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Wendy Hess - Creature Island.png

Content Warning: death, violence, bones, mental illness

Melissa Nunez – Animated Contour

Everyone kills something

at least once in their life,

the words of my son one autumn afternoon.

Observation shared from his nine-years’ wisdom.

In truth, an offense committed much more often

than confessed. Whether plant, insect, small creature,

or bird. By accident or unaware—under foot or tire.

By instinct of pinching fingers and swatting hands.

Sometimes we slide into the situation slantwise

by introduction of something new to the environment.

A crystal-clear pane of glass. A territorial pet.

By purpose of poison laid to annihilate

the singular and many. Maybe mere happenstance of our


And maybe that is why on this same day,

his sister informs me of the shadows

now inhabiting our house. Dark forms

that crawl and creep, hop and leap, flit

and hover at the fringe of being seen,

then dash disappearance. Maybe the indwelling death

of things we cannot help but displace

to ensure our clean survival. Perhaps our privilege,

possession of power: near-alive knowledge, animated

contour of carcass and bone becoming home.

Melissa Nunez is a homeschooling mother of three from the Rio Grande Valley. Her essays and poetry have appeared in Sledgehammer Lit, Yellow Arrow Journal, Susurrus, and others. She is also a staff writer for Alebrijes Review. Her writing is inspired by observation of the natural world, the dynamics of relationships, and the question of belonging. You can follow her on Twitter @MelissaKNunez.

Artwork: Creature Island by Wendy Hess

Wendy Hess is from Berkeley, California. As an Artist, Photographer and Author, she enjoys the Gothic, Classic, Humorous, and Bizarre side of Life. Her work has been featured in Cauldron Anthology, Seaborne, Floresta, Acropolis Journal, and Lavender Bones Magazines.

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