Cindy Hochman & Bob Heman


this poem contains no doors
only a hatchway that is usually hidden
and an odd-shaped dark tunnel and long vestibule
where all kinds of things are waiting to wake
like those monsters you thought you had slain as a child
that still whisper words you can barely hear
though you try and try so hard to ignore it
words that want to inhabit this poem
but can only get in if the poets let them
sneaking them in through the hatchway no one else knows
that secret passageway where bad dreams are stored
waiting to be hatched in unexpected poems
with long-lost last lines that can jar the senses
and make new doors of their own


Lazarus wasn't the same when he awoke
returning from death isn’t as easy as it looks
there were all kinds of disturbing memories
and fever dreams full of Jesus
raising polar bears from their premature deaths
and all other creatures, large and small
from their silent unmarked graves
sloughing off dust from fur and fin
until sometimes nothing more than a skeleton remained
and they walked the earth in peril and pain
not always recognized as what they once were
defying the laws of evolution
but remaining a reminder of what we all will become
when the earth opens up and swallows us whole


For the game they were each given a piece of string and seven yellow marbles.
There were ten players, each one of them wearing a different colored hat.
They were allowed to move only if they followed the arrows.
But the arrows pointed in directions that didn’t exist.
The first one who said the word "red" was required to turn to the right.
The first one who said the word “blue” was required to turn to the left.
The numbers they recited told them how quickly they could move.
They moved around in a scattershot manner.
Each tree or frog they passed was marked with their own special sign.
A triangle, a flag, or a crescent moon.
Or maybe a picture of a little owl so high up the others could barely see it.
One player painted a white cross in scarlet blood.
But soon it was time to reach for the string and marbles.
Though it was just a game, there were no survivors.

Cindy Hochman is the president of "100 Proof" Copyediting Services and the editor-in-chief of the online poetry journal First Literary Review-East. She is on the book review staffs of The Pedestal and Clockwise Cat. Recent poems appear in The New Verse News, Home Planet News, and Unbroken Journal. Her latest chapbook is Habeas Corpus (Glass Lyre Press).

Bob Heman is full of information. His words have appeared recently in New American Writing, Caliban online, concis, First Literary Review-East, and in The Other Side of Violet [the latest anthology from Great Weather for MEDIA].
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