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Autumn 2015

Shake

Michael Faraday creates tiny earthquakes to watch the shaking. Try it: Spread sand on a metal sheet. Strike the edge with a violin bow and make that metal sing like catgut. See how particles jump and fall. Where they rest when the shaking is done. Look how they wrinkle. Curve. Cross. Explode into stars. Try [...]

El Shaman

De puerta cerrada, huye el Diablo. The devil flees from a closed door. ~ Mexican proverb My ex-husband is a shaman now. He wears white cotton pants and gathers his supplicants together under the mango trees at his family hot springs in Veracruz, Los Milagros. He tells me about the temascal, or sweat lodge, that he built [...]

Palpitations and Seizures

Never with alcohol. Never more than one. Your heart headbangs its way out of any acceptable range, its beat erratic, an overzealous metronome, a mosh-pit shaker sweaty and bruised—so frantic they can’t, won’t take your blood. It’s the nortriptyline, not a bad organ, but they won’t hear it. They feed you Teddy Grahams and send [...]

The Cargo

Dusk. Now the bloodstar appears. In the dimness, a wooden hut, scarlet vines that engulf it, seclusion surrounded by barren land, a shadowed vastness that draws down to the river. The life that is inside stirs and rises from an iron cot, a chaff mattress. His hand reaches toward the ceiling for a bead chain [...]

Cupcake

If I’ve ever been booked, Junior asks. Come again? I fold my hands and force a smile, to show how polite I am, to create an impression. You have a record? I’m like: A record? Of what? Arrests, convictions. Don’t lie, he says, I can look it up easy. Look, I tell him, all’s I’m [...]

See If You Don’t Come Back

But not tonight, tired today. The air dusty spider web tufting from attic lumber. Smell of crushed cicada shell, grass, other. I’ve got a face for nothing. There isn’t any cost in that. Not in the short run. There’s the moon, hiking up like a mom on a hill, slow and steady and overwarm and [...]

Three Poems

    Anna Ralls lives in Columbia, Missouri. This is her first publication.