Water bong, they called it.
Under my breath, I practiced
saying bong bong bong
until it sounded natural.
Mike was too busy getting high
to notice that Frankenstein
would have felt more at home
in Jackie’s basement. Her Mom
worked nights. No one would hear us.
No matter. I was fitting in.
So what if I didn’t know
what was in there. Jackie laughed.
Not easy when you’re holding
your breath. She handed me the slender
gurgling goose and I clutched its throat,
inhaling the chimney stink, remembering
to close my eyes just like she did,
sucked yellow air and felt myself
slipping under a tidal wave.
Buckled by the undertow,
seaweed tangling my hair, I made
a wish. I wanted to lift my head
and find myself in another
rumpus room complete with cake,
a song and candles.
Instead, I held my breath harder,
sure this meant lung cancer later
if I lived through this night. When my
bronchial tubes started crackling,
I blew out a smoke signal, opened
my eyes. And there was Mike,
a volunteer fireman, his mouth
covering mine, fingers bugling my back,
Jimmy whooping, Jackie eyes wide.
I don’t think they knew I could be like that.
by Helen Cho
Helen Cho's poems have been published in Field, Spoon River, Indiana Review, River Styx, ACM, and Southeast Review among others. This poem was originally published in Crab Orchard Review. Helen is a full-time Mom of twin girls, serves on the board of the Feminist Majority and the Advisory Board of Ms. Magazine and occasionally writes tv commercials for progressive nonprofit orgs.
Poetry (any form or style) and Micro or Flash Fictions wanted for an anthology on SMOKE. Not just the black clouds rising from the five-alarm fire next door, or the billowing plumes of smoke warning us of a forest fire, or the emissions from factory smoke stacks, apartment house incinerators, and crematoriums, smoke rings rise from cigarettes, smoke pours out of headshops, pipe shops & cigar stores--see that purple haze rising over the fields of poppies and marijuana we just planted--we've used it to communicate via smoke signals and skywriting, to cover our tracks and disappear with and without mirrors, combat the enemy on and off the battlefield, kill bugs, flavor food, cure illness, declare peace treaties, and fragrance our homes. Got the idea? Release it onto the page.
Guidelines: Submit up to three poems/micro fictions or two flash fictions at a time with a fascinating bio of 35 words or less, not just limited to publication credits, copy/pasted in the body of an e-mail (no attachments, please) to roxy533 at yahoo dot com & violetwrites at nyc dot rr dot com. We will also entertain up to six one-liners or 2 short stand up routines at time. Previously published work is OK as long as authors have retained the copyright, which will be returned to them after publication. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your work is accepted elsewhere, and you still have obtained rights to republish, just let us know where and we'll be happy to acknowledge the other publication.
If you do not receive a response from us within a month of your submission considered it rejected and feel free to submit again. Due to the volume of submissions we cannot respond to each and every individual submission. Selection for the on-line edition are made on a ongoing basis as we receive your submissions. However, final selections for the print edition will made after the October 31st deadline. (In otherwords not everything that made the cut for the online edition will appear in print.) Please do not query. When in doubt, send the submission to roxy533 at yahoo dot com & violetwrites at nyc dot rr dot com.