"M. Dusa" and "When in Rome"

M. Dusa

Mother stands frozen in my bedroom doorway… a block of stone: arms splayed, legs spread, a barrier to my exit. I cannot move her, never could; she’s as heavy as her gaze when she first looked in on me. So, I am left to chip away at her, like I did before she was transformed, but literally now. I yell, “Stop imprisoning me!” She doesn’t answer; she has been silenced. Her face looks shocked, accusatory, wide-eyed. My tresses flare in a fighting response—as though slithering about my head. Then, for the first time, I hear the sound of hisses.



When in Rome

We are sitting in a restaurant in Rome, being fed a ruse of a tale—that it is here, in this low, cavernous space, Caesar Augustus was killed: stabbed in the back by his closest of comrades—Marcus Brutus. Regardless of this veiled sham of a story, I feel a pinch between my shoulder blades, a sense of loss as I think of losing my dearest ally. A Midwesterner from the US, I instinctually order meat and potatoes. The waiter rolls his eyes. And I watch him, closely, as I unwittingly begin to roll my steak knife in my hand.



Keith Hoerner

Keith Hoerner lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. He recommends Prevent Child Abuse America.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, March 14, 2022 - 06:31