Two Poems by Robert Vaughan

The Axis is Tilted

I pull into the parking lot. Notice the prostrate woman in the next parking space.

She’s crying, lumped over the wheel. I’m already late to my massage.

I’d thrown on my Maui shorts and a tie-die tank-top. I wonder, was she the appointment

before me?

I’d often come from massage overcome with a bang- past sadnesses, awe, or

unsuspecting doom that hits me as soon as I plant my seat in the car. I’m lumbering

halfway to the outside door, when the woman rolls her driver window down.

“He touched me,” she says.

I stop and slowly turn.

“He—what?”

“Sometimes the world spins faster than I do,” she says.

I nod. “Yeah, same here.”

I glance at the sky, and a huge salmon cloud appears as though someone had punched

a hole through the middle of it.


The Babies Behind Bars

We dissected our larva. Then we splayed the butterflies and moths against the buckboard. Do you remember how they smelled? Alcohol fumes soaked into my psyche. I went bowling, stealing the balls for an Euroasian event. Pleurisy was rampant, the suggestive way to use your own devices against the Mall of America is babies behind bars. Let them drink. Even earlier.


Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing. His flash, “Six Glimpses of the Uncouth” was chosen for Best Small Fictions 2019. His work has appeared in Hobart, Ghost Parachute, Big Other, Smokelong Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Editor-in-Chief at Bending Genres. Follow him on Twitter at @rgvaughan and on Instagram at @robertgvaughan.

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