Dear Readers

Dear Readers,

This October issue of See Spot Run is one of transition, our new staff is able to embark on a journey to shape the journal in ways that might not have been done before. We wish you to free your creativity and soar, and as a staff we wish to do this same for the journal. We hope you will see us through our transitional times, with the continuously high level of writing that is featured here, to a time where See Spot Run speaks out as an individual. To break from the pack, from tradition, and to set our own expectations is the dream, we hope you are ready to embark on this journey together. Welcome to the Golden Allusion.

Elizabeth Webb

Editor-in-Chief

Runaway by Robin Wright

The girl, blonde hair touching her
bare shoulders like a whisper,

looks in the mirror. How long
since she watched her mother paint

lipstick over swollen lips
plaster powder on bruised skin?

She glances past her image
at the naked, balding man,

lying on sheets crumpled,
stained. She lights a Lucky

Strike as he jerks on pants, leaves
her slumped on the edge

of the bed, damp with sweat,
dirty with memories,

dissolving under the sign,
Value Motel.

The Maternity Unit by Suvi Mahonen

Strands of light blue twisted, crossed over, then sank into the expanse of knitted wool only to emerge at the next stitch and repeat the pattern again. They ran in parallel symmetry, converging up to the pompom at the top of the cap. Around the circumference of the brim ran a border of yellow on which marched small embossed elephants, each holding the tail of the one before it with its trunk. Fine wisps of dark hair the same colour as Nick’s curled out from beneath the edge to cling to its fuzzy surface in places. When we’d bought it eight weeks ago I’d thought it was too small to fit anyone, but Nick had correctly guessed it would be the right size.
The skin of Bobby’s forehead not covered by the cap was furrowed as if caused by a frown. This accentuated his eyebrows, delicate lines of barely there hair on the ledge of his sockets, inclining medially upwards to form an arc at the top of the bridge of his nose. His nose was short, more like a nubbin, tilted slightly upwards at the end like mine; its tip was a little raw, as if wiped by a tissue one too many times.
I ran my finger over the smooth and doughy surface of his swollen lips. Velvety glossed skin a few centigrade cooler than mine. Drooping in loose repose, colour not right, a dusky shade of purple.
He lay in my arms, loosely wrapped in a green flannel blanket, the back of his head resting in the crook of my left elbow. His body was both light and also strangely heavy. I held my arms still though there was no reason why. Looking at him I tried to align our eyes. His lids were parted slightly, a hint of blue between moist lashes. As I sat there, propped with three plastic-covered wipe-down pillows between my back and the bed’s head, I kept wanting, almost waiting for those eyes to blink.
Nick sat on the edge of the bed, arm on my shoulder, looking at our Bobby. Afternoon light angled in through the window and cast Venetian-striped contrasting shadows on our son’s already mottled cheeks. My finger moved downward tracing his chin, then onwards across his jaw to his left ear, curving to avoid an open patch of sloughed skin. It wasn’t the only one. There were two on his right cheek and a large one on the side of his neck, the full extent of its angry margins concealed by the collar of his Peter Rabbit jumpsuit. Made of the softest white cotton, it was the outfit I’d planned for our baby to wear on his first trip back to our home. Across the garment multiple little rabbits sat on their haunches, cheeks puffed with chewing, holding a large carrot whose tip was missing. Sewn into the outside seam of the left shoulder was a tiny blue tag saying this was a genuine item. Matching mitts and booties were still in the bag.
I moved aside a fold of blanket so I could see more of him. His left arm was angled, bent at the elbow, resting on the front of his chest. The embroidered cuff of the suit’s sleeve was hitched a short way up the forearm. Between the rim of the cuff and the base of Bobby’s closed fist circled a thick clear plastic band fastly secured. In the pocket of the band a slip of paper had words typed on it in small letters, the portion visible to me saying, ‘Baby of Alicia Rus …’ The bend over his wrist’s bony prominence obscured the rest. A vein line of discolouring more pronounced than that of the skin went up the back of his hand to the fourth knuckle dimple. Lifting his hand gently I straightened his four fingers and thumb from their loose clench. The webbing between them was puffy and wrinkled, like he’d been soaking in a tub for too long. Such small and frail digits despite their also waterlodden state, the creases over their joints swollen to mere faint lines. On his distal pads were enlarged whorls of print. Opaque slivers of flesh were peeling back from around the nails. I closed his fingers again, covering his hand with mine.
We remained in silence.
Me, my husband and our baby.
I was conscious of sounds from outside the room—muffled voices, the ping of a call bell and the diminishing roll of a trolley. But these didn’t enter my reverie. The only noise that was real to me was the whistle of breath from my nostrils and the clicking of the clock’s second hand. A mere moment in time, yet this seemed like forever.
‘Would you like an autopsy to be performed?’ Dr Taylor had asked us.
‘Is it necessary?’ I said.
‘It’s your choice. But it may help to find out exactly what went wrong.’
‘We’ll think about it,’ Nick said.
Dr Taylor stood there by the side of my bed. His gaze kept shifting between Bobby and the green blanket. From the edge of my eye I saw his hands move to cross each other and rest at the front of his belt. Speckles of blood soiled the cuffs of his white shirt. I wanted him to leave but also needed him to stay. It was as if I had the delusion that he was somehow able to reverse this. He remained there for a few more awkward minutes then made his excuses and left the room with a final ‘Sorry’.
It was then that Nick had put his arm around my shoulder, and we stayed that way with Bobby cradled against my swelled breasts that were aching with the need to lactate.
‘You haven’t called my mum yet, have you?’ I asked Nick as I held onto Bobby’s hand.
‘Do you want me to?’
I shook my head. Once our families knew, it would be real.
I stared across the room at the wall opposite. Glints of slatted sunlight reflected off the glass that protected a framed painting. A lamb standing on a hill’s green slope. Underneath it against the wall was an empty cot on wheels. It was the one in which the midwife had brought Bobby back in to me once she had cleaned, weighed and dressed him.
I looked back at my son and squeezed his hand gently. His soft nails pressed into the folds of my palm. I turned to look into Nick’s bloodshot eyes.
‘Can you ask the midwives if there are any nail clippers around?’
‘Why?’
‘I don’t want him to be buried with long nails,’ I said.
I started to cry.

