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Permafrost Issue 38.2

We’re so excited to present Summer Issue 38.2: The Web Web. Each piece contains three distinct words which link to other pieces in the issue that also share that word or association. This webbing forms a net of connections that weave all of the pieces in this issue together into a weird and wonderful chain  of work–all from strange and diverse voices. We are all little spiders navigating the latticework. Choose a word to jump to a new piece, and keep going!

 

Click on a word to begin:

38.2

FALL GO TIME WAY THINK LOOK DOWN WORK AGAIN EYE OUT GOD ROCK THING ONE BACK HEAD MAKE FIRST KNOW BOB OVER SEE DRUID HERE TELL LIFE HAND BLOOD NEED HOLD SAW UP FACE DAY AWAY FEEL CALL HARD YEAR NIGHT STILL ONE BOY SOMETHING BEFORE TAKE LONG TWO MAN TURN HAIR LEG LITTLE BODY NEVER HOME MORE COME NAME LOVE NEW NOW AROUND RED URBAN PULL CUT BLACK LIVE ICE DOOR WATER WALK YELLOW BLUE TREE GIRL GLASS

Table of Contents / Contributor Bios

“[still]”

by José Vadi 1: the question of whether or not to do art is futile knowing [still] the bullet never flies without first a hammers pull.   2: the ball dropped; so did my logic. pictures prove brief romance. we are adults now: degreed, well- spoken, apologists.   3: we’re getting a cat; naming it …

38.2 Table of Contents

Hybrid “The Torino Scale” by  Ashely Adams “Totidem Verbis” by  Matthew Burnside “Choose Your Own Adventure” by  Linda Davis “Why I read the National Enquirer” by D.G. Geis “Life: The Director’s Cut” by D.G. Geis “On reading Yehuda Amichai at Mr. Carwash” by  D.G. Geis “The Great American Songbook” by  D.G. Geis “Resume” by D.G. …

A Way To Live With Lightning Without The Coming Storm

by Daniel Edward Moore Baptized in the church of Pygmy rattler fangs hanging from my foot like prayer bells in Tibet, the water, I submit, was cold and confidential, a lesson from the gospel of drown me Lord quick. Obedient and skilled at the gestures of deliverance, those hands knew how to shake and bring …

Bearings

by  Sarah Giragosian “[Paleolithic] people were sealing their own or others’ hands into the walls…the hands reached into the spiritual realm behind the membrane of the rock, though in this case paint acted as a solvent that dissolved the rock.’ -D. Lewis-Williams and J. Clottes in The Shamans of Prehistory   Between deathwatch and firewatch, …

Body Shape

by Zach Linge Keep going. MOON BLACK HEART    

Burial Rites

by  Mary Christensen If you were Comanche I’d bury your body in an upright position   though you were found in an armchair already sitting, one leg propped atop the coffee table   the Navajo used to knot their dead in trees far off from villages   but I would like to keep you close …

Choose Your Own Adventure

by Linda Davis 1 You’re only eleven when a boy wants to kiss you – actually, two boys. You and your best friend Ann are behind the firehouse in Ogonquit with Billy and Chris, who want to do a four-way kiss: count to 4, kiss the person next to you, then switch partners. It’s a …

Cleaning Brook Trout

by Jerry Johnston Cordo Seeger could trace his name back to a species of prickly Mexican artichoke. I can’t tell you the species, but I can remember Cordo’s nephew, Manuel Seeger, teaching me how to say the word “alcachofa’ while we sat at a plastic picnic table. “Al-ca-cho-fa,’ he said, “means artichoke.’   Before Manuel …

Contributor Notes

Hybrid Ashely Adams has an MA in English from Northern Michigan University and a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University. While at NMU, she worked as an associate editor for fiction and non-fiction for the university’s literary journal, Passages North. She has been previously published in Rum Punch Press, Foliate Oak Literary …

