An Act of Preservation

Stephen M. Tomic
Oct 16, 2019 · 2 min read
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These days it’s hard to tell
What’s real or imagined.
The nightmares flicker like the light
Above the kitchen table.
One minute, I see a morning spread
Of toast and jam and my hunger
Rises like the sun. But then, shadows shift
And I see again the irremovable stains
Of bone and viscera, body after body
Gutted and bloody, the livers set aside,
The other organs stuffed into jars
For preservation. It’ll be a long winter,
Girls, mama used to say to me
And my sister. Best stock up
On all the essentials.

I put my hand inside
The cupboard and pull out
A glass. It’s never too early
For a Bloody Mary. It’s a recipe
Passed down through the generations,
One that never fails to reinvigorate me
After a long week full of stress and self-
Doubt. My sister prefers liver and onions
But I could never get over the smell.
Either way, once the drink is mixed,
I take out a toothpick and a jar
From the fridge, a little collection of
Pickled eyeballs. Blue, I find,
Has the best crunch. One thing I’ve learned,
Over the years, dear daughter, is that no matter what
You make, it’s important to
Always have fresh ingredients.


Inspired by Kathy Jacobs enticing Write or Die prompt, Death Dreams. This piece follows Meg’s piece, Safer Somehow.

Roy, Matt Querzoli, DiAmaya Dawn (pssst, come out and play), you have been entered to the Hell of the Dead by me. To escape to the Living Hall, you will have to recreate this piece in your own words or extend it as part of the Write or Die collaboration. Failure to comply will leave your name and soul in the Hell of the Dead.

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Stephen M. Tomic

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writer* fiction* editor* smtomic@gmail.com

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