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The Kiss A brine-beetle clicks beneath my tongue.

The water is for designation, returned because of a private thing that happened there once a swimmer underwater was a leaf. I have dreamt of the dock, spent a day hauling back to its still pinnacle, half my mouth an encampment, the moss of a seam where the beetle leaves its children. I spit into the lake and it doesnt matter. A red tree is looking in heavily, a thought of froth stirring in its boughs. It thinks it can be like the water vitreous, unremitting, and losable as skin. :: For a time I carried the seed that I was not. It wasnt my job to be the bearer-being but all the same I curled a fish-scale, a shingle on a roof, a tongue behind a film of silk. The mouth held pearls, slick inside the oyster of an earlier year. It was salt that made me different. Still, family was accrual, was a stay against the ransack. Through the skylight of a gill we knew our bloodlines, knew how to breathe in green water. Come back to us was always the song of the clasp clicking on its necklace, light drifting from the scalar gloss of oil. We held up our arms for the tree to come closercloser its lewd beard smeared in the current.

Scar in the Shape of Canoe I'm sending you my get-meout-of-here eyes. Squinting into timbers. Hats that float over faces in a realm of their own. It seems there is a festival teeming in the district's gut fry-cakes and a fine dust I chalk up to the brickworks. My feet in all this milling are just a kind of faithpolitely, my hands stiffen, not wanting to touch, not wanting to be fists; they are stubborn reminders of other curves: bell-pepper lounging into dirt, bell-pepper wrinkled by a thumb or spreading in a bowlthe sternum, a tight hammock where my finger caught the red edge of a match-box.

Who Will Arrest Me When I'm Lonely? The groceries are lit against sleep no finicky snouts, none of the money fingers. There is no shape as dawning or complete as the pyramid in which the lady apples rise comatose, poised for breath. They are more brilliant than mannequins; I lose my hands in their glownimble in my stripes, mute behind my squeaky cart, a bit of the builder, a touch of smock about my apron. Or, had I the shepherd's clout, I'd show the fog of parking lots to smaller windows where insomniacs listen to their radios and smoke. But as a servant I am built from noble onions, baby carrots stunted to perfection. It's dangerous here; I get carried away. The security guard, who couldn't care less, dozes while I mound melons for customers. It takes all night just to fill this cup, just to see the dot where an apple gathers until it is immaculate. I dream my liver back from the gut's hedges, like one big freshly-severed beet.

Alec Hershman lives in St. Louis where he teaches at The Stevens Institute of Business and Arts. He has received awards from the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts, The Jentel Foundation, Ananda College, and The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design. More of his work can be found in recent and upcoming issues of The Laurel Review, Cream City Review, burntdistrict, The Potomac Review, The Puritan, The Pinch, Switchback and Cerise Press. Email him at, subject line "The More The," and he'll send you a free custom pdf of some things he's working on.