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Permafrost Issue 39.2: The Great Seclusion

Welcome to the Cabin. Walk around, look up, look down; explore the world as we’ve come to know it and don’t be afraid to expose our dirtiest, darkest secrets. For the best experience, we recommend making the image full screen.

 

Table of Contents / Contributor Bios

13 Ways of Looking at a Paloma Negra (Followed by a translation)

by Antonio Lopez     A Translation by Antonio Lopez  

2 poems by Charlotte Covey

  summer elegy the night turned purple in the rain. we wore black because we wanted to, pale cheeks & breasts, mouths sangria lipped. we swallowed every glass, our palms slamming tables with each drink. ran down cobblestoned streets, heels clacking. never knew where we were ending when the moon was bright, ‘til we were …

39.2 Contributor Bios

New Alchemy Finalists Ava Bergen is a freelance writer, artist, and videographer based in Minneapolis. She’s studied Creative Writing at Oxford University, and recently graduated with degrees in Communication and English from Houghton College. You can follow more of her work on Instagram @avatoast. AJ Cunder graduated from Seton Hall University with a Masters in …

39.2 Table of Contents

  Fiction “Stitch” by Bryce Berkowitz “Evidence” by Shawn Campbell “Adscape” by Craig Chanin “When to Trust the Sky” by Shebana Coelho “Empire Allergies” by David Colosi “Yes” by Dani Dunckley “Earl and Paula at the End of the World” by Ryan Goodwin “He Kept Moving” by Mitch Zigler   Nonfiction “The Case of the …

5 Found Word Collage Poems

by J.I. Kleinberg

5 poems by Sarah Escue

A Bullfighter Waits with Perfect Hands

By  Frankie Drayus after Mark Rothko’s “Orange and Yellow (1956)’   What we are made for What we are meant for They are not always the same thing.   It’s like passion after the alcoholic anger burns off. It’s like waiting to be born by a mango except that you are in no hurry. This …

A Lack of Lustful Inclinations

By Emma Bolden   In the moment of his desire I recognized cherries & balconies but no way to visualize myself inside. This is the theory of absence: the evolution of lines on a palm. On a leaf. Never are there hand-   some women with orchids for skirts. The woman as a cliché is …

A Life Constructed Disappears

By Emma Bolden It was less than sex, though she felt very much. They were kissing. They were hands. They both believed in eternity and a house                              unlocked. She would not settle for being bedded by night next to a victim. …

A Little Something to Dance to

By Fred Dale Fifteen and dumb, you go where you can.   We filed in close to each other, toe to heel, a Chinese parade dragon with its costume stripped away                       and sat down like we knew what we were doing with barstools, daring …

Abecedarian for the English Language

By Daniel Blokh All day my mother lives inside a language she does not Belong in. It loses her in its hard ribs and Cold vowels, its dusty noise, its angles full with Distance. Each morning, she tries to smooth out her tongue. Each morning, she goes to the grocery store, apologizing to the cashier …

After the Call from the Night Nurse

by Adam Chiles   Outside, steady agitations of rain against glass. My father’s spring buds bragging fires through soil.   I lean back in his chair, and listen. Everything in the room a form of deafening. Wheatfield with Crows, its migraine   latched above the mantel. His books, LPS, marshalled in their gilings. The red …

Aileen Wuornos

by Jonathan Riccio Maybe it was my last name, vowel order abnormal Grandpa Lauri my adopter my assaulter the way genetics cliffhangs you into place Brother Keith cancer before fireworks when a man dies in July Richard Mallory Clearwater Floridian geography ungainly where a woman self-wardens Peter Siems the oldest at 65 I before phonetically …

blood seed, east wind

by Abigail Chabitnoy Awa’uq In Pennsylvania I dreamt a garden in the woods waist deep the wilding bodies hollowed husks idling fallow no parsnip petals or fire weeding only Fritillaria camschatcensis sweet rot, and soldier flies where yellowing the displaced earth musky fruit multiplied and in the trees black bags rapping limbs mothers and children …

