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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-four MAN IN A CHEAP BLACK SUIT


dust from miles journeyed
clung to the frayed edges
of his cheap black suit
as he strolled into town
with a breeze at his back
that carried the smell
of burnt pine
and something else
sweet and putrid

one hand held his Book
against his chest
while the other
held the sky
as he warned the townsfolk
of their wickedness
and sin

the people
seeking God’s good graces
elected their first sacrifice
and sent them to the gallows
their cheers smothering the sounds
of stretched hemp rope
and broken necks

a man in a cheap black suit
preached cleanliness
and order
with dirt under his fingernails
or blood

and another was sent to die

a man in a cheap black suit
preached mercy
with wrath in his voice
like broken glass
and ammonia

and another was sent to die

his congregation grew
and shrunk
until he alone stood
among his own kind
satisfied with the work he’d done
feeling quite at home
among the swaying shadows
of the dead




Safwan Ibrahim is Southern California based poet, with work published in print and online journals, and is a graduate in Comparative Literature from UCLA. His work explores concepts of time, trauma and perception, and the lasting impressions they have on memory.

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