Issue 7: Rebecca Muntean

The Blobfish Is

A moue.

Each day he thwarts

Plod wet Tasmania

Defiance of a jelly corpse

yet lives.

For the Female Wolf Spider

Toeing the blade with a flocculent leg

Birthing the youthful sac

Five hundred fifteen lulus on her back

Within the silk, sipping the yolk from the egg

Undermining his life, for which he had begged

A zarf in the gut, his will but a taste

Serving a duty, then leaving as waste

Swallowed by mother — intentions carnally vague

Her shrine, a self reflection, soft yet pukka

An abode for the load, the dynasty's haven

Broken through the walls, twenty thousand knees emerge

Created in her image and perfectly pukka

Death not to a virgin, but a soldier, but a maiden

Left behind a legion, left behind to surge.

Nothing vexes me more —

My raincoat whispers

a swishing subtlety through

the crosswalk beneath

hurried rain on hurried

persons, and like the bus

itself, it hit me —

Nothing vexes me more

than the sounds of a school bus:

The high-pitched wail

released as it rocks

to a toxic stop,

spewing, lethal gas

from behind — giggling first

before a loud wheeze.

It takes me back to the sixth

grade (I was awkwardly

thin, legs like sprigs of rosemary,

wearing a hodgepodge of an outfit,

unkempt and boyish.

My mother had given up

on any chance of gaudy sequence

bows and pleated skirts

like those my sister loved.)

I would sit in emotional agony

with my spine pin-straight

against the faux leather seats,

holey — not in a sacred way —

but in the sense that a bus-riding

predecessor had harpooned its

dun skin with a pencil.

A penis drawn in permanent

marker plagued the seatback.

A sudden brake hurled

my forehead straight into it

and I was as embarrassed as if it

were the real organ squashed there.

Though years later, beyond

my days reliant on the crawling,

xanthous beast, I have grown

larger than my fears (getting

up in the middle of the night

to pee, ordering pizza over

the telephone, the quick

seethe of a tetanus shot),

the shrill then husky caw

of the beast still makes

the pit of my gut tumble

in clumsy, presaging recoils.

A jetting suction puckers

in my stomach — I know

that if I could peer into

myself at the exact moment

of hearing the bus’s scathing hiss

I would have braces, a bowl

cut, and tiny breasts, as well

as the nauseous feeling

of knowing I’m late, of knowing

I forgot something essential

on the kitchen island,

of knowing that this was life

as I knew it.

Rebecca Muntean was born in Youngstown, Ohio and studies professional and creative writing at Capital University. She is the editor-in-chief of the school literary magazine, The ReCap, a writing tutor, and also has taught poetry to a creative writing class at Capital. She is assistant to the editor of The Merton Annual.