Bad Nudes Issue 3.2


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Fawn Parker
Poetry Editor & Managing Editor
fcgparker@gmail.com

Thomas Molander
Fiction Editor & Publicity
thomasjmolander@gmail.com

Sandy Spink
Web Developer & Design
www.sandyspink.com

Call for Submissions

Submissions for BAD NUDES Issue 3.3 are now open!
Send your work to submit.badnudes@gmail.com or inquiries to info.badnudes@gmail.com.
Submissions close on June 30th at midnight.

How do I submit?
Send submissions to submit.badnudes@gmail.com with “[GENRE] SUBMISSION” in the subject line.
Include a <100 word bio.
Send files as .docx or copy/paste full text into the body of the email.
Fiction: 1 story, max. 3000 words
Poetry: 5 poems, max. 10 pages
Please use eccentric formatting in poems/stories sparingly.

About

BAD NUDES is a quarterly literary magazine based in Montreal. It was founded in August 2016 by editors Fawn Parker and Thomas Molander. Shortly after, Sandy Spink signed on as web editor and designer. BAD NUDES has been around for nearly two years and is currently on its seventh issue, having had the pleasure to work many emerging and established writers from all over Canada, North America, and the world. BAD NUDES has celebrated the release of each issue with readings in Montreal, and has recently held events in Toronto, Ottawa, and New York. BAD NUDES strives to pair bold, experimental poetry and fiction with innovative design to create a magazine that is both relevant and thought-provoking.

Archive

BAD NUDES ISSUE 3.2

BAD NUDES ISSUE 3.2

BAD NUDES ISSUE 3.2

BAD NUDES ISSUE 3.2

what i learned from the field behind my house

Ian Martin

you enter the world empty-handed. that’s politics, baby. that’s circumstance. an empty hand is like a cave. when you grow up in a cave everyone tells you you should have lived in a ditch, and also, it’s your fault. you used to live in a fault. you liked how it never settled. that’s plate tectonics, baby. that’s living. the longer you live indoors the less you write about the sky. when you run into the sky it’s just like old times, and you both say wow, why don’t we do this more often. the fault says it’s not jealous but you really think it should be. that’s tragedy, baby. that’s history. when you put trash in an empty hand and say oh good, it’s full now. another man’s trash, you say, the rest implied. but implication is an empty hand where nothing grows. in other words, a nice place to put something different. maybe you could ask around. someone must have an idea.

Ian Martin is a large boorish entity. Ian's latest chapbook, Places to hide (Coven Editions, 2018) has been nominated for no awards yet. Ian's work has recently appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry, In/Words, rout/e, and Absolutely Orbital.

Friendship Cove

Jason Freure

She said blondes were for pussies. What she meant was beer.
The band dressed like Riquer figures, and 3 out of 4 played keyboards.
Syrup stickied the walls and drew the hobgoblins from their bedrooms.

After that summer the noise bands came, and we sucked our shoes out of the punk.
The food at Moe’s stayed the same, and the Wall-O-Matic Seeburgs still never worked.
We went to Il Motore and pretended not to know our old classmates.

She couldn’t stop her favourite bands from breaking up.
She just stopped listening. “New” left our vocabulary.

No one plays at Friendship Cove.
Cushfield and Wakeman wait for Graham Van Pelt’s last chorus to rattle the aluminum.
They fear the ghosts of the fashionably dressed so much more than zoning committees.

I wore that blazer that’s lost its shape and smells like falling asleep on the subway.

She said you can only hide at Moe’s until dawn drags you out by its teeth
and in the morning rush you’re nauseous with your own mildewy insomnia.

The bottom of the bottomless coffee is full of goblins and the ends of things.

Jason Freure is operations manager at The Puritan and editor of The Town Crier, its literary blog. He has also published work in Maisonneuve, Carte Blanche, Spacing, Epiphany, Vallum, and Lemon Hound. His first book of poetry, Everybody Rides the Bus in a City of Losers, will be released fall 2018 by ECW.

A QUESTION

Kathryn Mockler

One might ask the question, can a snail be haunted? I have been working out this math equation all morning and have come up empty handed.

Just before lunch I receive an email with the salutation “Salut! Please read with understanding.” I delete the message before I think up this snappy comeback—I would prefer not to understand.

And then I realize that’s how I feel about my math equation with the snail. Even though it’s not actually a math equation but a question for a parapsychologist.

The problem is that you can’t find a registered parapsychologist in the phone book because no accredited university will offer a degree in the field.

On an online discussion forum, Michelle asks what exactly does she have to take in school if she wants to study ghosts and paranormal things to which a know-it-all replies “Science gave up on it years ago—if you come up with something, let us know, but until then, you're out of luck.”

I really feel for Michelle who now probably doesn’t know what the hell to do with her life. She’s just trying to get away from that horrible boyfriend and her father who drinks all the time.

To take my mind off Michelle’s troubles, I go outside and find a snail to keep me company. We mull over how best to respond to the know-it-all in order to give Michelle some semblance of hope during her darkest days.

Then me and the snail decide to have a good time which always involves taking a selfie by the rose bushes—except this time doesn’t turn out so good because I accidentally step on my small snail friend and crush him to death. No amount of wishing can bring him back.

And one might now ask the question, can a snail haunt?

This poem was written as part of a back and forth collaboration with Gary Barwin.

