This One Pigeon

Fiction, Lupercalia

The pigeon made mistakes.

—Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait


When I wasn’t working or fucking my boyfriend I was either standing in a queue or walking around the space between Reading Jail and Jackson’s Corner. I never reluctantly stood in a queue. The space between Reading Jail and Jackson’s corner has the mall with the cash point, the chocolate shop where my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend works, a pub that brews really good mead, and a church (Reading is too small for a Cathedral). Reading Jail has a very high wall. A friend of my boyfriend once said the space between Reading Jail and Jackson’s Corner was the best place to go if you felt like climbing the church tower with a sniper rifle and a sack lunch. I have a lot of days where I feel like that, especially when I’m not working, queueing, or fucking. There are a lot of pigeons in that space. A lot of those pigeons don’t have all their toes. I saw this one pigeon that had no feet at all but walked amazingly well on its little ankle bones. There are sharp metal spikes on the ledges of buildings. When a pigeon tries to land it loses its toes. But it’s not inhumane because when the pigeons try to land they can still fly away.

Photo source.

How to Build an Altar

Fiction, Lupercalia

To build an altar you need the familiar territory of a dry riverbed and the shadow of a nuclear power plant. You need the roar of a siren on the air, the highway in the distance, the skull of a kingfisher and the footprints of someone you don’t love anymore. You need a stone from a hand that killed in a war far from home, knucklebones that know the fractals of a willow branch and all the sounds of breaking. You need the smells of honeysuckle, salt, and gunpowder, a piece of iron if you’re superstitious. You need the oil slick iridescence of a cockroach wing and a lock of your mother’s hair. You need the cornerstone of a place that makes you feel safe, even if that place isn’t really a place but a scrap of paper or the empty air. You need a poem written by someone you haven’t met yet.

Eating a Strawberry


The strawberry is poison and it pops into your mouth as if by magic.

It is cold and sour. It pricks your tongue like a bee sting. You

chew as if a spider clawed its way across your jaw before stopping to

rest above your lower lip, you chew delicately.

Originally published in 50 to 1 (as Jessica Otto).

Photo source.

Romance: A Sci-Fi Short


We stepped outside the greenhouse and the lights went cold. He reached out; his palm froze against Saturn’s gelatinous ring and pulled away from his wrist like wet paper. I felt the romance leak out of our suicide as I saw the black hole. I punched him in the face.

Originally published in 50 to 1 (as Jessica Otto) 13Feb2010.

Apocalyptic Daydream

Fiction, Lupercalia

10:15 p.m. the sun never sets. Clear sky blazing like a promise. People who are used to this kind of thing have it easy. I’m not used to it at all and I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The sky, I mean. Of course, it’s a living, breathing metaphor for everything coming to an end. Or a false promise. All I know is the haunted clock tower I pass by every night on my way to work is beautiful too, even with the evaporating ghosts. Yes, I’m still walking to work even thought I don’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually go to work, I just want to get away from everyone. It’s nice, even with the smashing and the sunlight. I’m still breathing. The sun is still up there. It’s not going to go away.

Namaste Apocalypse

Fiction, NEWS


Jane loves yoga. She loves it so much she risks life and limb dodging ravenous zombies and expending valuable resources like food and energy just to get to her weekly class. It helps her cope with the daily grind of post-apocalyptic Rural America and help her through the grieving process at the recent loss of her mother. Jane loves yoga so much that when an unexpected zombie finally catches her off guard, it helps her cope with life as a cog in the legion of the undead. Follow along with Jane as she transitions from yoga loving human to yoga loving brain muncher!

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Primer for the Future King


Stolen fairy tale girls never get to take the easy way.

—SJ Tucker Girl Into Devil (I Belong to Me)

When you say princess you mean little girl lost in the darkness, rotting lace and wind whistling through bleach blonde bones. Only decay loves a dead girl walking. But when you see this princess tearing through the brambles like she’s on fire don’t even think about getting in her way. She’s got better things to do than talk to you, like reclaim her mother’s severed hands from the evil king next door. Or steal lightning from a storm to give to a witch who will make her the sword she needs to kill the other evil king next door. Or kill her father, who is the other, other evil king, for trying to marry her three hours after giving her mother to the flames because she looks just like her mother and, you know, bloodlines need preservation. If you see her meeting her sisters for a party (after a quick detour involving pomegranates and 6 months of winter) where they grind their 6-inch stilettos down to the floor and throw their hearts at whoever they want, you’d be stupid not to praise her beauty and bravery. She has already learned that princes don’t just pop up out of the woods promising kingdoms and kisses without getting a promise back and if you’re not selling what she wants be careful or you might find yourself in a world where you’re another evil king on her hit list and she’s gunning for her happily ever after.