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  Table of contents Issue Twenty THE PROCEDURE


We put the chip near his left thigh

first, in the middle of evening

shades were drawn, supper made.

There was an excuse to pretend

to make it all unreal, an exercise

being this forbidding wasn’t easy

for me, lackluster eyes, I asked Father

why he did this, he said for heaven’s sake

you’re not ready, not nearly.

I shut my pie hole and played

with the sticks in the lawn

overgrown and weed-infested

he stuck an Irish pipe in his mouth

finishing the lean incision, lips motionless

messy as it was, he spooled over stitching

he said anesthetic wasn’t needed

and told me pain was natural—

an endorphin the body uses

for corruptions similar to these.

Carnage was our next door neighbor

he went by the byline, Billy the Kid

I laughed at him sometimes

when he wore his shirt inside out

or had no pants on.

What Father called an eccentric.

What Mother wanted to fuck.

I found him in the tool shed just

looking at what was ‘hangin there.

He told me he’d never fired a gun

—but I didn’t believe him.

A tomato on a vine

always bleeds red when it

wants to be eaten.

He gave me that grin

of being seen.




Michael Tugendhat won the 2014 Dark Poetry Scholarship offered by the Horror Writers Association. His first poetry book THEY, was released in 2015 with James Ward Kirk. He has two more collections forthcoming from Eldritch Press for 2015 and beyond. Tugendhat has a MLitt in creative writing.

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