November Stars by Satoshi Iwai

November afternoon is the shadow of a retired wrestler who is sitting at the table in the old kitchen. He doesn’t remember his name any more, but a thousand scars all over his skin take him to the memories of a thousand nights. The shorter the days get, the sweeter the pains grow.

     Outside the window, the houses are about to lose their colors. The cats in the backstreet sit on their idleness. Some of them are suffering phantom seasickness, because they feel as if they are boarding a phantom ship. By the way, the other cats are phantoms.

     Minute by minute, the evening air is shrinking into a tin pot. Until the tea leaves stop dancing in the water and lie down on the bottom of the pot, the wrestler sees a vision of distant woods silently burning behind his eyelids. When he opens his eyes, the kitchen has become darker than darkness.

Satoshi Iwai was born and lives in Kanagawa, Japan. He writes poems in English and in Japanese. His English work has appeared in Heavy Feather Review, FLAPPERHOUSE, Small Po[r]tions, Your Impossible Voice, Poetry Is Dead, and elsewhere.

Easy Prey by Lexi Inez

“The name of my dread disease is Lupus Erythematosus, or as we literary people prefer to call it, the Red Wolf”
– Flannery O’Connor

I’d never kill an animal
I’d let it kill me.

I’d let a red wolf snack
On my toes purple and cloudy
Like an old grape
Popped into his mouth.

I’d let the wolf’s howl
Draw me away from weather
And make me hot and cold
According to his call alone.

I’d let the wolf run
And feel slow as he swells
My joints and tires
My mind.

I’d let the wolf’s hunt
Keep me from the rays of day.
Keep me in the dark
Foraging for pills
That make me blind.

I’d let the wolf taste
What’s vital
My organs an offer like
Crackers and cheese

I’d let that be enough.
I’d make him stop.
My hands wrapped
Around his muzzle
I’d tame this predator
And make him my puppy.

Lexi Inez is a writer from Houston, Texas. Her work has previously appeared in Yawp Journal and is forthcoming in The Spotlong Review. You can find her on Twitter, @LexiInez.

Translations by Ivan de Monbrison

Тишина такая тяжёлая.
Лист дерева летает в воздухе.
Ухо к стене слышит что
Происходит на другой стороне,
Убить или любовь
Это то же самое.

the silence is so heavy.
A leaf of a tree flies in the air.
An ear on the wall hears what
Is happening on the other side,
to kill or love
this is the same.

Мир вверх ногами.
Собака в темноте.
Все красное,
Даже лес.
Стена кровоточит
И лицо исчезает.

The world is upside down.
A dog in the dark.
Everything is red,
Even the forest.
The wall is bleeding
And the face disappears.

Я тебя убью…
Но ты убил меня раньше,
И если у меня больше нет зубов,
Чёрный стриж крик
И быстро летит…
Остальное не важно.

I kill you …
But you killed me before,
And if I have no more teeth,
A black swift screams
And flies fast …
Nothing else matters.

Ivan de Monbrison is a French poet, writer, and artist born in 1969 in Paris, he currently lives in Saint-Mandé, France, near Paris. His poems or short stories have appeared in several literary magazines. Eight poetry chapbooks of his works have been published: L’ombre déchirée (1995), Journal (1997), La corde ànu (2000), Ossuaire (2009), Sur-Faces (2011), The Overflowing Body (2018), Irradié (2020) and La Cicatrice Nue (2020). His novels include: Les Maldormants (2014), L’Heure Impure (2016), Orgasmes et Fantaisies (2016), Nanaqui ou les Tribulations d’unpoète (2017), Le Vide Intime (2020).

The Subterranean Star by Vincent Barry

She straddles the stool in the darkened room and leans in, peering into pupils, testing extraocular motility and alignment, intraocular pressure. We could be, if they’d permit me, in that coveted bar, in Del Mar, ’cept for that BIO lodestar,—y’know, a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope? She’s a blur for the numbing drops she’s dropped to block nerves and light. But I can hear all right an’ she’s whis’prin’— sultrily, as if at the Star, somethin’ or other that leaves me ajar with—heavy lids, shall we say? Then she allows huskily, “Cosmetic surgery’s upstairs,” and adds quick and sharp as an editor’s pointy red pencil, of a sentential, “not that you…,” of the aforesaid unessential, but I know I do, bugaboo, must look into, to get into the Subterranean Star.

After retiring from a career teaching philosophy, Vincent Barry returned to his first love, fiction. His stories have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad, including: The Saint Ann’s ReviewThe Bitchin’ KitschThe Broken City, Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Kairos, Terror House, Caveat Lector, The Fem, BlogNostics, The Writing Disorder, whimperbang, The Disappointed Housewife, The Collidescope, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Beakful. Barry lives in Santa Barbara, California.

The Bull by Maureen Sherbondy

One day Lydia’s husband returned from work as a bull. She didn’t like this version of him. The house shook when he moved about the split-level house; dishes fell and shattered. Dirt also trailed behind wherever he walked. Lydia grew tired of cleaning up after him.

He told his wife it was a dog-eat-dog world out there. That he’d had to change to compete with the other animals at the office.

“Couldn’t you have become a dog? A pit bull or German shepherd?”

He delivered a dismissive snort.

When the bed broke on the second night, Lydia shook her head back and forth.

The following evening when her husband returned from work, a pen stared back at him in the front yard. This didn’t really surprise the bull-husband. Lydia had always been a problem solver. Early in their marriage, he had liked this quality. But then the animal side of him took over. When his wife walked outside to retrieve the mail, he roared at the red dish towel twirling before him.

Lydia swished the red towel away and watched as her husband’s horns crashed into the brick house.

Maureen Sherbondy’s work has appeared in Wigleaf, Prelude, Fiction Southeast, and other journals. She lives in Durham, NC.