The Third Side

You are as effective as a chainsaw all visceral
death teeth no direction focus fault just
devouring everything in your line of site seeing only
fuel for your folly fire backlit bullshit you burn nothing
but my patience pack me in ice and call me coma
can you feel me I color my own shots coral like the snake
all subtlety is wasted in this war we wait
each other outwardly wondering just whose blood
is currently staining the floor.


A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is now available from Eldritch Press.  She has three more poetry collections forthcoming: A Few Bullets Short of Home from mgv2>publishing, Degeneration from Pink Girl Ink, and A Bizarre Burning of Bees from Transcendent Zero Press.  She is a Multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2200 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com



The Cannery

the heads line the wall of her basement
like pickles or tomatoes in clear glass jars
tiny strips of paper scotch-taped to the lids
first and last names covered in a thin sheen of
sticky dust, sometimes, she arranges the jars

alphabetically, sometimes by last name, sometimes
by first, a confusing mix of ancient and newer loves
young faces mixed with old. Sometimes
she lines the jars up by date, from the very first kiss
to the last bad blind grope in the back of a car

but that arrangement always makes her sad, reminds her
of how hard it is for an older woman
to find love.


Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Music Theory for Dummies (3rd edition), Piano All-in-One for Dummies, The Book Of, and Nordeast Minneapolis: A History. 



More bodies tumble down the stairs.
More corpses to tend to
like flowers in my cellar garden.
Fine stalks to wither.
Sealed pods to crack.
Petals to crumple up.
Colors to fade.
No fertilizer.
No sun and rain.
Just the way I like it.

I'm not expecting blooms.
As long as they stay buried,
I'm happy.
It's my job.
The pay's not much
But I get room and raw chicken legs.

I don't see anyone that's living
and that suits me well.
I know what I'm doing.
I know where I'm going.
No one ever need see me.
The dark makes that clear.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Big Muddy and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature. 



Zombie Prejudice Bundled to a Millstone


Wasn’t much on zombie flicks: sunken, dry
socket arrowheads, zombie dogs gnawing a
sister’s arm like barbecued leg quarters. Cheesy
Syfy storylines and B-rated actors. Clicked over for
overdone Seinfeld re-runs, an occasional news broadcast,
making viewers feel smart. Familiarity with thick insulation.

I wish I could bundle zombie prejudice to a millstone
and, like Sisyphus, push it up onto a tourist fishing boat
headed for the Gulf. I, sitting on the boat’s edge in a Yogi’s
pose, the stone crashes the surface, plummeting to an abyss.
A fizzling Alka-Seltzer.  Others doping only Dramamine,
studying the surface for Sea Bass and Blue Marlin.

Why does purging zombie prejudice from one’s soul just
fall short of a priest’s absolution? We don’t want to: It’s
ignoring the selfie when one’s face has gotten fatter with
a juicy yellowish fever blister in spite of Lysine pills and ice
packs. Too real. It’s like the cheesy apocalyptic survivors who
hole up in the abandoned farm house, hope personified. On
the surface of things, hope guarantees a reprieve from witnessing
rank corpses chawing on nose moles, a return to the familiar
before the world went to shit; each survivor had a script.

When brave, I imagine myself a survivor holed up in
that abandoned farmhouse. Going against the script,
conjuring up an escape, running to, not from shit. With
a Buck Knife and a gastroenterologist’s kit, I dissect a
zombie’s belly, feeling down for both intestines like raw
chicken on a steel table in a poultry factory. Only a
bowl of spaghetti brains at a Halloween party, thinking
as I plunge the Buck Knife through my jaundiced belly fat,
comparing guts. Suddenly, the guacamole-face zombie
comes up from behind, salivating over my neck. My cry
is a shriek of recognition before throwing the Buck Knife.


Kevin J. McDaniel lives in Pulaski, Virginia, with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and two mischievous Chocolate Labs. He teaches The Walking Dead: Zombie Narrative as Hope Panacea and Breaking Bad: Ethical Dilemmas and U.S. Male Insecurity at Radford University. In addition, some of his recent work is set to appear in The Sacred Cow and Lavender Wolves Literary Journal. 


Save Me

Your blue eyes continue to fade
   The virus rages inside,
Once a magnet of unmatched beauty—
   Untainted love— visions now far removed.
I stand before thee waiting,
   Hope fades away!
Would you dine upon me?
   Feast upon all that was!

Chambers sealed, chained, barred,
   My protection from what you have become
Plagued—no consumed- by this strange infliction
   Or government experiment
Now your forbidden cravings run deep,
   You desire not love,
But the divine grey I harbor,
   You salivate at the thought.

Sanguine tears fall from sunken black eyes
   Emotions swirl inside empty passions,
Forever was once near, no, real,
   And our bodies one,
Soul mates and lovers, two best friends
   Eternal hearts beating forevermore,
Why did you fall prey,
   And have god trap me in oblivion.

