'It wasn't love that kept us warm' and 'I'm not bathing in blood'

It wasn’t love that kept us warm, exactly, but it wasn’t anything carnal or cerebral, either. We spent most of those days on the ceiling, which was odd, because the gravity was particularly heavy and the floor would pull so strongly. Perhaps we got the ceiling and the floor confused. Perhaps it was the ketamine. No, there was no ketamine. It was hunger. It was hunger and hunger’s hangovers, there in the small silent room in the belly of the land that forgot it was a lake.

Echoes of drowning
Cold sheets with pink skeletons
Runny nosecicles



I’m not bathing in blood, but it’s certainly not water, either, that covers my eyes and flirts with the edges of my nostrils. The texture is soothing enough, but concerns nag me; I don’t recall how or why I got here, let alone whether I was headed toward cleanliness or filth. I reach for the edge of the spacious tub and find a full pint of amber; I look around for my traditional bathtime book but find nothing. I do not feel lost, but I clearly am.

Liquids feel like gas
Sudfilm clings to my cracked skin
Bubbles take me down



Jonathan Penton

Jonathan Penton founded UnlikelyStories.org in 1998. His own poetry books are Last Chap (Vergin' Press, 2004), Blood and Salsa and Painting Rust (Unlikely Books, 2006), Prosthetic Gods (New Sins Press, 2008), Standards of Sadiddy (Lit Fest Press, 2016), and the electronic chapbook Backstories (Argotist E-books, 2017). He lives in New Orleans, where he is working on a book of ekphrasis and a book of haibun with Cassandra Atherton. Jonathan recommends Keshet.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, July 5, 2023 - 20:08