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Deborah Staab

Consumption Stood

Consumption stood
yellow and strange between them.
When she coughed
her loved flinched,
beside himself with Fear.


Down the stairs from the matador
Some brassed-off bull is waiting
For his turn
Red capes and sequined shoes
Lead the way to rage
Because he moves at the last possible moment
If he's good.
Taurean chargers look for the swish
Of the cloak and channel the hope
Of goring the guy who wears it.

Ice Storm

So fucking cold in this town where the dogs run in packs to hide from sight.
Nowhere to go from down. There's been snow falling since last night.
Your fingers fisted bleed rivers down your sleeves because you left your gloves with me.
Is there time yet to leave? I'd give your gloves back if there was.
Born and died in 1975, my brother got out but I'm still alive.

I am sorry your fingers froze, purple and red like a bouquet of roses. One dozen, 2 short. Ten alive, 2 dead.
Did they fall off, or just quit on you. Did they do it sneaky or was it in plain view?
Fingers do things the brain doesn't know. They might leave gloves for you on the stove.
They put stones in my pockets when I go for a walk across the lake that froze just days before.
I think my fingers were purple when you pulled me up with those cold hands that wore only one glove.
The other hand was still cracked and coated with blood.


Debbie Staab works in medical publishing for a large university press. She lives in her native New York and is a fiction editor for 3AM Magazine.

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