By Lily Hoang

Art by  Florencia Aristarain

The Leech – II
(from Abraham Smith)

He is a leech for beauty, halting at each petal to eat in its aroma. He walks away, and each flower is emptied of its smell.

Buyers’ Remorse
(from Feliz Molina)

The first scam they ever bought was their bodies—dysfunctional and bloated. And so they read books and newspapers, refused themselves any nourishment except information. Their hair exfoliated receipts of the things they never bought. Together, they starved.

Chicken Wire
(from Marie Myong-Ok Lee)

General infantry of tedium, the men iron and fold and scuff and shine. Their bodies are not yet taut: this is still the beginning: weeks of flattening and scaling; deep water and tear gas; ropes and chicken wire. Later, towards the end, washing GI socks one day and running towards the mortar’s whistle, being the hero.

(from Katie Jean Shinkle)

In tomorrow’s ebullience, a radioactive telephone line will split, take off, go far off. Under the sunshine, it will not be graceful. It will just dangle around, depressed. It’s easiest to bomb things on rumor.

The Missing Oven
(from Ken Sparling)

And Gretel’s like, “Where’s the oven?” and Hansel’s like, “There’s no oven here,” and Gretel’s like, “Of course there’s an oven! Haven’t you read the book?” and out of nowhere pops the Wicked Old Crone and she’s like, “Oooh la la, what have we here?” and Gretel’s like, “Bitch, where’s your oven?” and she’s like, “I traded it in for this here desk,” and Gretel’s like, “Wicked Old Crone, what can you do with a desk?” and the Wicked Old Crone is like, “Come here and I’ll show you.” Not seeing any danger in it, Gretel goes over to check out the wares. The Wicked Old Crone pulls out a drawer. She withdraws a postcard from the Grand Canyon. The Wicked Old Crone says, “I’m going on vacation.” She points to the postcard. “Here,” she says. And Hansel and Gretel start laughing. Gretel pulls out a match, strikes it against the desk, lights the thing on fire. “You should’ve kept the oven, you old crone!” And the Wicked Old Crone stands straight up and her black witch uniform falls like fingers, like ribbons. She opens her creaky old mouth and gobbles the stupid brats right on up.

The Argument
(from Li Po)

Your tiger sentences expand like poison lilies, like propaganda. I resist your competition: forgiveness.



Lily Hoang is the author of four books, including Changing, recipient of a PEN/Open Books Award. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson, she edited the anthology The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on the Avant-Garde and Accessibility. She teaches in the MFA program at New Mexico State University, where she is Associate Department Head. She edits at Puerto del Sol and Drunken Boat. (Updated April 2015)


Florencia Aristarain was born in Mendoza, Argentina on October 24th, 1984. She is finishing her studies at National University of Cuyo as a graphic designer. She has worked in various studies in the area of visual communication. She has had several exhibitions of photography and illustration. Florencia has participated in workshops in Chile with renowned international illustrators. She was recently selected through a contest, as the only Argentinian illustrator, to publish in the Venezuelan literary illustrated magazine Buriñón along with other 17 Latin American illustrators. She has been selected to be a part of the publication The Best Latin American Illustrations 2013. Her dream is to illustrate for the rest of her life, poetry and stories for both adults and especially for children. Check out her work at (Updated April 2015)


Author's Note:

These prose poems were generated from sentences or stanzas donated by the authores noted in the by-lines.