Detroit Afternoon

by Michelle Brooks Keep going. YELLOW URBAN STREET

Dissection

by Colleen Burner *This poem was misprinted in our winter issue, 38.1, so we are re-printing it as part of our summer issue with the final line corrected.* i. The fin is not the first thing that comes to mind. The first thing is teeth. Rows and rows; no roe involved; a row as in …

Division: Self-Portrait as My Grandfather After Chicago, 1959

by  Alyssa Jewell You burned as watercolors bleaching in the wreckage. What remains: a rock of days, long and catching   themselves on their own hours, on the shorelines that curve home in all their sadness   like ribs sketching their way out of a white blouse so that we can only say: we are …

Dot Dreams of Austin Again

by Erin Elizabeth Smith In her Austin the streets consume themselves where the river ends and 6th begins. Dot is always taking someone here, looking for the Alamo with its beer bucket specials and all the live Showgirls you can eat. She dreams it this time like a Vegas she hasn’t seen– him at a …

Dot Finds the Ghost Cocks

by Erin Elizabeth Smith Teresa tells Dot of the crooked barn, how, drunk one night, a flock teens tried to tear it down, where once men brought their toothed cocks to rip song from one another. The old woman sold cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches as the night dipped itself in new blood. Dot thinks plumage, …

Dot Learns the Problem with Naming the Animals

by Erin Elizabeth Smith At Tractor Supply, the ducklings huddle under the gravity of heat. Dot cannot refuse them–the throaty peeping, their furious inconsistent sleep. At home, Dot watches them fluff and peck, hoover tiny pellets in beak. As they grow, they splash in bowls, six drenched puffs in a marshy pine bed.   She …

Down Fell the Doves

by  Joshua Morgan Folmar without grace, and standing in the killing fields, my father gingerly retrieved each bird from the muck of broken cattails.   I looked up from the scorched amber to see a blood sun, pierced and staining his palm. When he reached down to me, with his free hand that swallowed mine, …

Dripping Up Yellow

by Kobina Wright Keep going. DRIP GOLDEN CRAFT

EMILY AS A FLOAT ON THE SKIN

by  Darren Demaree The air today touches Emily & that is enough for twenty-four hours.   Tomorrow, I will need her to touch the air again. That is not asking for a lot. That is asking for everything.

EMILY AS FORMING KNUCKLES

by  Darren Demaree I wanted possession. I wanted Emily enough to not hold her all of the time. I had to be taught that lesson.   She taught me with folded hands.

EMILY AS RED AND WHITE AND YELLOW AND WHITE

by  Darren Demaree I  wanted the hammock to wrap Emily in the hammock & what I saw   in the process was the blur I decided to marry.

Eventually Iguanas,

by  Sarah Giragosian with their spines and jowls and their topographic backs would move her, but first and forever were the turtles. So protected, those nerve cords in their bodies. Their bodies in their shells. She loved their bird-beaks, their pledge to the shadowiest places, their powers of self-retraction. They were the origins of her …

Exquisite

by Leila Ortiz In this poem I’m exquisite, crushed ice inside a glass, like, I’m fluent in Spanish and dance, I go weeks without feeling sad. I dip into a split no problem, my heart is a roller rink with blinking lights, my teeth are always clean and bright. I never say like except when …

Five Poems

by John Sibley Williams Butte, Montana An aluminum bullring. Earth kicked up into a furious mist. Evening. My hand dragging the sunken head of a beast toward evening, as well. The safe word here is silence. This is when I know I’ve gone just far enough. When the sun swallows the earth, odds are it …

Five Poems

by TWIXT Rind of the moon a peels to me, butlered around the neighborhood planets drink sun in, chauffeured by momentum in orbit and thought in accord with prepatterned path.     A red fox at the creek for a quick drink sees a rufous leaf going nowhere slow in an easygoing eddy in the …

from Ligertown

by Susan Goslee Ligertown –Idaho, 1995 Introduction –I fear my venture will be wild and empty –Inferno II, 35 A man and a woman snare some gods. Then loose them in scrap and chicken wire quarters. Years later the couple won’t tell police   how many prowl inside, whether they hoard the proffered roadkill or …

