11.2 / FALL / WINTER 2016




When the gods review their video surveillance footage, she appears, round and hard like a butterscotch in her summer nightgown. She looks like trouble. Her cellophane wrapper catches the light and throws it all around. The gods can imagine how those amber wrinkles crackle as she runs down the minimart aisle.

She’s the kind of ghost who would taste so sweet. What god hasn’t tried to put her in his mouth and suck her down to the core? As she melts on the tongue, her edges erode into a jagged perimeter. She is sugar and hook. Even if he can resist biting, even if he can avoid all the trouble of hard candy stuck in the crevices of molars, she leaves his mouth aching. The tiny cuts from her crystalline form, the bacteria brewing in glucose residue. Syrupy blood, a cavern full. A mouthful of want. Tears at the back of the throat might feel like crying, but it’s just a mistake, something he’s swallowed, something glinting in the florescent hum.

The gods fast-forward through her haunting to get to the good part, where she stands in only her slippers, having torn off her packaging. Her still-firm breasts shake when she starts hurling Red Vines, toppling 3D Doritos displays, chucking half-racks of beer like a champion. Knocking down shelves and kicking over beef jerky towers, she is a destroyer in the corner store.

The gods watch this bit again and again. They love the way she shines, like some giant tongue has licked her all over. The gods imagine she is a golden puppy, and they are all her mama. She is a bad dog, bad dog. The gods shake her a little in her box. The gods all slap their newspapers against their enormous, immortal thighs. This is the way the gods laugh at human things.




Rachel Kessler is a Seattle-based writer, cartoonist, installation and video artist. Her books include Who Are We? (with 7-inch vinyl EP) and TYPO. Kessler is cofounder of poetry performance collaborations Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. Her work has appeared in The Stranger, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Poetry Northwest, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Frye Art Museum, The Open Daybook and public restrooms throughout Washington State. rachelkessler.org


11.2 / FALL / WINTER 2016