by C.S. Fuqua

A growth occludes his wife’s nostril,
and no one’s whispered the word
most on their minds.
Instead, he complains
about the cast on his foot,
how he snapped a bone two weeks back
when he stepped out the back door.
The rest of the conversation is
the same basic script of the last forty years—
meant to call, just forgot,
you should come see us—

until the end when the word
love debuts in the vocabulary,
dry and cold and empty.

C.S. Fuqua’s books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Volume I, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, Rise Up (short fiction collection), Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale, Trust Walk (short fiction collection), The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, and Notes to My Becca, among others. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Christian Science Monitor, Naval History, Main Street Rag, and Year’s Best Horror Stories. For more information, free offers, music, and more, please visit