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Editor's Note


SNR's Writers


The Octopus

Thaw a 3 pound octopus for a few hours in a couple of changes of cold water.  Cut off the skinny tips of the tentacles (It’s best to use a scissors.) and then cut the 8 tentacles from the head.  Discard the head.

Put the octopus in a large pot of boiling water, cover and simmer for at least an hour until it is tender.  Cut potatoes into half inch slices and cook with the octopus for another half an hour.

Drain.  Put the potatoes on plates and top them with the octopus.  Drizzle liberally with Spanish paprika, olive oil and sea salt.

Set the table, the one you inherited from your parents.  Gather a bouquet of peonies from her garden as the centerpiece.  Pour the wine.  Imagine the tentacles reaching out toward the four directions, the four winds.

The Nuptial Flight

            Ninety-nine percent of all the billions of ants in the world are female.  All the ants you see on the sidewalk or in your garden or in your kitchen are female.  You may never ever see a male ant in your entire life (unless you dig up an ant colony—which I have done, by the way.)  The female ants do all the work.  They collect the food, build the nest, defend the colony, tend to the larvae.  The sole task of the male ant is to inseminate the queen. When she arrives from her nuptial flight, the queen chooses a few of the six-legged bags of sperm.  After making their deposit, they die.  When winter comes, the remaining virgin boys are eaten by the ir industrious sisters.  These things happen because it is their nature.  

                                                On the steps of the courthouse, I
                                                congratulate my client on her divorce
                                               and refer to her by her new last name.

                                                While she asks me out for a celebratory
                                                drink, underfoot, the female ants scurry
                                                about the sidewalk, the indolent males
                                                await their queen in languid repose, and
                                                the queen begins her nuptial flight. 

To the East

To the East, there is a gray
house where men roam the halls
rubbing their hands and whispering
through the white noise.

Outside the windows, young lovers
walk the steps of the monuments,
pitching roses in the rain.

In the marbled halls, the men proclaim
in stentorian tones their accomplished
missions, the words folding
into the haze above the lights.

On the empty steps, the petals fade
to black and turn to ash.

Copyright 2009, Thomas J. Erickson. © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.

Thomas J. Erickson has had poems appear in numerous publications including The Los Angeles Review, Word Riot, Slant, Slipstream, Midwest Poetry Review, Poetry Depth Quarterly and Quiddity Literary Journal.  He has a B.A. in Beloit College and a law degree from Marquette University.  He is an attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is working on his second chapbook.