SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS STRIKE, DOUMA, APRIL 2018 by Brian Russell
He remembers the faded purple shade of a grape
the color of dusk or bruise, the gentle explosion of juice
if eaten correctly, all at once, hunger a chrysalis for lust.
He tries to recreate the taste of an orange, the imagined
acid triggers a visceral response, he licks his lips.
Easier to recall the fruit than the hand, the dizzy shifting shape
of his father’s fingers dismantle the rind like a crab grips
the doors of the mollusk’s shell and pulls. He learns to ration
his memories which diminish with each recollection. Dust
settles on everything as it must. The sun and moon call a truce.
Before he leaves he kneads his father into the landscape.
- Published in Issue 22
MOTHER AT THE BEGINNING OF TIME by Brian Russell
it’s almost noon
and she’s still in bed with a headache
the bedroom bursts with light an electrical storm rages
in the quiet space of her skull
her children move further and further away and grow
their own moons
this can’t be right
the data don’t make sense the figures seem to suggest
they’ll never come home
the shadows seem to suggest she’s alone
mother pulls the covers over her head and curls
into a molten ball
when did she become such a lump
of dense matter she starts to harden a little
god she could kill
for some water she could drink