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Master of Night (For Cats, Large and Small)


Wild fevered summer cat

crouched in night forest

leaf-rustle, ear-swivel

golden eye-gleam, nostril flare

smell trail, chase drumming

hot blood of jugular pulse on tongue



Barest winter, bones spare

as naked trees knock

hungry ghost at door

I crouch, invite you in ("I am not yours")

eyes warn, my sofa, my fire

recline like buddha, one golden orb

fixed on me



Cat-mind drifts back

ten thousand years

desert goes for days

sun-blaze on fur, sandpaper tongue

drink from Tigris, cool forgiving


Mate with five heated slit-eyed beauties

consider symbiosis, my ancestors

pile grain into a barn too slow to catch mice

while naked two-legged kittens

play with your children.


Humans will worship yet bury you alive--

our dead won't be lonely

The mice in the barn will find

Master of Night

that no death nor game is too cruel for you



Now, fates joined

after your hunt, before mine

yawn and blink at the sun

bury my face in electric fur

you drape a lazy velvet paw

over me purrs reverberate


All is right in this universal chase

sun-selves,  shadow-selves

predator and prey

for life love

and death



Copyright 2012 by Ann Marcaida

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The Depressed Waitress

Her eyes move quickly across the room, though, she hardly looks up, from the coffee cups, the billfolds, the floorboards she treads from the counter to my table. Her arms are thin, her elbows and fingers raw with eczema. She wears a pinafore with sneakers. She is beautiful in sneakers. If she speaks one foot will hide behind the other, like an infant behind a mother. Her nails are black and her hair is ash and carbon. She bites her bottom lip when she is thinking. She smells the bag of coffee beans when she thinks no one is looking. Her stockings are always black. Her makeup is always thin and wispy. And her freckles, thankfully, she never manages to hide them. Her hands are worried. Her shoulders are heavy. Her voice is hushed and running through long grass. What are you reading today? she always asks. I smile and show her the cover. One foot hides behind the other. Who reads Hermann Hesse? she asks. Someone wanting to impress, let's say, girls with Latin tattooed on their wrist. A laugh escapes her petite anatomy, sudden like a firecracker.

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Except for Maybe One.

"You know that's about the most ridiculous thing I think I've ever heard, right? I can think of plenty of girls you never fell in love with." Panama laughs into his beer as he takes a sip. I raise my eyebrows in mock indignation as I crack open the cap on another drink.

"Go on. Name one, big guy." I nod toward him, taking the first gulp of my beer.

"Are you serious? Off the top of my head, Dream Girl." He smiles, knowing he has me beat right off the bat, and my forehead embraces the tabletop with a dull thud as an exasperated "damnit" squeezes out from between my lips.

"Wait, what?" Scotty chirps from behind his phone, "How do you not love a girl named Dream Girl?"

"Well, for one, I didn't give her that nickname... or any of her nicknames for that matter. She was this girl freshman year..." I take another drink and begin searching for something on my phone, knowing that Panama will take the reins.

"So, she came from this small town and didn't really know anybody, You could tell she was kind of looking for a scene to fit into, and she fell in with all the kids from town. And a couple of 'em took to calling her Dream Girl, because she'd smoke with them and listen to them go on about all that pretentious shit they used to talk about, Ayn Rand and fucking bands that nobody wants to listen to. And she ate it up, man." He stops to pull out a pack of Camel Wides and begins fishing for a cigarette

"And apparently she gave a killer handjob," I continue, as he lights up, "And she was always kind of stuck up, y'know? So anyway, she floats in and out of every group and scene she can find for four years. And senior year... or what would've been senior year if ee hadn't been colossal fuck-ups," I laugh, and Panama nearly chokes on smoke, "Dream Girl takes a Women's Studies course. And she decides that she's going to... how did she put it?"

"She's going to 'rally up and fight against the male patriarchy and its oppressive standards of beauty.' And she decides to do so by ignoring the existence of a handy little tool you and I know as the razor," he replies, punctuating his statement with a puff of smoke. Scotty is swimming in alcohol, wide-eyed and hooked on the juicy worm the story is becoming.

"Right. So she foregoes shaving for roughly six months, and Spring rolls around. And you know what it's like, that first day of Spring, every girl on campus pulls out a sundress and you can't help but smile as you fail that test you didn't study for...And so does Dream Girl, rocking pits like mine, and legs hairier than his," I nod toward Panama and he gives me the same look of mock indignation I'd gifted him with earlier.

