July 1, 2019
The old spider died,
Finally, though we didn’t know
We were waiting for it,
Not the way disloyal courtiers,
Painted eyes cast up to a heaven
Full of saints on the payroll,
Must have prayed, devoutly,
For the end of Louis XI.
This spider was a lady, old school,
Only in print for her funeral.
No one marked the day of her birth.
She was ordinary then, missish
About her burrow. She worked in silk
And mud; Louis, also called Prudent,
Chose treaties, assignations, marriage,
He stole his father’s pet—it doesn’t matter.
They’ll both be logged on Wikipedia,
Succeeded by offspring, half-alive in code.
Daisy Bassen is a practicing physician and poet. She graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, The Delmarva Review, The Sow’s Ear, and Tuck Magazine as well as multiple other journals. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, a finalist in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Prize, a recent winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest and was doubly nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.
At fifty-nine, I cut my hair
My head rises like a periscope.
My ears uncovered, turning like a cat’s.
My eyes move forward, predator position.
No, not dangerous. Only
of being looked at. Now’s my time to look.
Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She teaches writing at Michigan State University, gives readings and publishes poetry in the U.S. and abroad. This year, she’s especially pleased to have published poems in The Wild Word (Germany), Agony Opera (India), Prachya (Bangladesh) and Nationalism, a Zimbabwean anthology. She has an anti-Trump chapbook out for publication, titled Flatman. When the world is too much with her, she escapes to books, cats and Michigan lakes, and dreams of a saltwater infinity pool she once knew in Palermo. You can find more of her poetry here.
Five ways to disappear
1) No matter what, the IRS can find me. There’s nowhere to hide. If I drive my car into the Pacific and dig a hole into the deepest recesses of the ocean floor, an agent will discover my trembling body underneath a pile of crabs.
2) Each minute I get smaller. Yesterday I was two feet tall. Today, only nine inches. I remember being 5’7, but that was long ago. Photos hang over my desk. Me: smiling, not knowing I was about to vanish. I’ll be one with the cosmos by August.
3) One day I won’t exist. People will walk through the space that used to be me. They won’t know it. That’s only fair. I don’t pay much attention when I step in another person’s spot, either. I charge in like I own the place.
4) I stare across the park at the horizon. My reality ends at a grove of trees behind the brick walls of a $500,000 house. That building was worth half as much three years ago.
5). You might be dead. Same old shit each time I google your name. An ancient Myspace page. YouTube videos from 2011, when you were in a band. Facebook account deactivated. LinkedIn profile says you’re still a grocery clerk. Do something new, so I’ll know we’re both still alive.
Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her next two books, 'Death and Heartbreak' and 'Misguided Behavior', will be published in Autumn, 2019 by Weasel Press and Czykmate Press. Leah’s work appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest. You can follow her work on Facebook and Twitter.