Fundamentals of Home Defense

by Elizabeth Onusko When you hear an intruder, panic. Adrenaline heightens acuity. Repeat the following mantra: There’s no way out but through. Stuff towels under your comforter to create the illusion of a sleeping body, then wait behind the door, clutching a frying pan. Hide in the basement. Escape to the back yard. Dig a …

Go Nowhereing

by  Amy Jo Trier-Walker Winner of the Permafrost New Alchemy Contest   Keep going. DAY SUGAR ONCE

Grandmother, this fish tattoo is the only thing keeping me alive

by Jennifer Hanks on days when I want to hurt my wrist but not these danios, blue specks of a past when I slept with a man, kept a tank with withering plants and these reasonable schools always circling. The cherry shrimp molting, dying, I was always traveling to Chinatown for crystal invertebrates. Grandmother, I …

HGTV

by Frederick Pollack The crew from “House Hunters’ won’t make him self-conscious: he is one, buzz-cut, plug-shaped, fist-faced entity  – what would self-consciousness mean?   And on that stretch of that coast, one needn’t jaw too much about Jesus and waste Sunday mornings, which can be spent replanking docks, upgrading systems at his clubs, fielding …

History of a Body

by  Sarah Giragosian First it was the weight of a syllable, a low hum of a being, then a throb in the backcountry of my body. I could feel the bits piecing together: gill slits, ear bones, fish tail, lower jaw. Her father, smitten, turned my belly into a mouthpiece to make contact. I’m hitched …

HOLLOW

by Audrey Walls These woods are ugly. Don’t bother pretending they hold significance other than blood. Each misstep, a rattler snuck into my bones. Even the wind hisses us home. The roads dissolve into gravel & clay where we scraped dead rabbits from embankments, their pinkish bodies still warm with rot & flies. Now, each …

Hong Kong

by  Stephen Behrendt This is Hong Kong, then, rising from the China Sea as we skim in southward from the mainland. Here the air is thick and heavy, dense with the scent of May in the parks, with corridors of exhaust fumes between tenements, with spices, hot oils, smoke and sweat that blend and swirl …

How Can You So Quickly Forget?

by Rich Ives 1. The illness sat in a chair beside my father and listened to us not talking.   They weren’t much more than ideas I had offered, and father ran them off.   He knew one direction got you there and walked into the water as into the night   and knew how …

I Am The Tin Boy, Yes It’s True

by Jennifer Hanks I am the Tin Boy, yes it’s true. Witness, I wash off my Dorothy sheen, take the contacts out (eyes still mineral blue) & expose my washboard ridges, offer you the sexiness of my metal to fleck inside your mouth. (Witness, I’ll kiss you like a real boy would.)   Witness me …

iceblink

by AG Moore       Keep going. DISASTER TV ICE

If I Were Your Sister and You Were a Bird and All the Wolves Were Buried and Dead

by Sarah Giragosian for Jessie Color me blue and red, I said, and you filled in my face purple, your paints spilling over the lines.   An only child no more, I took to the flung-togetherness of our lives: the way my comebacks bled into your repartee, the winter days I’d find your mitten coupled …

Incarnations

by CJ Spataro 1. Sometimes, I lie in bed and think about what my life would be like if my husband were dead. I don’t want him to die. I try to imagine life without him, what it might be like to have another man in my bed. This is what I tell my friend, …

I’m not kissing girls who have to get / blitzed / to touch me

by Jennifer Hanks I’m not I’m not I’m not / It’s not true she wants / something different from me / than her boyfriend / Or it is / and that’s hell too / she gets on her knees / on the dance floor / she presses her face against my hip / I’m supposed …

Life: The Director’s Cut

by D.G. Geis O Lord God, could anyone have made   anything as fucked up as LA? I’m sure from your height   everything looks like bird droppings on a Hyundai hood.   But from my plush armchair in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriot   in lively downtown Burbank, it appears you have a …

