you are in the diode archives v5n1




His morning routine: Lucky Charms and Dexedrine, a joint afterward if his fingers would let him. Could you call this happiness? he said to the mirror, straightening his eighty-dollar tie until it was crooked. He waited for the mirror to talk back. But the mirror kept laughing, trails of smoke stinging its eyes. The office was an hour away. In another town as equally depressed. But he wasn’t going there or anywhere really. Because the firm he worked for arranged liquidations. When business was good, business was bad. For everybody, including himself. Life is a short term gain, his father had told him, wheezing. Machines around him in perfect rhythm. Like an orchestra. The best of Brahms, his father added. Was there anything else to say? He examined cracks in the glass. He moved closer, breath on the mirror. The texture of tap water. Inside the cracks, another world he couldn’t inhabit. Life in miniature. The only way to take it since she left.


Manila Folders

Symbolism’s a bitch, his boss said, without irony. Tie on his neck as green as money. A portrait on the wall of Benjamin Franklin. They stared out the window of his office at a bird’s nest entombed in a spider web. Such intricate netting. On his desk: the details of three new clients in a stack of manila folders, which meant three more failed businesses in town. The confetti of pink slips. Grief’s ecosystem. New life nourished by the old like maggots in road kill. What’s the matter? his boss asked. Cat got your tongue? On the drive an hour later, a mutt lying in the center of the two-lane highway, half a mile from home. He stopped, waited, hovered like a turkey hawk. But the dog didn’t move for two minutes according to his BlackBerry. He tried to concentrate on its chest, but he couldn’t tell if it was breathing. No traffic in the rear view. Nothing coming from the other direction.  


Jay Robinson is a Visiting Professor of English at Ashland University. He has also taught creative writing at the University of Akron and is the co-editor-in-chief of Barn Owl Review. Poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Anti-, Center, The Laurel Review, and The North American Review, among others. Prose has appeared in Agni, Poetry, and Whiskey Island.