"And she's giving all these interviews to local papers about what she's doing, right? She gives all these awful one-dimensional answers, and she even manages to piss off the feminist organization on campus. It was just ridiculous, man. And a couple months later, she starts fooling around with Zach. At some point she stops him before anything big can happen, to explain her hairy situation."

"What happened?"

"Well, Zach said he had to see it. So they kept fooling around...and Zach said it was a lot like..."

"Petting a damp Wookie," Zach laughs, walking in the room with another case of beer, drawing a cringe from the rest of us, "She got a boyfriend two months later, went back to shaving everything. Real put together that one."

"And I believe I win this round," Panama adds, sliding the deck of cards toward me, "So you deal this round."

1 0 1


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Ice in the desert

Across the icy tundra, beneath the flow of silk and dust grows an earthly figure.

Sprouting from adversity it stretches it's slender form through the light.

Forever searching upwards for an ever changing goal until it settles in your arms and is forgotten.

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I held in my breath
as you slipped into
the empty
chambers of my lungs—

I waited (for as long
as I could) for you
to speak— 

and  I hoped 
( for as long as I could)
for your words to
fill in my breathlessness;

that I maybe able to
sleep soundly tonight
if I knew you were
there making my chest
rise and fall to the sound
of your pulse.

Though I had to let go
sooner— as I breathed in
once again this
stagnant existence of myself.

I was this close. 

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The First Homecoming

(Prompt: Photography by Thomas Prior via thepromptlywriter)

The first time Jerenziah took wing, it was the single most glorious moment of his brief life.

He hit a tree. A concrete barrier. A honeycomb of environmental panels. The ceiling. Glorious!

As the stars swam across his eyes, a great firework of glittering lights flooded alongside the Valiant. His Valiant. He'd always belonged to the ship, but now he could fly. Now, he would work the glitter-gleam. Now, he could fight the enemy to take back the homeland! Now?

The ship was his. Well, one sixty-second of it. Maybe a little less now. He winced.

He pulled his head out of the panel and did the best patchwork he could with trembling fingers. It wasn't the best weld, but the glamour he threw over the nasty scar just might have been. Jerenziah, after all, wasn't just a beetle anymore. Jerenziah... was a warrior and all warriors lie.

That's right, he thought, with a grin.

Warriors lie...and humans die.

So long as faeries yet fly.


Photography by Thomas Prior

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Bunny Baby

The day her father broke her bunny’s back was the day Meggie knew that she had been born into a world where if she loved something she must teach it to stay close and when all else failed, run. Meggie had the reddest, curliest hair of anybody in the entire world. At least, that’s what her mother told her, before she went missing, and her father said, “Sssshhh.” Meggie preferred the red and blue flashing lights of a police car to the stars. The lights meant she was safe, for a little while. Stars meant she was outside, running, again. Once a boy in Meggie’s class asked where she got her bruises from. She told him that was heavyweight boxing champion, just like the men on her father’s favorite TV shows. He said that a girl couldn’t do that. She gave him a black eye and two missing teeth. When the principle found out he did not say, “Sssshhh.”

Meggie’s first girlfriend came along when she was 14; she tasted like bubblegum and coffee. She would dump Meggie underneath an overpass for a boy with better cigarettes. Meggie thought about giving him a black eye, but instead settled for one of his cigarettes. Her father beat her until she could feel the bruises on her soul. When he spit, she saw stars. When Meggie turned 18 she insisted upon being called Meg, and gave black eyes to anybody who decided otherwise. She’d inherited her father’s temper, and gained her sense of mercy from running. Meg moved in with a girl in a state far enough away that she couldn’t feel the bruises on her soul anymore, except on rainy days, but not so far away that she couldn’t bail her father out of jail or attend his funeral at the last minute. She learned to love the things that had hurt her, because they’d break her if she didn’t. Her girlfriend’s named was Lila, and they built a rabbit hutch in the backyard.

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bag lunch

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Warm fresh air

From the Pacific Ocean

In this summer heat

Is tingling


Laying here

In my good old hammock

Softly swaying

Together with the coconut trees


As clouds drift by

Forming shapes and figures

I amuse myself

In my own paradise