Love in Four Elements

by Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer Salamander Brandy ¹ I came in you a little red at first confused incendiary or an incendiary you or I or us in glass why not just a lizard’s leg offering powerful trouble from one to three but autumn your mother’s fruit now juice has fathered sweat to broth and puts all …

May Evening

by Noah Davis What else is yearning but the orange underside of a trout, gills heaving, a white fly stuck in its jaw? As I hold it in my hands fingers slide over the worm markings on its green back, the words of some god flowing along its sides and through this hollow. I suppose …

On reading Yehuda Amichai at Mr. Carwash

by D.G. Geis Yehuda was a Buick man, I’m sure.   How heads turned in Jerusalem to catch him   tooling down King George Street in his sky-blue convertible Riviera.   When words escaped him, what else could he do?   A ride would clear his head. And when the blank page of Spring   …

Our Sister, Valentine’s Day, 1993

by Jerry Johnston To understand the look of boredom our sister takes after grieving, press two oxidized coins down into the surface of yogurt and then pull them back again to reveal the cool, coppered remainders of eyes. That look is polite, and specific to the day my brother and I arrived home after fishing …

Pallets

by Brian Michael Barbeito Keep going. PALLET BLUE STACKED

Raising Houses, Breaking Houses

by Brenda Peynado and Micah Dean Hicks   Keep going. RIBS ARMS MELT  

Renaissance Renewal: A Bouquet

by Allen Forest Keep going. ROMANCE FLOWERS LOVERS

Resume

by D.G. Geis I worked 25 years in investment management. I worked for a Swiss bank. I worked making money for people, People that already had money And had nothing else but money. (It’s a common problem among the rich)   After 25 years in investment management I found a swell job as a private …

REVELATION

by Esther Lin –Balthus, 1940 A wave followed him home. He knew because a limpet filled his palm   and his hair raised with rainbowfish. He swam for days and days   and still believed he could broach the human heart. On the ninth day   he broke the rind of surface and was startled …

Scapegoat

by  Mary Christensen You told me Appalachia turns women crazy.   That maybe the humidity, which never really washes off, seals something sick inside   or kudzu, invasive, creeps up their legs as they clean green worms from heirlooms.   You said the woman who lives on your long dirt road talks to a goat …

Shadows in the Doorway

by Michael Weidman Keep going. SHADOW DOOR FIGURE

SILVER AS IT IS GOLDEN

by Esther Lin They don’t say this about California: how the young mist rises to tumult above, like wood doves scattering into   the eaves after choosing the unwise stairwell by my door to stoke and nest. I come and go too often for that too-apparent   dimple, sunk big in cypress twigs. I can’t …

Snow If You Melt for Me, I’ll Give You Something

by Barrett Warner My father’s armored cavalry fatigue jacket split down the side, ventilated by flak.   His collection of acorns with painted faces, arranged according to beards and whiskers.   His Mason jar of shark teeth fossils because all the land was once all the ocean.   The collar from his dog as a …

SUBURBAN DIATRIBE

by  Audrey Walls Did  I  say disaster?  I meant orchid.  In  Florida,  they  have  lizards  the length  of your arm. That doesn’t mean we have to move tomorrow. We could dig a hole in the backyard and bury ourselves. It would do as much good. I said rancor. The neighbors don’t blink anymore, they just …

Summoning the Portal

by John A. Nieves I. Frame Sorrow-mouthed and red-capped, maybe some medieval blues: baby’s a-roastin’ by the citadel. All of us negotiate our hallucination. All of this for the purpose of turning our faces from the coupon books– the two-for-ones and twenty-percent-offs– to spend our fingerprints on wooden pencils, on stone fountains, on the smooth …

TERROR’S MIDDLE NAME IS LAUGHTER

by Dan Pinkerton Pancaked mammals on the road again, syruped in blood, lips curled mid-hex. Hurtling northward, I drove them down   before they could properly cast their spells. I was on my way home to beacons in a poisoned sea. No one approached,   no rocks on which hulls might be dashed. I stood …