Kathryn Mockler is the Eastern Canadian Editor for JOYLAND: A HUB FOR SHORT FICTION and the Publisher of THE RUSTY TOQUE. Her writing is forthcoming in the Chicago Review, Lemon Hound, and Geist. She is the author of four poetry books.

The Finale

Nicky Tee

Im an engine
powered by oils
of crystals and
golden flakes

a private pool
of a millionaire’s
choice, if you may,
neatly nestled in
each of your pupils

a utopia wont recreate
the reverb through the
voice in your mind;
its a hit you just made

when I lull your teeth
in to an absolute numb,
im the cartoon you’ve
never witnessed before;

I’ve told your arm
hairs to rise and to be
held like hairspray,
a continuation of your
childhood late nights,
in lukewarm bed sheets,
when you were soaked
by the blue light of a screen

if I could walk,

you’d want my
autograph

anything else would
turn a symphony into
the landfill that are your
sidewalks
the dystopian city
these poems have
been written in

by the lifeless
in the year 3049

Nicky Tee is a poet living in Montreal that writes from the point of view of inanimate objects, as if they are humans. His writing has appeared in BAD NUDES Issue 2.3, Half a Grapefruit Magazine in Toronto, Soliloquies Anthology 21.2, and it’s forthcoming 22.2 print.

The reward

Rebekah Morgan

Either a horse, an ass
Or a resurgent army
Moving towards something
Of deaths doing

Yes
YES
The cabbage dies on the counter
Uneaten

Rebekah Morgan is a writer living in Romania. Tweeting at @rebekah_______

HORSES

Sara Jane Strickland

Carla, here is a trick:

If you lie underwater

in the bathtub,

the sound of the tap

running

is actually horses

galloping.

The mind plays tricks

sometimes – like how

sometimes

I want to follow

a complete stranger

and pretend

I am their guardian angel.

In the hospital

I press all the buttons

in the elevator,

always forgetting

which floor

my appointment is on.

Going up I hear

babies crying on

outside my metal box

and I am struck

by my own lightness –

the weightlessness

that comes with

ingesting

more pills than food.

Carla, sometimes

when I stand up from the bath

my body feels

like a heavy secret,

even to myself.

You would have washed

the buds out

of your blonde hair,

all the horses’

hooves

around your neck.

Sara Jane Strickland is a poet and writer living in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and her poetry and fiction has appeared in Room Magazine, Joyland and Canthius.

untitled at the dam

Emily Zuberec

on that first day at the dam
I knew there was nothing to see
besides the tense line where all sorts of blues
met the ridge of an unclipped toenail.

up on the walkway
I moved through moist air,
tightly bound in a way that was not expected.
my skin was sent into a frenzy of texture,
I was not sure what to call it so I called it nothing,
a habit to avoid being squashed
under the weight of a garbled translation.
a tentative path of sweat wound alongside my spine
flicking at the end like a rat’s tail.

before heading back to the parking lot
I took one last look over the spillway:
my eyes could barely process the volume,
a lure pulled at my navel
and I too felt as if I was about to flow.
In this moment, an otherwise dormant
part of myself asked “what have you done?”

now I must admit,
that I have never seen a dam.
but I’m sure that when I do,
the images will be clearer than these.

Emily Zuberec is from Vancouver B.C. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of the VOID Magazine at Concordia University.

Gnat Mask

Eric Benick

I walk into
the gnat cloud
and it becomes
my mask. Soon the rest
of me begins to take
shape. A robe of honey,
banana feet, moss
pants. I haunt
suburban homes
and stand in windows
like a painting.
I am just
as much of this world
as the one beneath it.
Product of Titian,
of Tennessee, of
Ford Taurus.
Claimed by no
provenance, I touch
what becomes me.
Atop my wooden
goat, I ride into
the water, living proof
of how far a boat
built of bullshit
can sail before
it sinks.

Eric Tyler Benick is co-founder and editor of Ursus Americanus Press, a chapbook publisher and online journal. His poems have appeared in The Vassar Review, Reality Beach, Souvenir, Fruita Pulp, Gramma, and elsewhere. He is a current MFA candidate for Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in The Bronx.

