Eric Scott Sutherland 

silent siren


She holds her Mountain
Dew like a baby’s bottle.
Hot pink hair shouts
like a house fire in the night
against the cool blue of her satin 
Kentucky Wildcat jacket.
The scream of color does little 
to light up her aura, 
dim and gray as this building.






is always a dirty
paw away.

a hand not washed
in who knows how long.

a hand stained by soil
and cigarette resin, the filth
permanent under fingernails.

a hand sprouting long claws 
the color of skin, camouflaged,
each one, a hook, a tool to dig.

a hand counting out
eighty pennies for a soda.




Milkshake Ricky


loves oatmeal cookies
and peanut butter shakes,
dresses in cutoff sweats
over full length 
sweats, looks like he flew
out of the cuckoo’s nest,
lost four pair of glasses
and two umbrellas
last week.

Milkshake Ricky is losing
more than his mind. The way 
he fumbles through 
layers of worn cotton
searching for his billfold
he may have also 
lost what little 
money there is left
from his monthly check.

                                         “Milkshake Ricky” originally appeared in North of Center and is reprinted here with permission of the author.




alarm clock


He used to rest
comfortably until seven eleven, 
the time his alarm clock
starts shouting the get up song.
But since she left
and has gone on, her ghost
wakes him every morning.
Three hours before sunrise
and he can’t turn it off.

Eric Scott Sutherland is the author of incommunicado (2007) and the forthcoming pendulum (2013). He is the creator and host of the Holler Poets Series, a monthly celebration of literature and music since 2008. Eric makes his home in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. (Read Eric's "becoming a man" in the Lessons poetry section of this issue.)


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