The Back of Trudy’s Head Everything, at once came to Trudy on the bus, the world through a window smeared with hair grease came in clear, she looked around at all the other passengers and knew us — felt our tension in her shoulders, drew a breath of body odor, smelled our fear. And the thick, pink man who sat ahead of Trudy leaned back to scratch his mat of ratted graying hair releasing flakes of skin down his back and in the air, then turned to smile a crooked-tooth smile at himself in the window, that at night is both a window and a mirror. Trudy pulled the cord to make the driver stop, as it was all that she could think to do, and when he did the doors swung open but Trudy could not get off — no one did but me, and I watched the back of Trudy’s head till the bus drove out of view. Bridgette | Since the Accident Friday’s the new Thursday for Bridgette, since she moves with sudden grace at such an elementary pace through space and time. Hurried, her peers move in flurries of noise and light, while Bridgette listens carefully for a voice inside her head to steady her through the crowd, the sound of waves, of brilliant sun, crash and scatter within as they take flight. Two o’clock’s as good as ten to Bridgette, since all that remains of time or space is that hint of determination grounded in Bridgette’s face. Creating Shondra Shondra wakes with broken glasses, crooked teeth, a too-small dress, to wonder why I’ve created her with nothing less than perfectness. She skips down stairs to breakfast, presses a finger to the nose of her glasses, holding them in place she frowns at me and asks, Why you not make me pretty like Cassandra on her bright red bike or Isaac, who I really like but won’t kiss a girl like me? And feeling bad, I think to change her, though every change makes Shondra a stranger so, Shondra, I tell her, you can’t be anyone else. Lucy | Not Lucy Lucy blew into the night a white frost of cigarette smoke, stunning the stars with her harlequin ars poetica, she said a few words about beads and birds, Pearl and paradise. Lucy flew like a baby bat through life — erratic, ecstatic, living like Janis Joplin-cum- Charlie Chaplin — out of that she fashioned reckless comedies from all life’s little tragedies. Lucy one drab morning woke, to brave the day she undertook the task of scratching out her previous life’s existence, then made her face up, literally inventing a different Lucy.
Stephen Jackson is the originator of the Seattle small press So Many Birds publishing (SMBp), which produced Harness, an offbeat quarterly literary magazine with its eye on “what’s left of literature,” and Future+Present, a highly regarded biannual chapbook showcasing the work of previously unpublished local writers. The author of several self-published chapbooks, including Fifteen and Saturnine Lives, his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Grey Sparrow Journal, HelloHorror, and Impossible Archetype. Please follow him at https://twitter.com/fortyoddcrows