The day we  moved into our  little quad on  the bottom  floor of an art deco building, the
first thing we unpacked was the turntable and speakers, the three-foot tall suckers you’d
inherited  from  your parents, which doubled  as end  tables for the  two years  we spent
there.  I  draped  them  in white  lace,  topped  each  with  a  red  glitter  candelabra, and
vintage ashtrays. We  unrolled a kilim rug to sleep on. We ate tofu in black pepper  sauce
on the floor and talked about  what to do  with the screened in  porch. Everyone else had
string lights,  but we could  tell by the shade of  their  twinkle and size  of their bulbs, we
were  different. These  people  had  charcoal grills and  kid toys  and  colorful  hammocks.
These  people voted for W. You could tell by  the pinwheels and  sports flags  and waxed
cars with Don’t Tread on Me stickers.  Let’s  hang  red lights.  Let’s hang  no lights.  Let’s
put a  mattress on  the  concrete and  line  it with saint  candles and  suspend a  hundred
marionettes  from the ceiling.  While  I scooped the  last bit of  mushroom and rice  from
the bottom of the carton, you swapped  the record. As you  returned to me on  the  floor,
you tapped my  head, saying you’re it.  I screamed  the first verse and you joined  me for
the  rest of  the album, jumping and  flailing our arms  like fools  until our bodies  tingled
and the republicans upstairs blasted that song from Titanic in protest.

lexicon devil
throats reduced
to cinders

Beth Gilstrap & Jim Warner

Beth Gilstrap & Jim Warner

Beth Gilstrap is the author of I Am Barbarella: Stories(2015) from Twelve Winters Press and No Man’s Wild Laura (2016) from Hyacinth Girl Press. She thinks she’s crazy lucky to work as Fiction Editor over at Little Fiction | Big Truths. Her work has been selected as’s Fiction Pick of the Week, nominated for storySouth’s Million Writers Award, Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Bull, WhiskeyPaper, The Minnesota Review, Literary Orphans, and Little Patuxent Review, among others. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and enough rescue pets to make life weird.

Jim Warner's poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, New South, and is the author of two collections (PaperKite Press). His latest book, actual miles, will be released in 2017 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University's MFA program.
Beth Gilstrap & Jim Warner

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