by C.J. Miles



My wife has grown wings and, I don’t know, I can’t stop chewing on them. They taste like the butterscotches my grandmother used to keep in a bowl on the living room table in the house that was struck by lightning.


I hand out literary magazines on Halloween. My house is egged eight times. I consider breathing a success. I can do it through my mouth and nose but never at the same time.


My grandfather only left because there was nothing to go back to. Lightning makes fire and fire turns somethings into nothings. He was a something and then he was a nothing. Thinking of him feels like a magic trick I never asked to see.


Before I met my wife I used to sit in chairs. Once, I was sitting in a chair and they were making us listen to music. The music was soft and the chair was hard. The music was live, a guy strumming some chords on his guitar. He was from a church downtown and he had brought soup. I didn’t have any of the soup. I was too busy grinding my teeth into souvenirs no one would want.


Watching the house burn felt like what causes pain to linger. And the linger stayed and the linger grew and it was all of summer after a rain and then my grandfather was dead.


It feels so cold forever, like someone put a rocket launcher to the sun. I tell my wife, I hope we bought the right insurance for the afterlife. And: Your skin is my favorite remote control. I forget to tell her, I never go anywhere but I always feel like I’m living out of a suitcase.


I leave pieces of my heart across town. I leave a note next to each piece: Not all bottled water is created equally. And: Always look both ways before jumping off a bridge. Sometimes I leave a note next to the first note: If you find this note, bury it or throw it into space.


What the fire didn’t take of my grandfather we took and buried under a patch of grass. My grandmother bought a bench that was placed on another patch of grass, in front of the patch of grass my grandfather now lives beneath. My grandmother sits there all day, praying for her something to become a nothing.



C.J. Miles lives in Iowa with his wife. More of his work can be found on his website at Follow him on Twitter at @cjmilespoet.




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