Brumal

by Ian Maxton New Alchemy Finalist    

Burrito bigger than a wrecking ball

by Tom Kelly bigger than a silo! bigger than a submarine! bigger than a skyscraper! white hyper-masculine Mariachi attendants chant without interruption as I’m divested of dungarees, dunked in a wooden wash bucket bubbling beyond the lip, and scrubbed like an oily pelican with industrial loofahs. My objections–gluten-free, anti-double dip, lactose intolerant Irish American– stifled …

Calmivin ©

By  Daniel Aristi San Sebastian, Spain, 1977   So many hours crafting each & every weapon in me At age six, at age seven. I walk to school today firing my fists in the air, They got rocket boosters at the wrist, to punch through giant robot foes and Maribel, A friend of my mom’s, …

Cant of Mardi Gras

By Aran Donovan Lover get off Here is my very I am her who Undistant diatribe alive alive I am Something something I am scramble You Make very Discerning of what Who really is center Who can really enter Only very Looking looking You are extra looking looking How we how your paint Glittered and …

Cante Jondo

by Paul Dresman   1.   Out the window, above a brook, April blossoms. Orange trees, lemon trees, irises purpling dawn and dusk. Granite boulders, my sentimentalities, a red wheelbarrow full of blue leaves. Cypresses on the ridge, snowy peaks on the Sierra Nevada in the distance–what can I convey about perspective? This isn’t California. …

Charlie Parker

by Ray Liversidge   one time   he hocked   his horn   to hire   a horse   to woo   his girl   and win   her back  

Convictions: Slavery after Slavery

By David Gewanter

Dear Outer Space,

by Keith Mark Gaboury   Do you go by Miss or Mrs? If we become cordial, will you take Hey Outer?   Your cartilage must be a dead relic after 14 billion cycles of rising from your gas bed   and trekking to that steel-floor factory where you slavishly pipe the unity of gravity into …

Denim Lemonade as Lethal Injection

By Henry Goldkamp   Richard Masterson, 43, was pronounced dead at 6:53 pm.   First let me say in the future you cannot send envelopes or stamps inside your letter.   During intercourse with a cross-dresser, Richard strangled the her of his victim into breathlessness.   As for considering myself happy, no I don’t think …

DREAM WITH FOX

by Abigail Chabitnoy I was walking up some stairs in a building Inside parts of the building were new but no one lived there anymore I passed a lucky fox head on the stairs– But fox, where are your ears and your eyes and your tongue? where is your body, your bushy tail? The head …

Earl and Paula at the End of the World

by Ryan Goodwin   They say pure white is the combination of all the colors of the color spectrum and that blackness is the absence of color, but they also say the entire universe sprang out of nothingness and that thought was too philosophical, or maybe just too plain stupid for Paula to wrap her …

Empire Allergies

by David Colosi You want the real story? Q. Well, at 95, my memory can be a little fuzzy. I can’t promise I’ll get all the details right. Q. All right then. What I usually do when I tell people the story about how I built the Empire State Building by sneezing, I start at …

Evidence

by Shawn Campbell   Lisa sat bolt upright in bed.  Paul lay on his side next to her, snoring softly.  It had been a dream. Something about….no….it was gone. Lisa breathed in and let it out.  Breathed in again, and let it out, unconsciously matching Paul’s respiratory rhythm. What time was it?  Her phone was …

Evolution

By  Sandeep Kumar Mishra

Fuse

by Tania De Rozario and Lynn Lu New Alchemy Finalist

golem

By Garrett De Temple   the na   me of g   od   a choke   ing f   inger–   cle   aring i   ts throat   it spi   ts   up its gh   ost–   falls cl   aylik   e to e   arth  

Graft

By Kate Lindroos   My boyfriend has the skin of a cadaver sewn into his gum line to patch and prevent recession at the base of his teeth so that when I kiss him I am also kissing a dead person well specifically the roof of the mouth of a dead person but only if …

Guardians

by Linda Laino

He Kept Moving

by Mitch Zigler Arrange the sections in any order seen fit   1. He kept moving. He wrote in hotels and motels along the way. When he hit a small town called Wishram he sold his guitar to some kid in a bar–kept going. The wheels kept rolling. The sun came up and down over …

HEADCASE ECONOMICS

by Jessica Morey-Collins O apex of sensation O mulchy floor of anhedonia! O polar coevolution! Not a thing is friable about you! O panic that asks my name each second, O laughter at change! : plaudit-offering see-saw–it’s me!–mommy’s wrong-fallen apple, daddy’s half-gone ambition, canned radicalism, and planned collapse, O– how my linear digs–its peaks grip …

Ice

by Sarah J. Sloat Works Cited King, Stephen.  Misery. Hodder & Stoughton,  1987.