That Old Pitchfork and Fire Urge

by George Looney He and I both, dear Sister, know the odds against our having found one another. Together, he and I could account for every possible variable and carve the astronomical figures down to a pristine precision. But we also know better than to use numbers or any other representative, and therefore imprecise, system …

The First Night in the New House

by Erin Elizabeth Smith Dot can’t sleep in the whiskey dark of the new room. The stacked boxes loom in strange angels of light. Each wall stutters with wind, and the other side of her bed is a shore of white down and pressed sheet. Outside she hears the strummed crickets, locusts digging up from …

The Great American Songbook

by D.G. Geis This is where the fat lady sings. On streets with names like Wickersham   Willowick, or Moreland Court. With driveways circling endlessly   that fatten into liveried streets: foie gras which even Croesus can’t upchuck.   Over homes incommensurable the moon’s soft shoulders rise.   Above the rooves, her nipples jut where …

THE NEIGHBORS ARE NUDISTS

by Audrey Walls The pine trees make sense now, how they line the backyard. Their dense needles, impassable black. Still, we strain to see any passing flash of skin when the wind comes through. Not that we’re voyeurs, but there’s something unnameable about it, about them. How the wife flicks away her cigarette ash like …

The Rainbow Pig

by Barrett Warner I once ate copper salt bleeding through jasper, now my eyes are green.   I chewed cyanide into dust and spit, so blue, so blue, my teeth.   My belly turned yellow to be the sun shining on its own shadow.   In the heat and crickets of August I was so …

The Time I Listened To Nothing but Warren Zevon for One Year Straight

by  Kelly Lynn Thomas PLAYLIST FOR THOSE TIMES WHEN YOU WAKE UP WITH A MIGRAINE, HAVE AN ALL-DAY ASTHMA ATTACK, AND LEARN YOU NEED A ROOT CANAL. My Shit’s Fucked Up[1] Rub Me Raw[2] Poor Poor Pitiful Me[3] Something Bad Happened to a Clown[4] Sentimental Hygiene[5] Ain’t That Pretty At All[6]   [1] Your body …

The Tin Boy is Butch AF

by Jennifer Hanks Even when their guy-liner’s winged (not smudged). Even when their lips shine like Emerald City discount moonstone. They’re all frocked out (sometimes). If they’d been a cis boy (sign of the cross), they’d be downright sissy– boy and girl crazy (shake the can and watch it fizz).   As it stands, they’re …

The Torino Scale

by Ashely Adams 0 “The likelihood of a collision is zero, or is so low as to be effectively zero. Also applies to small objects such as meteors and bodies that burn up in the atmosphere as well as infrequent meteorite falls that rarely cause damage.’   The particles that will someday become you and …

The Urban Druid Lives His Life in What He Begrudgingly Believes is the Best of All Possible Worlds

by Harmony Neal Prayers for the Partially Alive   The air was damp and fetid, with a grimy haze hanging in it that seemed to stain everything it touched. The urban druid stretched out his arms, demonstrating for the meat the meanings of the universe. Everything is meat. Everything is mechanical. Deer gears. Empty candle …

The Woman Who Eats the River

by Noah Davis My aunt told me that in February when the ice breaks, the woman who eats the river cuts her lips on the blue edges, blood from her mouth feeding the nymphs of mayflies that cling to the undersides of rocks.   In spring the woman makes a dress of drowned catalpa blossoms, …

The World Is Larger Than My Suffering (But Not Much)

by Barrett Warner You could drive to the end of me then get out and walk the rest of the way.   It’s a long walk, but totally do-able.   Ten miles past all the husbands and mistakes, and the anger I feel about my poor tooth.   No one wants my advice, they only …

The Yahrtzeit Candle

by  Kirk Glaser I found the jar pushed to the back of a closet shelf home from college, helping to empty the house a few years after my father drowned. The wick was white, bent unused in dust-furrowed wax. One winter he had taken me to Bramburt’s Five and Dime to buy the candle for …

