is quite sure what it is. We have learned we
can walk up to 30% of a field before we find
a calf. We can walk half a day up the road
before we see another person. We can cast
an entire winter and never land a herring.
We can consume up to 50% of a mermaid
and still not be cannibals. We work 
from the outside in, observe, apply, observe,
apply, try and discover how the apple
and the quince fall together, fall apart.


crossed camels with empathic
quavers—not bad work if you
can get it. If anyone asks 
whether you are indeed a waterfall 
of haddock, apologize and confirm
you are in the correct line
for the circulation desk. That Alice
Springs has gone dark cannot be
blamed on you any more than can
the absence of malamutes in the Best
Supporting Actor category last decade.
No one expects the phrenic inquisition,
just as no one expects to recognize
the face on the blue plate special,
but here we are at a lunch counter
at the gateway to the Australian outback
and you find your entire farm
passes before your eyes.

Temperance (Reversed)

I went up to the bar and asked
if they could give me directions
to the local den of thieves.
Got the expected response.
Lit enough candles to at least
give the place enough light
to read a menu by, instead ordered
a gimlet with a rack of lamb,
frenched, on the side. The two guys
trying to pick up the lady 
in the purple dress open to the waist,
their heads both snapped up
as one, stared down the bar at me
as if I’d just given the secret
code word for the extermination
of the entire city and they were
the only two guys with the keys
and the codes. I hoped they’d
lost them in a barely-concealed
navel, told the bartender I’d
reconsidered my feast.

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise ( and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Throats to the Sky, FEED, and Sublunary Review, among others

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