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Sheldon Lee Compton

Bakadewin (Hunger)


The Wendigo stood to be seen in its full form, the emaciated body, skin so flecked and brittle it could peel open in a breeze, the ribs a resting canopy across its middle, its legs little more than a jutting tangle of pulsing veins. In its hand was the swirling ball of the earth. Its eyes were sad, a vivid green against the stygian backdrop of the universe. And though its eyes shined sadness, the mouth was a horrible circle of tongue and teeth, the insides slickened wet. Yawning, it stretched its boney jawline to breaking and revealed the depths of its throat throbbing with life, anticipation. It was as if the mouth cried separately to be nourished, like an infant trapped inside the face of a monster. In one blurring gesture, the Wendigo cupped its meal with shredded fingers and gave a long, sepulchral wheeze.

The earth did spray like
stardust resplendent light from
its mouth and was gone.

Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books, most recently the novel Brown Bottle (Bottom Dog Press, 2016). His stories can be found in Unbroken Journal, Gravel, New World Writing, PANK, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, Spelk, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. He was cited in Best Small Fictions 2015 and Best Small Fictions 2016.


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No Mote
black swans i almost didnt see
but for their glowy beaks
red as sumac- they didnt match
the dark tones of lake, stuck out
like your lust for me while i read to
the children all cloistered- who could
hear me even from the colonnade,
all hickory and hops-vine, where
i saw you watch me from inside
a white willow tree.

mergansers with their heads trailing
swam among dead stakes of lotus.
that belted kingfisher bode us a
good day, and returned the
children to their cages below bald
cypress knees so naked i had
to look away.

you willowed no longer, i took leaf to mean wing, and feather to mean ivy. i took a shaded path back
to the armory. it got hot and thick
and i could breathe more heavily,
rapt on high, no mote of hope.



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