Slipstream Issue 26    Slipstream 26

Home Page     New Releases     Poetry Chapbook Contest     Back Issues     Video

Sleeping in a Twisted Nightgown  —  Diane Shipley DeCillis
The Hitchhiker  —  Michelle Bonczek
Sixteen  —  Ed Taylor
Histimine  —  Eric Gansworth

Sleeping in a Twisted Nightgown
by Diane Shipley DeCillis

Each time I turn over in my sleep,
it wraps around me,

a cloth wringing out
anxiety-laden dreams where

Japanese brothers sing
to the music of wind chimes,

and a man I know cheats on his wife
with a waitress named Rita.

I can only see the back of her head,
but can tell by her poorly-dyed hair

and drab camel coat that sheís not
as stylish, or pretty

as his wife, can see by her posture
that she lacks the confidence of beauty.

He takes her to dinner at an out of the way
diner; feeds her with compliments.

She buys him Christmas ornaments
of the Statue of Liberty and yellow taxis.

And when I ask him why he is with her,
he says he needs the warmth.

I hear the wind chimes, their Orphean
resonance grow faint, whispering

a stiff, cold wind into nightís huge earó
tossing over in my blue print nightgown,

I feel its pattern of porcelain teacups
almost shatter beneath me.

© 2006 Diane Shipley DeCillis

Back to top

The Hitchhiker
by Michelle Bonczek

I erased you at mile 251.
Just pushed the mile counter and poof,
you were gone. Like that. Zero. Not even a snowflake
on the carís warm rug. Not even an eyelash
mite. Earlier, we braked for a tabby
crossing the road and laughed. We licked
enchiladas from the crescent moons
of each othersí chins. I might miss the taste
of your smoky breath, might think again of
your pale blue eyes, an unsure December sky,
your fingers, my waist, your thumb
on my hip bone, your unshaven face. How you told me
I was beautiful, how you told me you were willing
to stick all the way to the coast. Willing to ride
west, feed my tank gas, be Amazon
in the Olympics, be Boa Constrictor
in the Hoh. Take my picture
with my mouth around the horn of a mountain goat.
And all that was swell. Hell, no one
had ever offered to carry my bags
miles through the woods for some peace
and fire, maybe some símores. Too bad.
We couldíve melted together
like chocolate mousse on a hot tongue, cream
and eggs, baby. Cream and eggs. We couldíve held each other
steady on each othersí shoulders. But I erased you
at mile 251, not even a dent from our last destination,
not even a full tank of gas gone.

© 2006 Michelle Bonczek

Back to top

by Ed Taylor

Meet my daughter walking on Hertel,
her going east, me, west.

We yell on opposite banks over
a loud river of traffic but cannot

hear, cup hands at ears and finally
she crosses to me eager and messy,

makes fun of my hat, and me coming
from the head shop I show her the gift

is her uncleís not mine, and we talk longer,
her face glowing in snow, and then

she walks on, just to get out of the house
she says, and I will return to that silent

place and cup my hands, ache
to hear her, across this louder river.

© 2006 Ed Taylor

Back to top

by Eric Gansworth

Imagine the mirror where you see
a different personís face
staring back, alarmed, perhaps
because that guy is discovering
he has somehow been saddled
with your glasses, your oily skin,
your unruly mustache and unkempt beard
and equally disheveled life
and he is as startled to find you
in the mirror as you are to discover
him there, full faced and thick lipped
cheeks pressing in unfamiliar ways
against the glasses you have worn for years

and then take off your shirt
discover your skin
has betrayed you beneath
the cotton, developing
the consistency of cauliflower
trace the funnel cloud of redness
blooming on your chest
spiraling down to your navel
and below where you donít
unbutton your jeans
partly out of fear
of what you might find
and partly because
your hands have become fuchsia
oven mitts and you donít really want
to waste what could be their last
useful arcs when you might need them
to perform an impromptu self-tracheotomy
should your throat decide it needs
to follow the rest of your bodyís lead
and then try your best to think positively
at the moment, assure yourself
that no matter the people
who have willfully left your life
there are few rejections
you will ever feel as vividly
as the kind your own body can
deliver, demanding you walk away
and not look back. Believe this
as your body burns with a heat
you could never have imagined
this side of immolation.

© 2006 Eric Gansworth

Back to top