HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Brutal Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some of our shortlisted contributors the chance to be published on our website.
Keep an eye on our social media for more great writing like this, in the run up to the release of The Brutal Issue…
I am standing in the center of what rattles
me, the way a dog in a storm never would.
I am circling a temple, multiplying myself
‘til there are enough of me to keep all
the prayer bells swinging at the same time.
Faster & faster ’til it only requires a handful,
‘til it only takes one of me. I am going so fast
I have become the rattling. I turn my head to
observe what I have willingly willed out of
my grasp: grass, gravestone, mountain dog,
‘til the rattling rests its vortex in my palm.
Lately, I have been running from you.
I am not sure why, I left you a long time ago.
Wait – you left me. I was the one who stayed
gone. I am afraid of flying anywhere wrinkling
the distance between us, where you can place
a wet snout to the ground and trace a path to
me. The worst part is I cannot smell you back,
I cannot see you coming. I think I am prepared,
that I hold the vortex in my hands. The rattling
begins again. I confuse my metaphors and
compare myself to a house sparrow perching
on the edge of a puddle a Himalayan mutt
has just vacated. I must then enter this puddle, mud
or no mud, dung-filled or otherwise. My socks will
get wet, my red shawl will shrivel. When I step cleanly
through the surface, I have no socks and no shawl.
The person I am running from is here. He is holding
my shawl in one hand and a house sparrow in the other.
I am afraid he will close that fist, snuff the life out.