Body

Jon R. Flieger

Final day in the outpatient clinic on the verge and wax paper crinkles as the woman fidgets waiting. Early 20s. East Asian/brown/brown. Tiny. Her face and hands appear undamaged but the arms and chest exposed by her spaghetti strap tank top are covered in abrasions. Lesions? My eyes catalogue her automatically. Try to know her body. Saina, the attending doctor completing my induction, glances down at the chart and then puts it down carelessly on the table. Carelessly but facedown and out of reach of the patient. I understand that if I examine it I am to replace it to the table in that position. Perched up on the examination table, the woman is taller than Saina. Level with me. Head against fluorescents and one of the scabs on the woman’s chest is bleeding.
        “Hello, Moriko. How have you been?”
        “Hello, Doctor. Doctors?” Moriko eyes me.
        “This is Dr. Matthews. He’s completing the last day of his clinic training today.”
        I raise a hand, am about to tell her she can call me Ed but she cuts me off.
        “So, you don’t know what you’re doing yet?” She picks absently at one of the marks on her arm. Saina gently slaps her hand away. Gloves herself and wipes at the bloody mark on Moriko’s chest.
        “That’s the worst one? It’ll need a bit more patching. We’ll see to that in a moment,” she says. Then cradles Moriko’s underarm to lift and inspect the scabbing along the triceps. I can tell immediately we’ll need disinfectant and bandaging, whatever else we do. I busy myself by pulling supplies from the side cabinet. The cheap ones I don’t need Saina’s keys for. I get sour looks and scorn and you don’t know anything yet. Not keys. Which. Okay, fine. I’m not the attending. But I’ve still done, you know. Medical school. I don’t understand the instant dislike people take. Or. It’s their bodies so I suppose I understand but. Saina clucks her tongue.
        “These are all self-inflicted, Edward. Moriko is. Would you hand me the. Oh, yes thank you. Moriko is an old friend of ours here.” She looks up from dabbing the arm and the two women smile at each other. It seems genuine. Saina wants to actually take care of her, not just process her body. It’s. Well, it’s nice, I guess.
        “It’s my condition,” Moriko says to me. “It’s a compulsive behaviour. I can’t not do it.”
        The recently acquired term floats up and breaks. Trichotillomania. Body-focused repetitive behaviour. If this is a psych case we should really try and refer it.
        “Moriko receives treatment from Dr. Jarman,” Saina says, bent over the broken skin. Over Moriko, I mean. “But we’re happy to treat the somatics here.” Jarman consults on psych on floor three. This is for me. This is to tell me not to turn her away or give her a hard time. Which. Okay.
        Saina pulls aside a strap to examine the worst of the epidermal damage. What looks like an ingrown hair that has been dug out of her chest. With tweezers, likely, but by the bruising and torn skin it looks like they weren’t very good ones. Or the hair was actually nowhere near the surface of the skin. As the tank top dips, I can’t help but blush. Look away. Even the naked cadavers in anatomy class made me feel like I was intruding. Floating into a space I have no right to haunt. I want to inch closer to see the damage to the skin but I’m suddenly conscious that I hadn’t made a move closer until her chest began to be exposed and now is it weird. Or is it weird not to. I move the gauze, bandages, steri-strips and disinfectant within Saina’s reach to distract myself from what feels like a trespassing. I know some interns don’t like to do “nurse work.” They pretend the notes they jot on their pad are all-encompassing; they couldn’t possibly help out they’re so busy learning. But if I don’t get things Saina will just get them herself. Saina and Moriko are talking quietly, heads bowed together over the shadowscarring on the skin.
        “No, I know. I really am doing better. I mean. I came in, right? I didn’t just keep picking. I got an ingrown hair, and I tried to ignore it, I really did. But then I got kind of a pimple over top of it. And. It’s just that you can’t understand. Popping that whitehead and then a little bit of gunk comes out and when it does the hair underneath. Just a fraction of an inch of it comes out of the burst zit. It’s. It’s amazing. It’s just there. It was under the skin and now it’s here. You have to dig it out. It’s peeking at you and you have to. I had one once that unfurled once the zit popped. It was balled up underneath, pressing against the skin. And once it was freed it unraveled. Like a. I don’t know. An unraveling thing. A snake. A flag.”
        “Yes,” says Saina, detached. “And that was here on your chest? The most recent ingrown.”
        “Yeah. And then. Well, it was good so I guess I kind of went hunting for other hairs. Did some damage. Sorry.”
        Saina deflects the misplaced apology with a terse shake of the head. Begins patching the worst of the epidermal damage. Moriko watches from behind her bangs. Occasionally slides eyes to me.
        There are two quick knocks on the door, and then without waiting for an answer a young nurse barrels into the room, chart before her like a weapon.
        For a moment we’re three women and a man quietly looking at each other in a small room. It smells like disinfectant and the vinyl sealing they just redid on the floors in this wing. Most of Moriko’s pockmarked right breast is out.
        “Nurse?”
        “Sorry, Doctor. Sorry, ma’am. It’s Miss Geralds, Doctor. She’s complaining of pain even though she should be out of her mind on the dose she had. She’s fighting the porter.”
        All my shiny new knowledge springs to mind. Is she epileptic? Is she on anti-psychotics? Has she developed cross-drug resistance? I want to be called on, to offer all my knowledge. I’m nearly dancing from foot to foot like a schoolboy I’m so eager to be called on. But Saina doesn’t call on me. She shakes her head again and looks up at Moriko, not at me.
        “Alright, Moriko. I need to help poor Miss Geralds, but you’re not as bad as you look. Nurse Jess here will. Or wait. Are you alright with having Edward attend to your skin? Nurse Jess will remain in the room if you wish.
        Nurse Jess doesn’t like this, you can tell. But she doesn’t say anything. Neither do I. Moriko shrugs. Begins to tuck her breast back in but then stops.
        “Sure. No, that’s okay. You already got the worst of it. Thanks, doctor.”
        “Goodbye, Moriko. Edward.” And she leaves. Nurse Jess tells us she’ll be right in the hall if we need her. She addresses this to Moriko. Which is probably the right thing to do. I still somehow feel offended. Or like I should feel offended but because I don’t yet have full hospital privileges I don’t have the privilege of offense, either. I decide I’m being a dick and let it go.
        Alright, Moriko, I say, but my voice cracks. I’ve been quiet for so long my voice has rusted. I dab at the spots on her arm. Not quite ready to tackle the rest of the damage on her chest yet. She has some scarring from past attacks against herself, but relatively minimal. Despite her compulsion she must have tremendous self-control to have done so little permanent damage.
        “It probably seems really strange to you,” she says.
        No, it’s. I. Can you hold your arm up, please?
        “It’s getting tired.”
        Just another minute then I’ll do the other one.
        “It started with my mom. And teeth.”
        I. You don’t have to explain anything to me, you realize.
        “Just. When I was little and I had a loose tooth, right? She’d pick me up and lay me on the big chest freezer in the basement. Like an operating table. Like this table except horrifying and cold and dark. And it hummed. Just a naked bulb over it that would swing when she bumped it with her head. And the light made a noise, too, but I can never remember it right. And she’d take pliers and she’d pull the loose tooth out. And she said it was good for me. It let the permanent tooth grow in. But she seemed to enjoy the pulling out and I didn’t understand it. There was something she got from it.”
        Was the “something” sadism? I think but don’t say. My own father, performer of minor home surgeries, was apologetic and gentle whenever a tooth, hangnail, or other undesirable needed to be removed from my body. Once I had a nasty shard of wood work its way up under a sheath of skin on my palm. He said he’d count to three and then pull it out. He only counted one and slipped it out like he was batting down a cobweb. I didn’t have time to tense or pull away. I screamed in his face.
        “Then as I got older I started to get these hairs. Thick black hairs around my nipples. It’s not fair. My brother’s skin is so smooth. But I’m hairy.”
        Good lord, she’s still talking. I must pull a face here thinking about the way I talked to my dad, because suddenly she’s defensive.
        “Women get hairs, too.”
        No, I know. I know women get hairs.
        “Oh right. You’re a doctor. Or, well, almost a doctor.”
        I ignore this.
        “And it hurt so much to pull them out. But it was also. I don’t know. A release? A rush. And popping really ripe zits was the same thing. Online I’ve seen people write that it’s ejaculatory or sexual or whatever but. Gross. No. It’s just. I don’t know. It’s something I have to do. But I was getting better. I swear.”
        What kind of. Do you mind me asking what treatment you’re under? For the non-somatic components?
        “It’s kind of a self-medication. I’ve been seeing this guy, Dave, and he’s Lebanese. He’s got this really hairy chest and shoulders.”
        What.
        “So we run a webcam for Trichotillomaniacs. For a fee you can watch me stream video of me plucking individual hairs out of him. Super-zoomed in. Like a porn website, you know. I mean. You probably know. And sure, probably some people are watching the hairs come out and they’re jacking off, but for me it helps me fight my compulsion and I like to think it’s helping other people.”
        What are you… You charge money for...?
        “Well. Trichotillomaniacs have to eat, too. And it doesn’t do damage to him, really, because I don’t have to dig for his hairs. God. He’s got an endless supply and it just grows back when you blink. It’s like he’s wearing a sweater, I swear to God. I want to start on his beard but he says no. But it’s helping.”
        It’s not your body, though, I say and begin cleaning her breast.
        “Well.”
        Well.
        “You don’t know what they’re going through, though. The people watching. Or you do but. Textbook version. It’s different to live it.”
        You don’t know them either.
        “I do.”
        You don’t even know what they’re using the site for, you said. It’s just that…wait. Here. Can you  hold up your—. Yeah like that.
        “You can’t understand.”
        Okay. Almost done.
        “You can’t know.”
        Almost done.

