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Featured Work

Original, published work by Chris Basher (a.k.a. P. D. Kline) Selections for Summer 2024

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I caught its movement out of the corner

of my eye while overhauling an old poem

in the middle of the night. Its slow

and measured stride spoke of purpose

and determination. With mounting curiosity,

I watched it trek across the pages of my work

until it stopped, as though to make a mental note,

no more impressed with what was written

than with my presence in its life. From where

in the poem my critic crawled I could not tell,

which left no better option than to plug

my nose, clear the desk, and start again.

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The bully stomped in, loud-mouthed
and tossing cherry bombs at the sky,
their flash unmasking thunderheads,
their blasts landing in our room,
I guess to make us wince and fear
what else he’d do, grumbling the way
he did, spittle spraying from his angry
face, eyes flaring and searching
for someone else to scare.

Beneath the bed, my wimpy
sister hid, but not me. I stood at
the window watching the creep push
his way through trees and yards, spewing
brutish threats – and, just like that,
he left, kicking leaves about and spilling
our next-door neighbor’s garbage can.
Little ol’ me could’ve done all that,

so why the fuss? The thing is,
someone only had to hear about
the chance he’d come to close
the schools and hide inside.
(Schools closed – talk about
escaping looming danger!) In hasty
thankfulness, without thinking
through the things I’d rather do,
I ran outside to bag our neighbor’s trash.


Has yesterday gone, or is it dozing in an upstairs room,
or combing the basement to find its place among my things,
or sneaking through the kitchen spitting on the food I eat?
No doubt it wants my mobile phone and plans to work
my contact list to help make sure its footprint grows.
Don’t tell me that it took my car and rushed to all
my navigation destinations, or wormed its way through all
my clothes to cling to me no matter where I go. Last night
I hoped when sleep took hold, there’d be relief at last, but
there it was in every dream – its faces, lies, and silent screams.

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