Outside screams, cries, on bloodstained streets,
    Minutes pass as the wretched close
My pulse quickens at the thought
   Save you, save me, no one’s safe;
Nightmares, replace memories of your depths,
   Heaven along your curves
Your luscious flesh tasted so sweet,
   Now illicit— left sated by sin.

Torn by desire, my life in ruin,
   For love still flows within my veins;
Help me, give me a sign! —be my savior
   Let me hold you again, alone!
Damn you Lord, how could you?
   Ravage someone so pure
Curse me with a path of loneliness
   And entomb her succulent womb in decay.

Darling, I want to set you free,
   To consummate our love, live
To spread disease
   And join the undead army,
The choruses of footsteps rise, sanctuary,
   No, stop!
Darling, our salvation rests in my shaking hands,
Am I man enough to follow through?

Mark A. Mihalko is originally from Masontown, PA and has lived in Uniontown, Pennsylvania since 2012. A 21-year Naval Veteran, Mark has been instructing avionics at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics since his retirement in December 2011. An experienced fiction and non-fiction writer, Mark has seen his works published in FATE Magazine, Mysteries Magazine, Haunted Times Magazine, as well the Ashen Eye, and Horrotica Magazine.





She doesn’t give you Herpes. Instead, she dons
a loosely-fitted spaghetti-strapped red dress,
and begins on your shin. She lowers
to cover the ankle, creeps onto the knee
and anchors herself. It is the only time
her weight is felt.

With increased momentum, she moves in
over the stomach, the chest, the back.
She bruises your neck. As you sleep,
she french kisses your open mouth.

When you wake up, you discover
she’s even found the insides
of your elbows. You do not fail to notice
she took some time on your hips.

The only way to free yourself
is to allow your emotions
to possess you.

But she doesn’t give you Herpes --
you give it to yourself.


Joshua Gray has published four books of poetry, the most recent is Steel Cut Oats (Red Dashboard Press, 2015). He lives in Berea, Kentucky.




their blood oozes
down sides of their mouth

and stinks like

fish festers in a sun bath
we had to cover our faces 
and eyes and any orifice

that'd  make us susceptible 
to such a tragic end
of consumption and cannibalism.

Everyone needs protection
is sentence of the day
because the end's anytime

with no run-ons or semi-colons

they desire the infection
they spread it around
through heart, lungs, brain

the complete package
of organ termination
just hearing them,
seeing their blood is daunting.


Ryan Lee is from Martinez, California, living in Missoula, Montana. He received a creative writing degree from the University of Montana. When Ryan is not writing poems he’s fly fishing or enjoying the Rocky Mountains. He has been published in Z-Composition's yearly print anthology, Strange FrenZies 2014, and Annapurna Magazine Spring 2015 issue.


A Bunny-man

By Gary McGrew



Beside an old tree,

subdued with dry rot -

Alice pondered on how

this disease the tree caught.


Although still alive,

it’d begun to decay.

Invaded by fungi,

its bark had turned grey.


Despite how it looked,

Alice knew without doubt -

that the path through the forest,

near it, would come out.


As a young child,

in the forest she’d play

and occasionally do so

past last light of day.


If not for this tree,

now covered in moss -

Alice, might still

wander ‘round very lost.


The path she had walked

just a few years ago,

was hidden ‘neath bracken.

(A hint not to go.)


“There must be a way

for me to get in!”

The edge of the forest

she searched once again.


Though seemingly stagnant,

the air made a sound.

Like something that’s falling,

about to hit ground.


The breaking of branches

caught the ears of the girl -

and her skirt lagged behind,

when around she then whirled.


There was no shadow cast -

so, it must have been noon,

when a man fell for Alice

in a bunny costume.


He stared from afar.

His hand gestured to follow.

He pushed the tree over.

Its insides were hollow.


Alice loved rabbits.

She fell for the bait -

but it wouldn’t take long

’til all bunnies she’d hate.


She followed him in.

It was damp. It was cold.

The tree was one hundred

and fifty years old.


When she emerged,

she fell towards the sky.

She watched as her home

became smaller in size.


Above her, the ground

was a bright shade of red -

and the bunny she followed,

fell too and was dead.


She was certain that his

would become her fate too,

but the dead Bunny-man

stood up, good as new.


He reached out to catch her.

She slipped through his hands.

Irrelevant now

were her day’s list of plans.


The force of her fall

killed the rabbit again.

From his costume, through zipper -

came organs within.


“I thank you kind sir,

for breaking my fall.

Please use your last breath

to explain why you called.”


His twitching told her

that he’d probably not talk.

So, backwards she slowly

began her long walk.


“If you can’t speak

at least point towards the way -

that will get me back home

before last light of day.”


The rabbit’s right ear

had pointed due west,

but Alice went east -

’til she stopped for a rest.


“I’m going to get home.

I just wish I knew when.”

She asked herself,

“Self, how long has it been?”


The sounds of the forest

all merged into one.

Her own voice answered back,

“You should never have come.”


In Seattle, Washington, Gary McGrew writes from within the walls of the haunted house he dwells, built in 1903. His horror-humor can be found not only in the books he writes, but also in the numerous short films he has created over the years.