If the Brain Is Skin Folded In

By  Regina Marie

Invasive Species

by Roe Sellers New Alchemy Finalist Mr. Johanson                                           Name____________________ Grade 9 English                                       Section___________________ Reading Comprehension …

Just Like Grandma’s

By Ian Park

Kim Story

by Stephen Gutierrez New Alchemy Finalist

La marea montante

By  Daniel Aristi In between the little deaths we suffer Every night, i piccoli morti, we do our thing Quickly — An espresso, my Veronese grandpa told me Is a shot of night. Vaccinate yourself To withstand the gut illness of darkness. Pull up the blankets in bed, he said It’s the rising tide — …

Leaving Home

by Louis Staeble

Letter from a Hungry Ancestor

By Daniel Blokh A Ghazal That was you hiding in my chest: the hollow promise tucked between my ribs, vacancy resting against the air in my lungs. I held you because I had nothing else. You were the unborn gulp of air, inverted ghost, spectre waiting for skin. If you could get there soon enough, …

Like a Dead Person the Moon

by John Langfeld New Alchemy Finalist

Mary

by Carlene Kucharczyk   Mary Held Her White Hands Open   I reached out to them.   To the hands of Mary on the hill at my great grandma’s house. Mary at the top of the hill, Mary at the edge of the woods, Holy Mary, Mary Mother of God, Mary, Mary, Mary. In every …

Mirth

by Sarah J. Sloat Works Cited King, Stephen.  Misery. Hodder & Stoughton,  1987

Misery 201

by Sarah J. Sloat Works Cited King, Stephen.  Misery. Hodder & Stoughton,  1987.

Music to my Ears

By Scott Banks   My mother knows I like to come to the ice cream social at the Pioneers’ Home and listen to the music.   On a day I couldn’t attend she called me and said I should have been there. There were three accordions.

My Last Beatitude

By Zoë Brigley BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL BE SHOWN MERCY. -MATTHEW 5.7 Until I had children, no one told me that not all of them survive, that some die along the way. No one mentioned that the womb teeters. They didn’t predict that I would sit each week in a leather hospital …

My Mother Paints Her First Picture at 90

by Adam Chiles Seams of gray drift silently behind two trees, stripped, char-like, a white lake working its frostbite into the canvas. The moon — like her eye — near perfect in its aperture of grief. This is how it must be now: sky slated against a neutral white, her days without him extending like …

Nature and Tales

By  Carol Wellart

Night Vision Scanning Techniques

By Mike Crossley   Understanding crowds & public disorder. Being a part of a crowd leads to chanting, singing,  & the voicing of one’s individual or collective opinion. Optional threats to the common civility: vehicles, felled trees, furniture, setting fires. 1992 the Chicago Bulls win the NBA Championship. November 30 1999 World Trade Organization assembly …

Noonlight

by Sarah J. Sloat Works Cited King, Stephen.  Misery. Hodder & Stoughton,  1987.

On the Creation of Adam

by Ellyn Lichvar   Poor motherless bird versus God. Whole nest of bodies shrouding him–   pushing, pulling–and your single limp wrist in downward wave   at the universe, your own source of indifference, soon to be center of.   A joke. Absurd image born of nonchalance, miseducation. It wasn’t   my fault: Sliver of …

On Turning Thirty

By Brittney Scott Bone marrow colored morning — I wake up craving chocolate and the thick yolk of duck eggs. How quickly Queen Anne’s lace, so verdant, splayed, almost floating, slumps once in the vase.

ONLY

by Emma Hyche   There is only this when I stand solemn as a nun in the yellow glow of the kitchen light, hearing sirens and a dog howling licking sandy smears of cookie batter from all of my fingers, tongue skating over knuckle like breeze bunching the dark surface of a lake and the …

Piñata in the marching band

By Paul Jolly You don’t want a condom rolled off the slick cock and stuff it into its envelope. You don’t re-origamify an inflated airbag and stuffed into its pouch with hope it repeats its trick next crash. These things are one-use items, and no one complains, even in this stern reduce / reuse / …

Pizza through the Ages

by Tom Kelly   When a short-circuited Venice burnout shouts, the pie’s a fornicating communist! I almost laugh. But if Brad Pitt once wandered this boardwalk in a chicken suit, am I not obliged to test my skepticism’s fabric? I chew on a slice   of free-range chicken barbecue, hand-tossed by Hollywood’s next star or …

Platter from my Indigestion Series

By Ian Park

Rocketboy

By  Daniel Aristi   Rocketboy Is made of three stages, of three sacrifices Mangling the body for the head To reach orbit   The legs ignite first, steady at the knees, booster temple columns Of fire and when they Combust, when it is truly on And clouds pierced, oh This is so good Houston   …

Rouault, End of Autumn

By James Wyshynski   His suburb looks bred for carpet bombing — the paths and alleys dissect it into avenues of escape, the houses crop up like rubble, their pale, oval doorways ringed in black, mouths open, the thick brushstrokes flee across the canvas: crazed steps dodging a string of explosives. They lead the eye …

Skylark

By Bryce Berkowitz verb ~ to indulge in horseplay   Chicago flags, bloodshot trigger the snap of a cold alley. At noon–gray clouds, pigeons huddle, sugar burnt on the river-walk, a damp tennis ball left in the park that afternoon.   One summer, a boy slipped & fell on the third rail. He’d been playing …

SN 1572

by Bruce Van Noy New Alchemy Finalist

Southern, Belled.

By Emma Bolden   Baby ain’t a bellow      ain’t an option ain’t  a  good  night  a  night  for  fighting  all thatsex skinnied up in the bones  a fair shimmy in a sense of tight is right is  this  bud’s  for    you a metaphor  I’d rather strip down to    the  brute  of …

ST. AGATHA AND MY MOTHER’S MASTECTOMY

by Emma Hyche   Agatha, woman and not yet woman at 15. Breasts pincered off by brothel keeper and emperor for her faith.   My mother and her New Testament on the gurney’s bedside table. Apple cake from neighbors untouched by the IV bag.   But what if the man Agatha refused refused to rest …

Stigmatized Disclosures

by Masha Sukovic   We are in bed together for the first time. We are holding hands, motionless, not looking at each other. The air in the room feels dense and heavy, pregnant with our twin silences.     I abruptly let go of his hand and start playing with my long, dark hair. I …

Stitch

by Bryce Berkowitz   Before we could smoke cigarettes in the bat cave we had to get past Stitch, the man who killed birds with a hammer. From the woods, we could see him on the north side of the property near a collapsed barn. He held a hammer in his hand and wore a …

Sunday Schooled

By Emma Bolden   Always a lady, lean she licked the French- tipped century, threw the trash, threw the party, threw the scored curve of her wedding ring down   drained & shambled, weeping as a metaphor for fire scorched by the forest for the trees leaved & not one more goddamn worded her liturgy …

Table of Contents

TANGENTIAL

by Irene O’Garden It overwhelms, this daily silhouetted beauty: paper-cut delicacy. Paper-cut pain, too–acute, specific yet tangential to swaying candy-floss phlox; tangential to the fat-leaved, child’s-idea-of-a-tree catalpa who blooms June panicles of speckled orchids; tangential to the daylily’s friendly orange swat: saying, like an aunt, how much you’ve grown.  

