Category Archives: SS – Series One

“Alone and Fading” by Elias Red

Driving along the back roads of eastern Iowa
in the dead of night,
I almost did not see it:
a thin white cross
growing from the weeds
along the road.

It appeared to hold a
name, but weather and time
had veiled
any proof of label.

The cross stood timidly in silence
from the wet soil of the ditch.

It no doubt marked the very spot
where someone had perished
years ago.

After my headlights had passed,
the proof of the cross
ever existing hissed into the night’s
thick air.
It now lives on
just as its inspiration expired:
and fading
in the damp tangle of weeds
on the side of a desolate gravel road.


This has been “Alone and Fading” by Elias Red, Story Four in Series One of Sleepless

Elias Red is a construction worker from rural Iowa, who writes outstanding, emotionally evocative poetry. He has been published in Warbing Collective, Haiku Journal, Lyric Iowa, Three Lines Poetry and Subterranean Quarterly.*

*Bio by Editor Allison Fabian


“Jimmy” by Stefan Matusak

It was my freshmen year when we used to sneak off campus to smoke our dad’s cigarettes, we were the last the class before they allowed girls to go to St. Catherine’s so we didn’t have much to do beyond that. My friend Jim, though his mom called him Jimmy always had to borrow one from me because his dad died the last summer of a heart attack and his new step dad didn’t like cigarettes. “He once caught me with a matchbook in my pocket and beat me for a week because of it” he would tell as he’d strike up a match and attempt to light one of my dad’s Winston’s. Continue reading


“molten mud” by Kirk Griffith

in this night

you seem to me

to be modest as mud

malleable as molten glass

caked with rich earth

encased in barbed wire

holy offering of surrender

upon this field of primal battle

and as i follow you down

into the depth of your longing

you summit the swollen heights

of our shared pinnacle of pleasure

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“Animals” by Morgan Pile

Adam had procured from the crowded kitchen two Tervis Tumblers and a full bladder of wine––that is, box wine without the box. He held it up like an anesthesiologist preparing an IV. Jane held out the cups for him to administer the pour.

“Remind me again why we’re here,” she said.

“Really? You want to see him more than I do. You practically dragged me.”

Well. She wanted to see him. She couldn’t deny that she wanted to see him. She’d taken her father’s car from the garage without permission, then silenced her phone against his calls just to be there, infractions she’d committed knowing full well what they would cost in terms of basic freedom. She’d viewed the inevitable punishment as a necessary trade-off for her happiness. But the current scene was enough to erode her confidence in the exchange. Summer kids in freshly pressed khakis, sundresses and whale pants had taken over Lucas’s mother’s living room.  Lucas was nowhere to be found.

Adam cleared his throat at two Lacoste t-shirts edging into his space. It was a big season for Lacoste, you could already tell.

“I don’t like these kids,” he said.

“You don’t know them,” Jane said, though she secretly shared the sentiment.

“Oh, I know enough.  I know what they’ve done. They’re animals.”

It was already happening. The resentful edge Adam got each summer, which swelled and shrank with the population. All islanders had it to some degree. Jane had it. But Adam’s was deep in his bones, passed down from generations.

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