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L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine

The Kitten Room                                                                    1st        Lucy Dunphy Barsness

 

We reach a room paneled in dark

eggplant, palm wood.

“This is where you’ll be staying.

You can use this commode here,

if you…need to,” my aunt says.

 

The room, maintained at 60 degrees,

is crammed with kittens:

behemoth oil paintings of kittens with

titanic baleful eyes and bows,

bows abounding like a pernicious infestation,

kittens bristling with bows like children

who are engulfed by their enormous baptismal gowns,

diminutive porcelain statues of kittens,

kittens in bows batting yarn balls

kitten salt and pepper shakers, kitten umbrella stands,

kitten tea kettles, kittens on gingham hosting a picnic,

kittens lollygagging,

kittens swatting at nacreous strung-up dragonflies,

kittens with massive, cartoon cheeks,

faces of peaches and cream mounted on

Brobdingnagian heads, kittens in green and yellow baskets,

kissing kittens, kittens tangled in Christmas lights,

kittens licking each other in kitten orgies,

kittens with wide bellies stuck in flower pots,

kittens in beds with plump bellies skyward.

 

My sleep is patchy and anxiety-dappled.

Several of the kittens leap on the bed

to jig in their ill-fitting dresses and tie

a piece of yarn around my finger

One whispers, “La liberté” and

I cannot tell if this is what it achieves

when the lights go off or if this some sort of entreaty.

Another whispers, “la nuit est calme, mon petit chou,”

bathing me with a scratchy tongue.

 

At 5:30am, I ascend the stairs.

She’s waiting fully-dressed,

with two bowls of saccharine strawberries,

having risen early to walk her dog

through the opaque, slate fog of San Francisco beaches.

 

 

2015 POETRY CONTEST WINNERS

-1st Place Winner-

The Kitten Room -  Lucy Dunphy Barsness

 

-2nd Place Winner-

Flicker - B. J. Jones

B.J. Jones writes about rogue pharmacists, phantom limbed windmills, quidnuncs, Luciferian calories, amorous bowling shoes, Funkhousers, martyred coupons, Nietzschian wire hangers, invisible tomatoes, and pen clicking adversaries while living in Dubuque, IA with his wife. Some of it even gets published.

Lucy Dunphy Barsness is from Athens, Georgia. She currently studies at Sarah Lawrence College, concentrating in literature and creative writing. She works as an editor-in-chief at the undergraduate literary magazine, the Sarah Lawrence College Review

Flicker                                                                                       2nd                 

B. J. Jones

 

This is not an invitation to haunt my house,

but if there is something beyond the empirical,

just flicker the lamp twice.

 

No need to hire an exorcist, but if there are

angels to entertain and demons that believe,

just flicker the lamp twice.

 

Don’t send Freddy, Jason,

evil clowns or the undead,

just flicker the lamp twice.

 

No need for a séance, Ouija

board or Bloody Mary to test,

just flicker the lamp twice.

 

Wait until I’m in bed with the

covers over my head and then

just flicker the lamp twice.

BJ01 pen