Monday, October 31, 2016

Carlos A. DeJuana

Day of the Dead

They walk among us,
snickering at our costumes
but secretly wishing
they could dress in our flesh.
While we lay marigolds
at their graves,
they sneak into our homes
through drafty windows
to catch up on Games of Thrones,
fast forwarding through commercials
so they can get back
before St. Peter locks the door.
Before they leave,
they rummage
through family albums
and flip through the photos on our phones
while we sleep,
desperately trying to remember
who they once were.

Carlos A. DeJuana spent nine years working as a journalist across Latin America before settling in Washington, DC, where he now works for the federal government.  His poetry has appeared in riverSedge, a literary journal published by the University of Texas-Pan American, and most recently in the online journal Synesthesia. He is married and has two daughters.  When he is not working, taking care of his girls, or writing, he greatly enjoys naps.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tom Darin Liskey

Oral History

Her husband found work
Teaching in a backcountry schoolhouse
After the war.
It wasn’t her first choice, she said,
But in lean times like those,
You took what opportunity presented.
They headed west
In a beat up Ford truck
Given to the couple in dowry.
The birth of their first child followed—
A boy with sandy hair and blue eyes.
She named the child after her husband,
But everyone called him Little Bit.
It was a happy time, she said.
Living in an old farm house
On the edge of an alfalfa field 
Paid for by the school board.
The teacher’s salary was paltry,
But the children’s parents would bring them: 
Potatoes. Onions. Ham. Apples. Butter.
Whatever bounty the season had to offer. 
The weather turned sour early that year
And the baby caught a fever.
People remembered it as the worst winter ever.
Despite the prayers and doctoring,
Sickness took the child one moonless night.
But the man and woman had to wait 
To lay their firstborn to rest
Until some men from church
Built a fire to thaw out
The iron hard ground for burial.
Even in her 80s, when she talked about 
Dressing her son for the funeral—
Her hands moved hesitantly
In their grim remembrance of that day.
And in that instance,
I saw, not an old woman,
But memory’s ghost: A young mother
Standing at the edge of a bed 
Where a child lay bathed in lemon water
And slanted winter light,
Brushing the boy’s hair for the last time.


Tom Darin Liskey spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. His fiction and non fiction have appeared in the Crime Factory, and Driftwood Press. His photographs have been published in Hobo Camp Review, Roadside Fiction, Blue Hour Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal and Midwestern Gothic.