3 POEMS meeah williams

Better Than Me 

Everything is better than me.

Every thing.

A fingernail is better than me.
A cat sleeping on a rug.
A crumb from a crumb cake.

A bloody nose with no tissues at hand is better than me.

Every single letter in the alphabet.
A cancelled stamp.
A mispronounced word.
Better than me.

A booger—yes a booger—is better than me.

Some guy in a wife-beater t-shirt beating his wife in the kitchen downstairs is 
better than me.

A broken roof shingle lying in the street.
A flat tire.
A sore toe.
A bounced check.
All of them, every single one of them:
Better than me.

Something a truck driver digs out of his ear and sniffs while waiting for a light 
to change. 
A crushed can.
A stitch in your side.

Whatever’s reflected in any mirror.
Moths in the flour.
Stick a hose in it.
Let the air out.
You guessed it.

Rubber puddle.

Better than me.

Accepting Myself As I’m Not

Thinking you're too old
for this shit & what you mean
is waking up in the morning
& greeting the golden opportunity
of a new day.

Vowing never to speak again
then not five minutes later
hearing yourself blathering on
like some tool at the U.N.
lying in 11 languages at once.

Fearing that one day
you'll look in the mirror
& see a pile of gray laundry
that someone left behind
at the laundromat.

Fearing that day has already arrived.

Forgiving your cat in advance
for eating off half your face
before your corpse is finally discovered
when the neighbors complain of the stench.

Step 10

Thinking that if people
only got to know you better
they'd like you
but if they really knew you
they'd hate you all over again.

And if they knew you
as well as you know yourself
they'd drive you out of town
at the end of pointed sticks
for the sick monster
you really are.

Apologizing when people
step on your toes.

Apologizing when the plumber
can't fix your pipes.

Apologizing to your executioner.

The intense shame you feel
at the fantasies that trigger
your orgasm
& thinking how you can never
tell anyone for fear
of the implications
they might draw
which are totally unfounded
but how can you ever convince them
of that when it shocks & sickens
& scares even you a little?

Apologizing for the heat death of the sun.
Apologizing for cancer.
Apologizing for the extinction
of the stegosaurus.

Apologizing to Jesus
for everything
on behalf of all of us.

Making a list of everyone
you'd like to apologize to
& realizing you've already apologized
to all of them
& they still haven't forgiven you.

Meeah Williams
is a writer & graphic artist whose work has appeared widely in print and online, most recently in Otoliths, Uut, Burning House, Rhythm and Bones, Unbroken Journal, Ex/Pat, Philosophical Idiot, Hypoactive House, Soft Cartel and X-R-A-Y Lit. She lives in Seattle.

OBLIGATIONS cavin gonzalez

If there’s anything worth being grateful for it’s the wrinkles of a person you’re not obligated to love. 

I would like to set up shop in your wrinkles. A burger shop, to be exact. This may irritate your pores but I think that’s only fair enough because your pores will irritate me even though I love you. 

Nobody will come for a burger because my burgers will taste like shit. But the beer will be good, I’ll dose it with your sweat. All of my customers will grow to love you too and we’ll have Karaoke Fridays. The waiters won’t make much but they’ll be happy.

I won’t be able to pay the loan back that I took out to open the burger spot in your wrinkles. I’ll get lots of mail about it. Red letters. They’ll take my shop from me. They’ll take you from me too. It will be worth it, though, and I will be grateful for the time spent.

Cavin Gonzalez is a twenty-two year old graduate from the University of Central Florida. He is the prose editor for SOFT CARTEL, book reviewer for Pidgeon Holes, and was selected for inclusion in "The Best Micro Fiction of 2018" anthology.