August 28 – September 3, 2023: Poetry from Donna Dallas and Sean Lause

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Donna Dallas

Donna Dallas has appeared in a plethora of journals, most recently The Opiate, Beatnik Cowboy, Tribes, Horror Sleaze Trash and Fevers of the Mind.  She is the author of Death Sisters, her legacy novel, published by Alien Buddha Press. Her first chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors, launched in 2022 with New York Quarterly. Her latest chapbook, Megalodon, launched in April with The Opiate. Donna serves on the editorial team of NYQ.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Donna Dallas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

This Shaking Keeps Me Steady

when the wake starts
in my pit
the tremors travel
from my core
to my fingertips

My body remembers
from birth
to first high
to first withdrawal
the veins trigger so easily
like the lovesong triggers
a slow dance or a tear
and a lit match generates
a ghost cigarette

The shakes stem
from something
so deep it can’t be dug up
or pulled out
it just is


Mother Ocean

I’ve followed the Moray Eel
across millions of years
of slime and keratin fiber 
elvers interlaced throughout
ugly giant worm I’ve known 
before this life
when I was a mermaid
and finned the sea
in search of curious creatures
sunning on rocks
I bed Poseidon
lured Vikings to the Cliffs of Moher
never innocent…..

A shred of DNA 
dates to Moses
in the Dead Sea
under a red sun
where I followed the eels
survived on their crustaceous diet

They twine around my legs
in sad reminiscence of Atlantis
ships have sailed
over me so many times
my bones worn down 
to a single vertebra 
pulsing with enough current
to fake my own death


When It Comes

Girl it hits so hard 
from the left 
leaves a hole in your cheek 

It’s a bitch-slap 
with killer instincts
you’ll arrive full ready 
but you won’t see it coming 
you’ll lay down 
your bed 
your grave 
die over and over 
you know it 

Come back a warrior perhaps
quiet as stone 
deadened heart 
because you licked it 
but it took a chunk of you 
the residue floats around your body
like deflated balloons

Sean Lause

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and another Chicago Magazine. His latest book of poems in Samsara Town.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Sean Lause and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why no one remembers the name of Janet Leigh’s character in Psycho


Conundrum the saint
with the sadness of Autumn crickets.
Flow your love to what cries unseen.


Rattle the linguist
with the voices of stones.
Render him soft as ashes.


Humble the poet,
death’s ventriloquist.
Victim means knife stuck in throat.


Riddle the scholar a precipice—
You must step through vertigo
to learn the meaning of a wound.


Man is a killer, the purest kind,
makes death an art,
kills first in his mind.


The hotel glows like Martian cancer.
The moon draws darkness to it,
the screen mushroom, mushroom, mushroom…


Her part is pure pantomime,
sent to her silence
without a why.


Death is a bad mechanic

Old age is the only expensive car I ever bought,
hoping it would last my remaining days.
Then one day I go to make a U-turn
and your damn steering wheel pulls off in my hands.
Time resents U-turns as a general rule,
and steer-less roads are uncooperative.

Then my newest tire blows, my brother gone before his time.
Your driver side door, my best friend in an
emergency, pulls away like it wants to fly.
Now my back tires go, my mother and father with them.
My remaining tire whines just like my
and the rear-view mirror won’t stop weeping.

The only map is a tangle of arteries and veins
that seems to lead everywhere and nowhere.
My clutch has become my aorta,
and jams like a really bad rock band.
And now the mind is all on the engine,
praying it won’t cough, stall, and stop.

This is when I rediscover religion,
a new incarnation of faith and fear,
the radio blubbering please no, not now,
not here, this is ridiculous, can’t I just explode?
Goddamn you, God, just guide me home.
Is this your idea of humor?

And I dream of my Matchbox car race track
I drew on my mother’s kitchen table,
with chalk for lines, a wet rag for smooth lanes,
the cars calmly aligned, rules and pit stops
for any needed repair, and no one ever died,
and the track, its own world, revolved forever.

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