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  • Laura Ohlmann


Artwork for "Spit" created by ZephyrZ
Artwork for "Spit" created by ZephyrZ

Hall light slits the table, your hands on the tabletop,

nails splitting at the tips, knot of hair missing

from the center of scalp where you picked it clean.

It's almost as if our father is in the room, shadows

enveloping your dining room set, our bodies in symmetry

stooping over it. He used to spit on me,

you tell me, and it's like we're kids again tattling, pressed

away from one another, the darkness overtaking

the splintering light in your green eyes. I can

imagine it now . . . his head in the doorway, pushing

you out sight. His hands were always on you back then.

Your body falling against the bathroom rack, in the kitchen,

where he squeezed a gallon of milk over your head, when

he would lead you into the back room and I'd only hear

the belt snap and delayed scream like

lightning only a millisecond away. You still

hold your arms to your chest like you're trying

to receive a hug that was never given.

You never wanted your face touched, that simple action,

like liquid on your skin. I wish

I could remember it or take the saliva from your eyes

and the tears from your cheeks, or the tongue

from his mouth. But all that's left is this, the growing

darkness in your home and two sisters connecting

memories like constellations in the night sky.


Laura Ohlmann is a MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Lindenwood Review, The Maine Review, GASHER, South Carolina Review, South Florida Poetry Journal and others. She's one of the Associate Editors of West Trade Review. She currently lives in Asheville, NC and enjoys traveling in her converted Honda Element and biking up mountains with her partner and dog.

ZephyrZ is a computer programmer from Kearns, Utah, and a self-taught artist who uses code and a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to create modern art. Since artificial intelligence is already used to generate faces, music, and even poetry, his artistic endeavors continuously explore how machine intuition and program splicing can not only emulate human-created art, but push the boundaries into something original, too. The end result is an ever-evolving process of creation and destruction. Each workpiece is unique, with its own story and personality. You can commission original pieces on his website:

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