Jon R. Flieger lives in Québec City and writes video games for Ubisoft. Because of course. Just of course. His work has appeared in Canadian Literature, Descant, The Malahat Review, filling Station, The Windsor Review, Rampike, The Capilano Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Matrix, The Mays collection of the best Oxford and Cambridge writing, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and others. He has worked making books and magazines with Biblioasis, filling Station, and The Windsor Review. He has books with Palimpsest, Black Moss, and Zed. He is afraid of bees. He loves you.

Four Flutes

Nicole Haldoupis

The classroom leaked brassy noises. Squeaked and snorted like elephants or frightened birds. Janie had to choose her instrument like every other eleven-year-old in the room, although the others had a head start. She walked in behind Charlie, the freckly boy she couldn’t stop staring at whenever she got the chance. She hoped no one was looking, but it was hard to tell sometimes. She kind of wanted to play the saxophone because it was handsome and sounded different from all of the other instruments—it had a reed but was brassy at the same time. She wasn’t sure though. Most of the other girls wanted to play the flute, because it was small and pretty. But it was such a beautiful instrument, the saxophone. She sat beside Charlie and looked at the freckle near his mouth that moved when he smiled. It made her smile too.
        “What do you want to play?” he asked her.
        “I don’t know, what do you want to play?”
        “I think I want to play the sax.”
        “Me too!”
        She was so excited about learning the saxophone together, just her and Charlie. Maybe they could meet up at each other’s houses after school to practice together. The teacher began to go around the room, writing down the students’ instruments of choice.
        “Sax!” yelled Charlie.
        “Me too!” Janie said immediately after.
        “I’m afraid we only have one alto sax, you two. One of you is going to have to pick something else.”
        They looked at each other in despair. Charlie’s freckle returned to its original spot.
        “You know, the clarinet is very similar to the saxophone, but much smaller and a bit easier to learn,” the teacher told them.
        The two kids looked at each other again, both knowing how much the other wanted to play the sax.
        “I’ll play clarinet, I guess,” offered Janie. “Yes!” Charlie nearly jumped out of his seat. Janie sank into hers—she thought maybe he’d offer, too.
        “Thank you, Janie,” said the teacher. He scribbled on his clipboard and assigned her a clarinet number to retrieve from the pile. Charlie ran over to the only saxophone case in the room. Janie walked over to the clarinet pile and then to the clarinet section, sat in her black folding chair, next to the girls who wanted to play the flute.