Thirty Years after Thirty Years After

by Jim Meirose I am God’s insect. God’s insect am I. With every slice I kill him again. I know it’s over it’s supposed to be over thirty years it had been over but now it’s here again, here I am again with the knife, slicing. To kill him again and again and again, because …

To Taste Or See

by Sammi LaBue I didn’t expect the car to give up so quickly even though I was warned. Paul told me every time I mentioned the trip that the car only looked nice, but wouldn’t make it down a dirt road. The tires couldn’t handle the terrain, he said, the transmission wasn’t up to par. …

Totidem Verbis

by Matthew Burnside(s) _______________________________   NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR(S): This work is a collaboration between me and 365 different versions of myself over a span of 365 days. A new word was added every day by that day’s version of me, determined by that day’s mood. Aside from the title (“In so many words’) and …

Uncle Bob

by Caleb Tankersley Uncle Bob’s ass was clean enough. I snapped off the soiled latex gloves and dropped them into an orange wastebasket. Bob wriggled facedown, trying to turn his head, the skin on his neck stretching like a water balloon as the support chains of his Hoyer lift pulled taut. “You sure do take …

untitled

by Brian Michael Barbeito Keep going. COMPOSITION GRAY TIPS

Walks of Life

by Henry Hu Keep going. BOAT GLACIER PINK  

Water Canvas

by Michael Weidman Keep going. TREE REFLECTION WATER  

WEATHER REPORT

by Priscilla Kinter “To be admitted to Nature’s heart costs nothing. None is excluded, but excludes himself.’ – Henry David Thoreau   “I accept that when there are storms, the damnednest of the excluded…things…are brought down.’ – Charles Fort   Things that fall: Stones from a small dark cloud, a single cubic stone, stones and …

What’s Comin’ Atcha

by Dan Gutstein   [1] Oh, great. The Extroverts are coming. “The Extroverts are coming.’ They brought their friends, too: some Extra-verts. Now you’ll have to perform the entire suite of difficult handshakes: the clap, the hug, and the snap. With everyone! Here come the two Joes: Slappy Joe and Sloppy Joe. “Where’s Joe?’ someone …

When I Can’t Sleep

by  Joshua Morgan Folmar the lines of my wife’s body no longer remind me of how the Blue Ridge meets the sky at dusk outside my grandfather’s cabin. Instead, I see the moon in decrescendo– waxing through the palm fronds in a grove next to the Euphrates. But it’s snowing outside, and it’s been six …

When the Horseshoe Crab Grieves

by  Sarah Giragosian Dying, I confide in starfish and lightning. The stones, twittering distantly, speak to me. The rain in our open graves is a temporary relief, and from underneath the echo chamber of my shell I hear a soft moaning and dream of the new moon I cannot see. We speak of the thrown-togetherness …

WHILE BREASTFEEDING MY NEWBORN DAUGHTER, I WATCH TARANTINO MOVIES

by Audrey Walls I should have named her Jackie or Mia. Maybe Beatrix. Maybe Melanie, my little surfer girl. I should have guessed that this much violence wouldn’t faze me. She fits and starts, latching with her toothless mouth. She pulls at my nipple like pink taffy. I love you, honey bunny. These are the …

Why I read The National Enquirer

by D.G. Geis Because I believe in the gods and the inexorability of divine things.   That Zeus is an impenitent philanderer with a zigzag cock, nicknamed “Thunderbolt’,   and that before he knocked up Hera, she was a lap dancer at the Olympus Club.   That Dionysius was spotted partying in Athens his first …

WORK HORSE IN THE RAIN

by Robert Malloy Out the barn all morning, stock-still   in a sometimes slanting downpour–slick   from the wet, he’s a shade darker now,   one hind leg bent just so,   its thick hoof aloft, only the tip sunk   in mud.

“The key to open up tomorrow is reality’

by Jennifer Hanks My ghosts see me clearly as a charred tree line. I’m a cat in a surgery lab whose spine’s been severed. I’m a boy with a vigorous hair flip. I’m a boy with burning hair & the cerulean eyes of romance heroes. You’ve stopped believing me now, but the ghosts bring me …