by Robert Vaughan



Some people sleep on trains. I can’t because I’m waiting for them to fall asleep so I can do my business. Furrow the back forty, my Daddy used to call it. A stand of pines can make you blunder. Or a rusted out lawnmower overturned on its side in the weeds.



Surtevant stop- it’s the only thing that can never do me no harm. Jump off the train, silent, undercover, slip into the marsh. Be careful of cat-tails, they can cause severe damage. Eternal miasma. Find a place that will saddle you with fortune, helps to be armed in the dark, or loaded, or locked up like my Mommy still is.



She isn’t my real Mom. No. My real Mom is Hiawatha. That’s what my Daddy calls her. Says you got her hair kid. Better off bald. You have to sleep above the ground. Snakes in the grasses. Find platforms or just sleep standing up like a horse. That way, when they come for you, run like the wind.



Every restless night when I make a bed from cornstalks and sometimes sand or silt from the local grotto, I know I will rise. You could have left a light on. It’s just a power plant. Makes no difference what you say now. Here’s what the moons shows me: you’re still a liar.



Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing, poetry, fiction, and hike/ write. He has facilitated these at locations like Alverno College, UWM, Fox Valley Technical School, JMWW (online), Red Oak Writing, The Clearing and Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos. He leads writing roundtables in Milwaukee, WI. He was a finalist twice for the Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction (2013, 2014). His short fiction, ‘A Box’ was selected for Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press). Vaughan is the author of four books: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press, 2012); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps, 2013); Addicts & Basements (CCM, 2014). His newest, RIFT, is a flash fiction collection co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press, 2015). He blogs at