Nicole Haldoupis is a co-creator and editor of untethered, the editor of Grain, and an editorial board member at JackPine Press. Her work can be found in journals and anthologies, most recently in The Feathertale Review.

The Turn the Worm Took

Cody Caetano

Wrong turn worm takes
In that bush piss settlement slur
To find morning glories hurried under wet socks
And comets as commas dragging pit sparks.

Cough drops for the haunted
Head hot, he saunters through saunas feeling
His coffin rot, tin roof spoon
Locked in botanical sinking.

He wakes to hand-creamed pumpkin peelers at the bus stop
Holding cornflakes packed for Stonehenge
Humming shift songs, those thirsty serpents
With no carbon tax in their future.

Cody Caetano is a Pinaymootang First Nation and Portuguese writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Echolocation, PRISM International, Acta Victoriana, a.side, and Hart House Review. He is currently enrolled in the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.

what i learned from the field behind my house

Ian Martin

you enter the world empty-handed. that’s politics, baby. that’s circumstance. an empty hand is like a cave. when you grow up in a cave everyone tells you you should have lived in a ditch, and also, it’s your fault. you used to live in a fault. you liked how it never settled. that’s plate tectonics, baby. that’s living. the longer you live indoors the less you write about the sky. when you run into the sky it’s just like old times, and you both say wow, why don’t we do this more often. the fault says it’s not jealous but you really think it should be. that’s tragedy, baby. that’s history. when you put trash in an empty hand and say oh good, it’s full now. another man’s trash, you say, the rest implied. but implication is an empty hand where nothing grows. in other words, a nice place to put something different. maybe you could ask around. someone must have an idea.

Ian Martin is a large boorish entity. Ian's latest chapbook, Places to hide (Coven Editions, 2018) has been nominated for no awards yet. Ian's work has recently appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry, In/Words, rout/e, and Absolutely Orbital.

Friendship Cove

Jason Freure

She said blondes were for pussies. What she meant was beer.
The band dressed like Riquer figures, and 3 out of 4 played keyboards.
Syrup stickied the walls and drew the hobgoblins from their bedrooms.

After that summer the noise bands came, and we sucked our shoes out of the punk.
The food at Moe’s stayed the same, and the Wall-O-Matic Seeburgs still never worked.
We went to Il Motore and pretended not to know our old classmates.

She couldn’t stop her favourite bands from breaking up.
She just stopped listening. “New” left our vocabulary.

No one plays at Friendship Cove.
Cushfield and Wakeman wait for Graham Van Pelt’s last chorus to rattle the aluminum.
They fear the ghosts of the fashionably dressed so much more than zoning committees.

I wore that blazer that’s lost its shape and smells like falling asleep on the subway.

She said you can only hide at Moe’s until dawn drags you out by its teeth
and in the morning rush you’re nauseous with your own mildewy insomnia.

The bottom of the bottomless coffee is full of goblins and the ends of things.

Jason Freure is operations manager at The Puritan and editor of The Town Crier, its literary blog. He has also published work in Maisonneuve, Carte Blanche, Spacing, Epiphany, Vallum, and Lemon Hound. His first book of poetry, Everybody Rides the Bus in a City of Losers, will be released fall 2018 by ECW.

A QUESTION

Kathryn Mockler

One might ask the question, can a snail be haunted? I have been working out this math equation all morning and have come up empty handed.

Just before lunch I receive an email with the salutation “Salut! Please read with understanding.” I delete the message before I think up this snappy comeback—I would prefer not to understand.

And then I realize that’s how I feel about my math equation with the snail. Even though it’s not actually a math equation but a question for a parapsychologist.

The problem is that you can’t find a registered parapsychologist in the phone book because no accredited university will offer a degree in the field.

On an online discussion forum, Michelle asks what exactly does she have to take in school if she wants to study ghosts and paranormal things to which a know-it-all replies “Science gave up on it years ago—if you come up with something, let us know, but until then, you're out of luck.”

I really feel for Michelle who now probably doesn’t know what the hell to do with her life. She’s just trying to get away from that horrible boyfriend and her father who drinks all the time.

To take my mind off Michelle’s troubles, I go outside and find a snail to keep me company. We mull over how best to respond to the know-it-all in order to give Michelle some semblance of hope during her darkest days.

Then me and the snail decide to have a good time which always involves taking a selfie by the rose bushes—except this time doesn’t turn out so good because I accidentally step on my small snail friend and crush him to death. No amount of wishing can bring him back.

And one might now ask the question, can a snail haunt?

This poem was written as part of a back and forth collaboration with Gary Barwin.

Kathryn Mockler is the Eastern Canadian Editor for JOYLAND: A HUB FOR SHORT FICTION and the Publisher of THE RUSTY TOQUE. Her writing is forthcoming in the Chicago Review, Lemon Hound, and Geist. She is the author of four poetry books.

The Finale

Nicky Tee

Im an engine
powered by oils
of crystals and
golden flakes

a private pool
of a millionaire’s
choice, if you may,
neatly nestled in
each of your pupils

a utopia wont recreate
the reverb through the
voice in your mind;
its a hit you just made

when I lull your teeth
in to an absolute numb,
im the cartoon you’ve
never witnessed before;

I’ve told your arm
hairs to rise and to be
held like hairspray,
a continuation of your
childhood late nights,
in lukewarm bed sheets,
when you were soaked
by the blue light of a screen

if I could walk,

you’d want my
autograph

anything else would
turn a symphony into
the landfill that are your
sidewalks
the dystopian city
these poems have
been written in

by the lifeless
in the year 3049

Nicky Tee is a poet living in Montreal that writes from the point of view of inanimate objects, as if they are humans. His writing has appeared in BAD NUDES Issue 2.3, Half a Grapefruit Magazine in Toronto, Soliloquies Anthology 21.2, and it’s forthcoming 22.2 print.

