Aphorism #2

For what it’s worth . . . – Beauty

is a muse with missing laughter.

At times, lightlessly,

appears her borrowed art:

beyond a fence,

there’s the reserve

without detail

from a covered porch.

Between the voids of morning dark,

remains an unsaying

I seek without

the echoed dripping

of old snow off eaves,

as if this winter residue

(that is unveiling

in the way

some silences

can be)

was remainder

to the mourning

after my mother

explained to me

her cancer had come back.

And her irreducible will

then, inverts now,

all the illusions

I live on,

the doomed things I don’t say,

the false immortalities—

and Death—which is a dawning,


darkness I’m trying

to manage

and push away,

for what it’s worth.

Aphorism #16

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”. –

While running

through the Sunday ghost

of a town

filled with semblances—

past the bar closed

after a kitchen fire,

then by the old

automotive parts store

turned tattoo parlor—

a phraseology of my phantoms

seems to express,

before I exorcise

the shadow of such

sunless thought,

its myth in Hemingway’s six word

short story, “For sale: baby shoes,

never worn.”

A couple emerges into the half-light—

out from the florist—with flowers.

When I reach another alley lined by backyards,

an inter-knotting of love and death

links back to images

of her first permanence,

which binds as lack

recognized in a prior refusal

from my symbolic,

to the idea of her loss,

uninscribed as a tattoo.

Those fictions return,

as if their nowhereness

were this real crushing under

a universal of gravity,

after I reach the quiet of a cul-de-sac,

where extremes collapse,

then, while walking up

the driveway toward home.

Alex Missall studied creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. His work has appeared in "Alexandria Quarterly," "Hole In The Head Review," and "Superpresent," as well as other publications. He resides in rural Ohio, where he enjoys the trails with his Husky, Betts.