How to Remove Unwanted Growths by Todd Follett

Find a new razor, pull
off the plastic that secrets
the blade from soft
bodies. Dig it in
around the afflicted
area; stifle the air raid
siren brewing beneath
your tongue so he
does not hear,
half-dozing in his chair
while watching the news.
When you’ve cut it
all, clutch it
with your fingers. Jerk
the rot out, dig
inside the wound to kill
the corrupted roots.
Feel faint as you pour
rubbing alcohol onto
a shaky napkin and wince
as it marries your stain. Call
to your father when
you can’t stop the bleeding
so he can call you
dumbass as he rushes
to help. Go to sleep
and remember your brother
saying Do what I say
and there’ll be
no more warts.

Mouse Man by Taylor Card

when you touch, touch
i don’t blush much
you dance, dance,
from the kiss-mouthes
to my teased sins
from the hiss-mouse
to my cheese bins
and wow, sister, this dear mister
knows too much
and wow, sister, cats hiss-whisper
for the timid mouse

what feeds on cheese
what will you please

bow sister, thanks mister,
hows and such
bow-wow, hisser, what a pisser
mouse and hutch

when you touch, touch
i don’t blush much
i don’t kiss mouthes
i don’t tease sin
i don’t want none
i’m no timid mouse
i got my cheese bins
when you dance, dance
i won’t bow, mister
leave off my sister
stop tryna kiss ‘er

i’m no tease
back off, please

Fields of red by Sabrina DeGroot

most of the time
you would just expect
city lights
polluting the peace
with its constant artificial glow

but instead
the only light
that exposes the world around it
besides the faint headlights
that shine in the distance

are the blinking red
synchronized and eerie
reminding the world
that something is still there
that every space is occupied
whether we can perceive it or not

Bones by Todd Follett

it is the bones that come
together willingly
amongst fractures
metatarsals interlaced
protected by skin sheathes
confined with rings
burdened by emeralds
and sentimental things

the drift of the pelvis
spine arched like a lever
skin and light vacillating

the haunt of another’s voice
transmitted from their skeleton
must hit one’s middle ear
its three tiny bones
hammer, stirrup, anvil
that frame the far
as it becomes the near

Undisclosed desires by Grant Hill

The day after I died I met the handsome man
We traveled through air and time
Answering questions
All dead men ask.
He was a bit taller than I was with glowing olive skin
I realized we were naked at this point
And I had hoped to transcend jealousy after death

We conversed as two people too similar to be friends.
I dreamed of paella and sushi
He lived in Barcelona and Seoul.
I wrote when I could.
He was published.

The conversation ended
We stood in front of a mirror
Comparing one another
Seeing my own body
But fitter, handsomer.

He lapped up pain with a Chesire grin
Suffering is metting the person you should’ve become

READ THIS POEM OUTLOUD TO YOURSELF by Taylor Card

Read
this poem out loud to yourself
when it’s quiet and soft touches to your hair and heart
don’t soothe well enough.
Take a deep breath in and tongue your front teeth wet
so that they don’t catch your lips at the first purse of
read.
Gentle your hands where they fidget on your thighs
and breathe out long until the pressure on your lungs
catches like your ribs are caving in
and your stomach clenches and presses out
against the waistband of your jeans
and digs in.
Then taste the first word:
read;
savor it,
how your lips know to move out as if to kiss
and your tongue follows in a quick jerk
forward, then up as
the tap of your tongue
tickles the roof of your mouth
for the duh
in
read.
You don’t need to think about it,
but if you touch your fingers to your lips
in a barely there brush of flesh on flesh
and say:
read
this poem out loud to yourself
you will kiss your fingertips at least five times
and feel a little less lonely.

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