The reward

Rebekah Morgan

Either a horse, an ass
Or a resurgent army
Moving towards something
Of deaths doing

Yes
YES
The cabbage dies on the counter
Uneaten

Rebekah Morgan is a writer living in Romania. Tweeting at @rebekah_______

HORSES

Sara Jane Strickland

Carla, here is a trick:

If you lie underwater

in the bathtub,

the sound of the tap

running

is actually horses

galloping.

The mind plays tricks

sometimes – like how

sometimes

I want to follow

a complete stranger

and pretend

I am their guardian angel.

In the hospital

I press all the buttons

in the elevator,

always forgetting

which floor

my appointment is on.

Going up I hear

babies crying on

outside my metal box

and I am struck

by my own lightness –

the weightlessness

that comes with

ingesting

more pills than food.

Carla, sometimes

when I stand up from the bath

my body feels

like a heavy secret,

even to myself.

You would have washed

the buds out

of your blonde hair,

all the horses’

hooves

around your neck.

Sara Jane Strickland is a poet and writer living in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and her poetry and fiction has appeared in Room Magazine, Joyland and Canthius.

untitled at the dam

Emily Zuberec

on that first day at the dam
I knew there was nothing to see
besides the tense line where all sorts of blues
met the ridge of an unclipped toenail.

up on the walkway
I moved through moist air,
tightly bound in a way that was not expected.
my skin was sent into a frenzy of texture,
I was not sure what to call it so I called it nothing,
a habit to avoid being squashed
under the weight of a garbled translation.
a tentative path of sweat wound alongside my spine
flicking at the end like a rat’s tail.

before heading back to the parking lot
I took one last look over the spillway
:my eyes could barely process the volume,
a lure pulled at my navel
and I too felt as if I was about to flow.
In this moment, an otherwise dormant
part of myself asked “what have you done?”

now I must admit,
that I have never seen a dam.
but I’m sure that when I do,
the images will be clearer than these.

Emily Zuberec is from Vancouver B.C. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of the VOID Magazine at Concordia University.

Gnat Mask

Eric Benick

I walk into
the gnat cloud
and it becomes
my mask. Soon the rest
of me begins to take
shape. A robe of honey,
banana feet, moss
pants. I haunt
suburban homes
and stand in windows
like a painting.
I am just
as much of this world
as the one beneath it.
Product of Titian,
of Tennessee, of
Ford Taurus.
Claimed by no
provenance, I touch
what becomes me.
Atop my wooden
goat, I ride into
the water, living proof
of how far a boat
built of bullshit
can sail before
it sinks.

Eric Tyler Benick is co-founder and editor of Ursus Americanus Press, a chapbook publisher and online journal. His poems have appeared in The Vassar Review, Reality Beach, Souvenir, Fruita Pulp, Gramma, and elsewhere. He is a current MFA candidate for Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in The Bronx.

