Found on My Doorstep


A head sans neck
sans heart
sans possum
eyes little capers sunken
in    fur ruffed mis-
sing places
mouth agape
like hers when she
died like his when
he died like theirs
when they begged
for life to continue



A six-pack of kittens
with mother feral no
longer afraid of my
touch    asking or
telling me some
thing about­—

a father feral no longer
afraid of death
no longer—

the parents abandoning the
litter of pets who would
refuse to leave the home
once invited
would refuse to leave
the soul     refuse



Thanksgiving day
a dead tom purchased
in March from a farm
store     from a sales
boy who declared it would be
good eatin around
the holidays that it
would be a feast
my swearing it would
never be a feast
my lies my
failure my too tired
to bury
the body late
giving night
my waiting until
morning to find a trail
in the snow
cut as if by sled leading
to coyote den
tom the post-
Thanksgiving feast
for the same beasts that
ate the feral mother
and father   that ate the
goose whose tale I
cannot tell
whose tale you
cannot under-



A headless snake
striped like fresh high
way   neck rough
gnawed away from mind
away from—
no matter which reality
a mind chooses
it lingers long after the
heart refuses
to beat



A box of 30 Bibles
reminding me of
my sins of my lack of
proper religious education
of refinement of restraint
of body and mouth
of language to shame my
mother      of a preacher
casting out a grand
father who didn’t attend church
a man full of sin
a soul fleeing already
rotting flesh



A puddle of blood three
steps down    perfect
circle of deep  red
a rim congealing in the
morning sun  no
victim in sight   no
thing to claim the
spot   only DNA can
tell a story not wanting
to spill   but she told
you she was sick told
you she would die and
you didn’t think it was
possible    couldn’t imagine
a world without her
you didn’t believe in her



A line of glitter sna-
king down three steps
gold flashing
Morse code
dot dot dot dot
dot dash dot dot
dot dash dash dot
but you don’t speak
that language  it is
not the language of your
country    is not
your tongue
is not—

and you don’t bother
to listen to the tapping
of glitter against
concrete      it is too
small a sound in your
big world      you can
not be bothered
you cannot—



Jane L. Carman

Jane L. Carman is the founder of Lit Fest Press, Festival Writer, and the reading series Festival of Language and a reading eXperiment. She holds a PhD from Illinois State University where she is a former Codirector of the Publications Unit and a Sutherland Fellow. Her book, Tangled in Motion, was published by Journal of Experimental Fiction Books in 2015 and is in the second edition. Her critical and creative work can be found in Devil’s Lake, Santa Clara Review, American Book Review, elimae, Palooka, Dirty : Dirty (Jaded Ibis Productions), 580-SplitJAC, and many others. She is currently coauthoring a book a suicide stories with Amy L. Eggert.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 22:36