Issue 06

Pepper’s Pride

Written by Linda WojtowickPhoto by David Karich

Because I want to smoke I go outside,

my back to the bricks. I feel best like this,

as everything to see is in front of my eyes.

This alley is dark and soft. Steam

makes spent waterghosts in the pipes.

Doll-sized oil ponds turn blue.

Matted cats hunker in spoiled cream.

Our dishwashers have stepped away too

and will quickly return from the nearby tunnel

with a temporary brightness, shiny like its pale tiles.

On the walk back to work they will say small

earnest prayers to their mothers, and look more joyful

to the days ahead.


I have collected troubling dreams these last weeks,

baby things hatching from eggs with hot teeth.

I wade through their stinging, cast off pith.

I think of my husband, his music students hungry for love.

Behind me, in the restaurant, we are serving blood-colored

pozole, blackened chilis and meat in white bunting husks.

At painted tables there are boats, bottles of heat.

The diners inspect these deep gels and place

drops of them on their fork tines and plates.

They flush and bring in new air across their tongues.

Tempers fly in private heads. Around us highways hiss,

ancient winds warning of cliffs. They bring

bones and nutrients, guns from little towns.

By clammy windows I crush my bright ash.

Rough curtains hiding wedding rings and sinks.


Please fill out the fields, below. Comments may be moderated. Required fields are marked *.

Valid Name Required
Valid Email Required
Comment Required