Body

Jon R. Flieger

Final day in the outpatient clinic on the verge and wax paper crinkles as the woman fidgets waiting. Early 20s. East Asian/brown/brown. Tiny. Her face and hands appear undamaged but the arms and chest exposed by her spaghetti strap tank top are covered in abrasions. Lesions? My eyes catalogue her automatically. Try to know her body. Saina, the attending doctor completing my induction, glances down at the chart and then puts it down carelessly on the table. Carelessly but facedown and out of reach of the patient. I understand that if I examine it I am to replace it to the table in that position. Perched up on the examination table, the woman is taller than Saina. Level with me. Head against fluorescents and one of the scabs on the woman’s chest is bleeding.
        “Hello, Moriko. How have you been?”
        “Hello, Doctor. Doctors?” Moriko eyes me.
        “This is Dr. Matthews. He’s completing the last day of his clinic training today.”
        I raise a hand, am about to tell her she can call me Ed but she cuts me off.
        “So, you don’t know what you’re doing yet?” She picks absently at one of the marks on her arm. Saina gently slaps her hand away. Gloves herself and wipes at the bloody mark on Moriko’s chest.
        “That’s the worst one? It’ll need a bit more patching. We’ll see to that in a moment,” she says. Then cradles Moriko’s underarm to lift and inspect the scabbing along the triceps. I can tell immediately we’ll need disinfectant and bandaging, whatever else we do. I busy myself by pulling supplies from the side cabinet. The cheap ones I don’t need Saina’s keys for. I get sour looks and scorn and you don’t know anything yet. Not keys. Which. Okay, fine. I’m not the attending. But I’ve still done, you know. Medical school. I don’t understand the instant dislike people take. Or. It’s their bodies so I suppose I understand but. Saina clucks her tongue.
        “These are all self-inflicted, Edward. Moriko is. Would you hand me the. Oh, yes thank you. Moriko is an old friend of ours here.” She looks up from dabbing the arm and the two women smile at each other. It seems genuine. Saina wants to actually take care of her, not just process her body. It’s. Well, it’s nice, I guess.
        “It’s my condition,” Moriko says to me. “It’s a compulsive behaviour. I can’t not do it.”
        The recently acquired term floats up and breaks. Trichotillomania. Body-focused repetitive behaviour. If this is a psych case we should really try and refer it.
        “Moriko receives treatment from Dr. Jarman,” Saina says, bent over the broken skin. Over Moriko, I mean. “But we’re happy to treat the somatics here.” Jarman consults on psych on floor three. This is for me. This is to tell me not to turn her away or give her a hard time. Which. Okay.
        Saina pulls aside a strap to examine the worst of the epidermal damage. What looks like an ingrown hair that has been dug out of her chest. With tweezers, likely, but by the bruising and torn skin it looks like they weren’t very good ones. Or the hair was actually nowhere near the surface of the skin. As the tank top dips, I can’t help but blush. Look away. Even the naked cadavers in anatomy class made me feel like I was intruding. Floating into a space I have no right to haunt. I want to inch closer to see the damage to the skin but I’m suddenly conscious that I hadn’t made a move closer until her chest began to be exposed and now is it weird. Or is it weird not to. I move the gauze, bandages, steri-strips and disinfectant within Saina’s reach to distract myself from what feels like a trespassing. I know some interns don’t like to do “nurse work.” They pretend the notes they jot on their pad are all-encompassing; they couldn’t possibly help out they’re so busy learning. But if I don’t get things Saina will just get them herself. Saina and Moriko are talking quietly, heads bowed together over the shadowscarring on the skin.
        “No, I know. I really am doing better. I mean. I came in, right? I didn’t just keep picking. I got an ingrown hair, and I tried to ignore it, I really did. But then I got kind of a pimple over top of it. And. It’s just that you can’t understand. Popping that whitehead and then a little bit of gunk comes out and when it does the hair underneath. Just a fraction of an inch of it comes out of the burst zit. It’s. It’s amazing. It’s just there. It was under the skin and now it’s here. You have to dig it out. It’s peeking at you and you have to. I had one once that unfurled once the zit popped. It was balled up underneath, pressing against the skin. And once it was freed it unraveled. Like a. I don’t know. An unraveling thing. A snake. A flag.”
        “Yes,” says Saina, detached. “And that was here on your chest? The most recent ingrown.”
        “Yeah. And then. Well, it was good so I guess I kind of went hunting for other hairs. Did some damage. Sorry.”
        Saina deflects the misplaced apology with a terse shake of the head. Begins patching the worst of the epidermal damage. Moriko watches from behind her bangs. Occasionally slides eyes to me.
        There are two quick knocks on the door, and then without waiting for an answer a young nurse barrels into the room, chart before her like a weapon.
        For a moment we’re three women and a man quietly looking at each other in a small room. It smells like disinfectant and the vinyl sealing they just redid on the floors in this wing. Most of Moriko’s pockmarked right breast is out.
        “Nurse?”
        “Sorry, Doctor. Sorry, ma’am. It’s Miss Geralds, Doctor. She’s complaining of pain even though she should be out of her mind on the dose she had. She’s fighting the porter.”
        All my shiny new knowledge springs to mind. Is she epileptic? Is she on anti-psychotics? Has she developed cross-drug resistance? I want to be called on, to offer all my knowledge. I’m nearly dancing from foot to foot like a schoolboy I’m so eager to be called on. But Saina doesn’t call on me. She shakes her head again and looks up at Moriko, not at me.
        “Alright, Moriko. I need to help poor Miss Geralds, but you’re not as bad as you look. Nurse Jess here will. Or wait. Are you alright with having Edward attend to your skin? Nurse Jess will remain in the room if you wish.
        Nurse Jess doesn’t like this, you can tell. But she doesn’t say anything. Neither do I. Moriko shrugs. Begins to tuck her breast back in but then stops.
        “Sure. No, that’s okay. You already got the worst of it. Thanks, doctor.”
        “Goodbye, Moriko. Edward.” And she leaves. Nurse Jess tells us she’ll be right in the hall if we need her. She addresses this to Moriko. Which is probably the right thing to do. I still somehow feel offended. Or like I should feel offended but because I don’t yet have full hospital privileges I don’t have the privilege of offense, either. I decide I’m being a dick and let it go.
        Alright, Moriko, I say, but my voice cracks. I’ve been quiet for so long my voice has rusted. I dab at the spots on her arm. Not quite ready to tackle the rest of the damage on her chest yet. She has some scarring from past attacks against herself, but relatively minimal. Despite her compulsion she must have tremendous self-control to have done so little permanent damage.
        “It probably seems really strange to you,” she says.
        No, it’s. I. Can you hold your arm up, please?
        “It’s getting tired.”
        Just another minute then I’ll do the other one.
        “It started with my mom. And teeth.”
        I. You don’t have to explain anything to me, you realize.
        “Just. When I was little and I had a loose tooth, right? She’d pick me up and lay me on the big chest freezer in the basement. Like an operating table. Like this table except horrifying and cold and dark. And it hummed. Just a naked bulb over it that would swing when she bumped it with her head. And the light made a noise, too, but I can never remember it right. And she’d take pliers and she’d pull the loose tooth out. And she said it was good for me. It let the permanent tooth grow in. But she seemed to enjoy the pulling out and I didn’t understand it. There was something she got from it.”
        Was the “something” sadism? I think but don’t say. My own father, performer of minor home surgeries, was apologetic and gentle whenever a tooth, hangnail, or other undesirable needed to be removed from my body. Once I had a nasty shard of wood work its way up under a sheath of skin on my palm. He said he’d count to three and then pull it out. He only counted one and slipped it out like he was batting down a cobweb. I didn’t have time to tense or pull away. I screamed in his face.
        “Then as I got older I started to get these hairs. Thick black hairs around my nipples. It’s not fair. My brother’s skin is so smooth. But I’m hairy.”
        Good lord, she’s still talking. I must pull a face here thinking about the way I talked to my dad, because suddenly she’s defensive.
        “Women get hairs, too.”
        No, I know. I know women get hairs.
        “Oh right. You’re a doctor. Or, well, almost a doctor.”
        I ignore this.
        “And it hurt so much to pull them out. But it was also. I don’t know. A release? A rush. And popping really ripe zits was the same thing. Online I’ve seen people write that it’s ejaculatory or sexual or whatever but. Gross. No. It’s just. I don’t know. It’s something I have to do. But I was getting better. I swear.”
        What kind of. Do you mind me asking what treatment you’re under? For the non-somatic components?
        “It’s kind of a self-medication. I’ve been seeing this guy, Dave, and he’s Lebanese. He’s got this really hairy chest and shoulders.”
        What.
        “So we run a webcam for Trichotillomaniacs. For a fee you can watch me stream video of me plucking individual hairs out of him. Super-zoomed in. Like a porn website, you know. I mean. You probably know. And sure, probably some people are watching the hairs come out and they’re jacking off, but for me it helps me fight my compulsion and I like to think it’s helping other people.”
        What are you… You charge money for...?
        “Well. Trichotillomaniacs have to eat, too. And it doesn’t do damage to him, really, because I don’t have to dig for his hairs. God. He’s got an endless supply and it just grows back when you blink. It’s like he’s wearing a sweater, I swear to God. I want to start on his beard but he says no. But it’s helping.”
        It’s not your body, though, I say and begin cleaning her breast.
        “Well.”
        Well.
        “You don’t know what they’re going through, though. The people watching. Or you do but. Textbook version. It’s different to live it.”
        You don’t know them either.
        “I do.”
        You don’t even know what they’re using the site for, you said. It’s just that…wait. Here. Can you  hold up your—. Yeah like that.
        “You can’t understand.”
        Okay. Almost done.
        “You can’t know.”
        Almost done.

