by Alyson Miller
Issue 1: Grotesque
Tenderness by Vanesa Gingold
Parts of the bowel were found first, congealed in the blood-sticky path to the bedroom. It had been shredded with patient ferocity, the meaty tissue tinged with that curious red purple of erections, malar flush, and the dehydrated bodies of Echeveria recurvata. A cleaver hung snug in the headboard, as though caught midsentence, the words buried in the hard wood, splinter deep. The sheets bore terrible witness, the fabric gorged thick with escaped organs, shit stained yet taut across the mattress—ready for the penny bounce, hospital corners were origami crisp. He was inside me when he attacked, she said, so I went inside him, tugged it all out. She was found in the street, naked and blood drenched, his intestines around her shoulders like an adornment in a pagan ritual. I just hung on, she said, reached deep and pulled, like drawing up an anchor, hauling fish from the sea.
Alyson Miller is a lecturer in writing and literature at Deakin University, Australia. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in both national and international publications, alongside a collection of prose poetry, Dream Animals, and a critical monograph, Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts.