She was a professional—
professional hitwoman, that is.
Her targets never saw it coming,
at least they died happy.

Everything was business as usual,
until she met Mr. Right,
and the pulsating warmth of firm skin
trumped the coldness of metal.

But The Boss wasn’t pleased,
so he hired someone else to do the job.
She found her Mr. Right in her bed,
head cocked and ball gagged.

Big mistake. She went underground
and fell back in love with the coldness of metal.
A women scorned ain’t got nothing
on a vagina with a gun.

She took them out one by one,
one shot to the groin, one shot to the heart,
until she reached the top of the heap,
The Boss in his penthouse apartment.

“I knew you’d come,” he said with a smirk.
“You trained me well, Daddy,” she replied.
He reached for his gun but she put a hole in his head
before he could get it up.

Now she’s living the lonely life,
she owns a package store on the outskirts of town.
There’s an emptiness where her gun used to be,
an emptiness she drowns every night.


Randy and his partner Travis
were good ol’ boys from the traveling rodeo.
But when times got tough and the chips were down,
they took a job with the border patrol.

Randy and Travis could plunk tin cans off a fence post
from fifty paces with a six-gun draw—pow! pow! pow!
Not to mention trick horse ride while shooting a cigar
out of a volunteer’s mouth.

So when an illegal made a run for the border,
it was like the rodeo all over again.
Randy would saddle up, rifle at his side,
while Travis spit tobacco and twirled his six shooters.

Sometimes a runner would get as far as the scrub line
before Randy would take them down.
Travis would then finish them off with a tight grouping to the head.
Showmanship was always the name of the game.


Our realtor—she’s the best.
She takes us into neighborhoods other realtors are too afraid to enter.
Why just the other day she showed us a 4000-square-foot Colonial that was to die for.
My husband, Jim, loved the built-in generator and the stockade fencing.
I simply adored the chef’s kitchen and the cedar sauna.
Ultimately, however, the place was just too big.
I couldn’t imagine all that house cleaning.

Ever since the outbreak, Jim and I have had to move nine times!
Lucky for us there are lots of homes available.
Kimberly—that’s our realtor—she just keeps plugging away.
She’s such a hard worker.
I don’t know how she does it!
Jim says I’m difficult to please, but why settle for second best?
All I want is something with a view.
Preferably downwind.

Wait—is that a knock at the door?
It must be Jim back from one of his supply runs.
He’s been gone an awful long time.
We’ve got a six o’clock with Kimberly on the other side of town.
I hate to be late.
There’s that knock again.
Why doesn’t he just come in?
Was that glass breaking?
I hear groaning.
Jim, is that you?
I knew we should have taken that Colonial.


The table was lit with back fat candles, and draped with red
ribbony bows. The families sat arranged by weight (or lack
thereof), by the ghostliness of their pallor, by the thickness
of their coughs. Names scribbled in charcoal on strips of
birch bark were stuffed into a hat and drawn one by one.
The Reeds drew first. “Eliza Donner.” The name hung in
the air like a cold breath. A sigh from Mrs. Donner, but her
eyes never strayed from the hat, and her tongue never
hesitated as it danced across her lips. The Donners drew
next. “Thomas Reed.” A nod from the elder Reed to the
elder Donner. Turnabout is fair play. The Murphys drew,
followed by the Breens, and so on until the last strip of
birch bark was taken and the last name spoken. If family
chose family the name was returned to the hat. The gifts
were then handed out, and dinner commenced. Afterward,
the men stepped out for a smoke, while the women washed
the dishes. It was decided that come Easter, if the snow
hadn’t abated, they would draw again. By then, there would
likely be enough to fill each and every basket.

Kurt Newton has been writing poetry since the 5th grade when he passed around his first poem titled “Koala Bear Underwear” to unsuspecting classmates. Their laughter was all the positive reinforcement Kurt needed to continue down the road to poetic poverty. Kurt’s writings can be found in recent issues of Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, Grasslimb Journal, Vine Leaves, and in Issues 2 & 3 of Empty Sink Publishing.