Jon R. Flieger lives in Québec City and writes video games for Ubisoft. Because of course. Just of course. His work has appeared in Canadian Literature, Descant, The Malahat Review, filling Station, The Windsor Review, Rampike, The Capilano Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Matrix, The Mays collection of the best Oxford and Cambridge writing, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and others. He has worked making books and magazines with Biblioasis, filling Station, and The Windsor Review. He has books with Palimpsest, Black Moss, and Zed. He is afraid of bees. He loves you.

Four Flutes

Nicole Haldoupis

The classroom leaked brassy noises. Squeaked and snorted like elephants or frightened birds. Janie had to choose her instrument like every other eleven-year-old in the room, although the others had a head start. She walked in behind Charlie, the freckly boy she couldn’t stop staring at whenever she got the chance. She hoped no one was looking, but it was hard to tell sometimes. She kind of wanted to play the saxophone because it was handsome and sounded different from all of the other instruments—it had a reed but was brassy at the same time. She wasn’t sure though. Most of the other girls wanted to play the flute, because it was small and pretty. But it was such a beautiful instrument, the saxophone. She sat beside Charlie and looked at the freckle near his mouth that moved when he smiled. It made her smile too.
        “What do you want to play?” he asked her.
        “I don’t know, what do you want to play?”
        “I think I want to play the sax.”
        “Me too!”
        She was so excited about learning the saxophone together, just her and Charlie. Maybe they could meet up at each other’s houses after school to practice together. The teacher began to go around the room, writing down the students’ instruments of choice.
        “Sax!” yelled Charlie.
        “Me too!” Janie said immediately after.
        “I’m afraid we only have one alto sax, you two. One of you is going to have to pick something else.”
        They looked at each other in despair. Charlie’s freckle returned to its original spot.
        “You know, the clarinet is very similar to the saxophone, but much smaller and a bit easier to learn,” the teacher told them.
        The two kids looked at each other again, both knowing how much the other wanted to play the sax.
        “I’ll play clarinet, I guess,” offered Janie. “Yes!” Charlie nearly jumped out of his seat. Janie sank into hers—she thought maybe he’d offer, too.
        “Thank you, Janie,” said the teacher. He scribbled on his clipboard and assigned her a clarinet number to retrieve from the pile. Charlie ran over to the only saxophone case in the room. Janie walked over to the clarinet pile and then to the clarinet section, sat in her black folding chair, next to the girls who wanted to play the flute.

Nicole Haldoupis is a co-creator and editor of untethered, the editor of Grain, and an editorial board member at JackPine Press. Her work can be found in journals and anthologies, most recently in The Feathertale Review.

The Turn the Worm Took

Cody Caetano

Wrong turn worm takes
In that bush piss settlement slur
To find morning glories hurried under wet socks
And comets as commas dragging pit sparks.

Cough drops for the haunted
Head hot, he saunters through saunas feeling
His coffin rot, tin roof spoon
Locked in botanical sinking.

He wakes to hand-creamed pumpkin peelers at the bus stop
Holding cornflakes packed for Stonehenge
Humming shift songs, those thirsty serpents
With no carbon tax in their future.

Cody Caetano is a Pinaymootang First Nation and Portuguese writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Echolocation, PRISM International, Acta Victoriana, a.side, and Hart House Review. He is currently enrolled in the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.