"Fear in Four Dimensions," "Sketch of Garden City Beer Garden," and "December Morning"

Fear in Four Dimensions

condensed air 
moves slowly

  like thoughts 

from neuron

in synapses

we are always 
in between


like shadows

lying to us 
as they drift like paint



cars brake 
atop hot pavement


        swinging bodies  


like water

   I don’t want 
to die

I don’t want 
to die

          I don’t want 
               to die           

I don’t want 
to die



Sketch of Garden City Beer Garden

The night is defined as
men kiss passionately
sewage drains into noses
cologne simultaneously
the rats crawl beneath
dumpsters in the alley
my friend
irises float like the streetlights 
outlining other forms in the dark 
until metro smoke ventilation 
swallows them whole
into moonlight humidity
naked in the night;
we have a full pint 
with the dripping water 
atop the wooden picnic table
in the beer garden
with three-fourths of a smile.



December Morning

Rain as grey as your skin
defines the softer parts of hands
that scrape along brick buildings
like tearing paper.
The raincoats suction to bodies
hoods collect faces
hands are pocketed
as huddled tents greet you
from the mouth of the E Street tunnel
and introduce you to the gentle snowfall.
The benches forage for faces
waiting for the tossing of eyes
to break through the rain-snow
to consider resting
to rock backwards
into the groan of cracked wood-metal.
To feel a gripping hand
with soil-stained fingers
catch your falling body
upon splintered arms;
you take your own notes on time.



James Steck

James Steck lives in Washington, DC. He teaches high school English and coaches track and field in Fairfax, Virginia. He sketches frequently and enjoys sitting on fire escapes, and performing at open mics. His work is forthcoming with Better Than Starbucks and Wordpeace. His other work has appeared with Eunoia Review, Tiny Spoon Literary Magazine Issue 3, Goat's Milk Magazine Issue 4, The Odd Magazine, The Wild Word, With Painted Words, and others. You can find him on Instagram @jamodsteck or on Facebook as James David. James recommends Planned Parenthood.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 22:27