Issue No. 16, Spring 2016

In the Other Room
Len Kuntz

In the other room
something is burning.
In this one
moonlight falls like charcoal rain
through sheer drapes
that hike up their skirts
and dance under a vent
maybe mocking me
or not.

Our bed has never felt so vast,
so irrelevant and unused,
a raft adrift in some black ocean
where even the current has lost its will.

Soon you’ll be descaling yourself,
gargling in front of the bathroom mirror,
recounting kisses,
the different pressures of his touch,
his voice in your ear like a frustrated wasp.
At least that’s what I imagine.
Even a clever actress like you
turns see-through now and then.

When you slink under the covers
I’ll pretend to be asleep as I always do,
keeping my eyes shut
regurgitating the reasons for staying.
My mother always claimed I was weak.
You have no fight, she’d say.
Just like your father, she’d say.

In the other room
something is burning.
Listen with me.
Hear the wood crackle,
timbers spitting sparks,
flame tongues licking every appliance and wall,
everything sizzling with life
for the first time in years.


Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans. His story collection, The Dark Sunshine, debuted from Connotation Press in 2014, and his newest collection, I’m Not Supposed to be Here and Neither Are You, releases from Unknown Press in March of 2016. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com