Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty
Winter 2012
Issue Thirty,  Winter 2012

I might easily have fallen asleep while standing up—right breast flattened between a Plexiglas paddle and high-voltage electrode plate—before realizing, finally, I may have taken on too much.

The radiologist handled my breasts as gently as if they were loaves of artisanal bread that she was simply setting aside to rise. She stepped behind the partition separating her machine from mine, and for the few seconds it took for the dose of radiation to slip through me, I closed my eyes.

I opened them to see my machine blinking -46, inexplicably, in green LEDs. Applied against my current age, I calculated, would make me four. How long ago that seemed, how impossible to think back to a time when I did not possess breasts the size of baguettines, nor this impossibly full plate of responsibilities.

O, Lobster of arsenic and old lacy seaweed, striking the circus tent always makes us sad, even if the beautiful white stallions are all accounted for, even if they are only moving to another town (Wendy Taylor Carlisle). Some try to throw away one hundred things in one day and succeed (Jessy Randall), while I’m having the hardest time letting go of just one.

In the bathroom mirror, I blur. (Erin Miller). Paper, pen and hand. Food, love and hard-bound books (Lisa McCool-Grime) blurring into the zero-zero blizzard of all-abiding blindness (Anita Rankin) that can crush windpipes (Daniel M. Shapiro). Home is in the vocal chords—the sound. (Rachel Danielle Peterson).

Crack zap like that (Elizabeth Majerus), some shotgun shot above the field and away from every kind of symmetry (Anthony Opal). A rabbit the color of dust tosses itself away from the road’s white (Joshua Rice) egg farm behind a mustard field always in bloom (Julie Standig).

This journal has been my field always in bloom for over six years now. I am already experiencing withdrawal symptoms as I take my leave—pangs for the pleasures of its astonishing poets, tremendous editors, brilliant webmaster, and publisher Susan Yount’s divine company.

The white-coat calls me out of the waiting room filled with Upper East Side women’s magazines—Elle, Vogue, Bazaar—just as I’m thinking that I’d like to replace them all with Arsenic Lobsters. How much more nourishing to read its riveting off-key songs while waiting to hear those words we don’t dare contemplate: Your mammo looks fine, he says. But your breasts are dense. We’d like to do a sonogram.
White Wine and Tails by Will Bullas
White Wine and Tails by Will Bullas
About the Artist

Back to the waiting room. Breathe. Scan the magazine headlines: “25 Ways to Kiss a Naked Man (Every Single Inch of Him),” “Feel More Pleasure (16 Things that Give You an Instant Rush),” and “Are You Letting Your Dream Life Get Away?”

The sonographer speaks in an Eastern European accent that lilts like a lullaby. For this, I get to lie down, and she dims the overhead lights.

Lissa Kiernan
Poetry Editor, 2006-2012, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal
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