Teacher

by Lisa Lewis   When he wobbled near I knew I was going to fall slow From the tall trees where I Grazed like a giraffe. He caught me Standing on all my legs. He caught me making the most Of the blue between earth And my friends, all girls those days, Young women at …

The Adscape

by Craig Chanin Our mayor was a doer and our city was deep in the red. He held a press conference and announced that he wanted to open the city’s sidewalks to advertising. Initially the proposal sounded egregious and desperate, but after the mayor’s repeated calls to revitalize our city streets, and after his suave …

The Alta Club Building, Salt Lake City

by Rebecca Pyle

The Case of the Possibly Poisoned Cake

by David Schweidel   For Philip Levine We were telling stories of work, a litany of indignities and disasters, acts of revenge, moments of unexpected kindness or connection.  I knew immediately the story I wanted to tell, but I didn’t know how to tell it — an embarrassing confession, given that I teach Creative Writing. …

The Control Sample is Gaslit

by Jessica Morey-Collins

the dream

by Carolyn Guinzio

the ice

by Carolyn Guinzio

The Last Will and Testament of Harry B. Balsagna

  As subscribed to and witnessed by AJ Cunder I, Harry B. Balsagna, being of sound and disposing mind, memory, and understanding, and after consideration for all persons, the objects of my bounty, and with full knowledge of the nature and extent of my assets, do hereby make, publish, and declare this my Last Will …

The List

by Tanner Pruitt   When you came out of the bathroom your wings were on wrong, so I asked where you got those wings. Who’s asking, you asked, and then jumped your big feet up on the couch and said louder, Who are you to ask me where I got these wings? Then people started …

The Upper Hand

by Sarah J. Sloat Works Cited King, Stephen.  Misery. Hodder & Stoughton,  1987.

The Visitation

by Billy Reynolds Near the ramp the billboard was whited out. An ad in the lobby said photos with loved ones $5. The inspection cell was the smell of disinfectant. Once inside a brand-new baby screamed. Families lined up with their $5 bills next to the camera that stood tall on its tripod. A mom …

Transmission

by Kat Moore   How did your brother die?   His skin fell off   You said that already   Can you say pandemic? Or worms inside the mind Microscopic Lights up in ultraviolet Tiny worms crawling in veins Red veins Pulsing veins a living thing Carrying the disease to every part of his body …

User Reviews of Medications

by Jeff Pearson WINNER of the 2017 New Alchemy Contest I wouldn’t be the one who days earlier wandered electric hallways, or slept in a foreign bed, who vomited the misassigned drugs and sparked with slinking visions. Shira Erlichman, “Ode to Lithium #11’               User review of the anti-psychotic: …

Voodoo Deposition

by Gleah Powers

Wendigo

by Ava Bergen & Jakin Rintelman New Alchemy Finalist

What do I know about swans?

By Aran Donovan   With their hammock attitude, daily. Singers hailing on a lake. I make prayer Too, but none so severe.   But crows, now– The odor of men. They have shamed us, Being so dapper.

What is it like to be a bat?

by Chloe Watson

WHEN TO TRUST THE SKY

by Shebana Coelho   Reena watched the wind carry leaves over the tracks. She felt she was with them, falling into the slats and disappearing under them into the dark. Meanwhile, Salim was speaking about doubt. He paced up and down the tracks, his thin frame casting shadows on the cement floor of the platform. …

Where Something Has Been

By Danielle DeTiberus   These branches bear stories that cannot be erased                                         Because mosquitoes   made a blood meal of the pale folks who disappeared during                   …

Yes

by Danielle Dunckley The sweat that falls along your back, the curve of your shoulder and my tongue.  Loving you is not easy. I want to lick you won’t let me I think I’ve forgotten back pressed against sheets the smell of your skin. I’ll never look like you, you said; I didn’t know why …

Yoga

by Tanner Pruitt   We were sitting on the floor, the carpet you nearly knocked a Tsingtao onto, a beer I didn’t know anyone actually drank, let alone willingly at home. You told me how you decided your name came up short for the DIY life you led, so you added Fast in front of …

[quality time]

by Jessica Morey-Collins I am a flock of often lost over a chop besotted ocean– a ten hour yawn straight down- ward. Hoarder of boredom, floor made of doorways, I’ll collect your attention in barrel drums, wear your staring out in public. Love is the thunder come from an excess of heat-trapping gases–the flat circle …