Fedoras on Elm Street by Jon Wesick

These brownstones demand a fedora
and a wailing sax from a Bernard Herman score –
fire escapes, concrete stoops, Philip Marlowes sprouting
from cracks in the sidewalk, arched entryways,
air conditioners punctuating random windows,
abandoned microwave tower a skeleton of steel and rust.
What would it be like to trudge up the steps
to those old apartments and sip two fingers of rye
that tastes of pepper and dust while the trench coat
dries on the radiator? There’s a billiards sign
cantilevered over the sidewalk, a faded ad
for Goodyear Tires painted on dirty brick.
Moore Paints and Old Grist Mill Wheat Coffee, too.

I want to build this city in miniature
on a plywood sheet big as my living room
with crosswalks masked and airbrushed
on roads made from asphalt shingles,
carve brick patterns into polystyrene foam
with steel ruler and X-Acto knife
and dry brush with red to preserve the grout.
I’d make concrete from epoxy putty,
glue sand and green flock for dirt and grass,
back laser-cut window sills with clear acrylic,
throw in photoetch, styrene angle bars, and streak
with washes, grime, and rust.

I’d make a river of clear resin in the hall.
Then clock towers and repurposed mills
would take over my bedroom. Avoiding the landlord
like an earthquake or hurricane, I walk these streets
inside and out

Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, New Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Pearl, Pirene’s Fountain, Slipstream, Space and Time, and Tales of the Talisman. His most recent books are The Shaman in the Library and The Prague Deception. http://jonwesick.com

Wolf by Katrina Kaye

Like a good girl dressed in red,
I invited you in with a compliment on your eyes
and a coy flirt about the size of lips.

I remember watching as
you grew to the size of your cage
and curled fangs against bars
as though to prove there was
so much more you could be.

I thought I gave you all
the space you needed, but

you were called to the pack.
Your throat thirsted for red moon,
and fresh flesh.

You came to my door,
a wolf draped in ex lover’s skin;
stretching new covering over sharp chin,
holding roses in white teeth,
and selling charm with a dripping tongue.

But I ignored your incessant 

scratching at wooden door .
All you could do was huff and puff

 in front of my house
without understanding why
I wasn’t fooled.

You’re forgetting;
I was raised by wolves.
I know the stench of their hide
like my own sweat,

the breathe that makes neck hairs curl,
a bite in the guise of a kiss
drawing drops of blood from lower lip
a taste for carnage on the tip of tongue.Teeth that rattle like empty tequila bottles,
paws that scrap against wood floors

Charms that slur from snarled lips
in the form of soon forgotten promises.

Some of my best friends run with the pack
and I’ve slipped the trails
with the biggest and the baddest.

I have bristles on the inside of my
throat vibrating against
the sound of the howl in my gut.

Don’t stumble through my door
with a snarl on your lip
and demand more than I am willing to give.
I have silver strapped around my neck
and a woodsman ax by my bed.

I know this transformation
will only last the night,
and when you return to human form,
peering through Sunday morning’s brown eyes,
you’ll scrap the beast off your tongue,
the blood from teeth,

and sleep at the foot of my bed again.

Katrina Kaye is an educator, writer, publisher, artist, and community organizer. A lifelong creator, she has been published in various ezines, magazines, and anthologies. She also spent time on the performance stage, touring across the United States and participating in various poetry festivals and events, before hanging up her microphone in 2015.  She continues to write, perform, and publish her own writing on the website Iron and Sulfur (ironandsulfur.com).