the unexpected


Kushal Poddar

Chickens and Kalashnikovs tumble

from the postern of a blind truck. 

It zigzags, fades into dust.

The old man picks up the birds.

The child expects the gun to be warm

and his chagrin will make you so.

Nowhere sprawls everywhere.

The hut hosts a business of flies.

The scraw nibbles at skin, feather

and the metal so dead, heavy and cold.

And this settles a new township.

Children sell cold. Old ones sell heat.

Sometimes the eyeless truck


returns sniffing for the things it lost,

but picks up no scent, or perhaps this,

a recurrent succubus, the child sees,

the old too, and the heat seeks equilibrium

we know. Fever flows. The chickens,

drained of blood, turns to be ice.

The calefaction of those guns, used 

when a sale goes wrong, marks 

the user’s skin with signs as old as lightning.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and father. He has authored seven volumes of poetry including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’ and ‘Eternity Restoration Project – Selected New Poems’.

the unexpected


Kushal Poddar

The fading begins,

and the tiny monkey

that hangs from the tree

in your forlorn rooftop scene

ghosts the twisted wind.

The strange light is actually

your eyes 

staring at all those strangers


Below a hallowed hollow grabs

every feet.

Beat it; fading begins.

Veil your heart; blood fades your flesh.

Bow you are

only a flow and nothing else.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and editor of ‘Words Surfacing’ magazine. He has also published ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse – A Prequel’.

the unexpected

Philosophy of The Blind

Kushal Poddar

The way someone blind 

wears his ignorance

and gallivants through a throng.

Tim holds his hope, says,

« It’s me. » over the phone

to the number his deceased

wife used until the May end.

May means many things.

May all calls are answered.

The blind reaches the crossroads.

Here sometimes sights return

although it costs the vision.

Kushal Poddar is a poet and father, and editor of the magazine ‘Words Surfacing’. He has authored seven volumes of poetry, and more of his work can be found here.

the unexpected

The Unexpectable

Carmine Denis

watchman watchman during dawn

what have you seen that’ll make us frown? 



my sister

rocks started floating 

and a stray star went dull

and the milk plate went sour 


watchman watchman during the day 

what have you heard that’ll make us stay?


streetcars dance in noon’s shadow

and said shadow rejoices

but make no mistake

grab its hand and get poisoned 


watchman watchman during the night

have you smelled the latest blight? 


I smelled it first, o my sister

its heart of white, its bones of rot

it ate us whole like grains of salt

o my sister

your shawl is loose on the great walls 

what did you taste 

when death went live 

watchman watchman dusk has risen on the horizon 

leave the tower and carve some rest 

out of the night that crawls quickly 

feel its hot rain on your fresh corpse. 

– Haven’t you heard?

O my sister, ‘twas me traitor

who let it enter. 

Carmine Denis écrit de la poésie en français, anglais, et franglais. Vous pouvez retrouver son travail sur son Patreon :

the unexpected

bring down barriers

Teri Anderson creates work that looks into the idea of craft in art, textiles, installation and sculpture to create a linear or surreal environment which the audience have to inhabit. The work links to their heritage and how textiles were key in their family history including sample machinists and pattern cutters. Building on this, Teri proposes an art practise which incorporates a craft-based technique into the art-based discipline of installation. You can find Teri on Instagram, Facebook, and delve into Teri’s work on Teri’s website.

the unexpected

The Ghost of Ivan Milat

Kris McGinnis

As warm acidic tears slowly bite my sunburnt cheeks, as his crooked grin leers from the shadowy driver’s seat, as the thud-thud-thud ruptures from the trunk, an epiphany strikes, jostling for position where fear resides.

Regret can only be nurtured into experience if you live long enough to caress it. 

Regret that campfire stories which scar the nation’s underbelly, of its vast emptiness, of disappearances, of monsters like Ivan Milat, were brushed off as tales of yesteryear on the sun-kissed beaches and bustling city streets of my Melbourne life.

Regret that teenage stubbornness masqueraded as adulthood, that assuming travel by foot and thumb to view the apocalyptic opal town of Coober Pedy and coppery sandstone terrain of Uluru would provide a more freeing experience, that sisterly scorn refused a brother’s companionship. 

Regret that when the rusted yellow station wagon slowed down, tired feet willingly accepted, that his eerie silence, broken only by a gruff demand for my name, was initially viewed as restful, that my weary mind was too slow to connect the glint of sharp metal, duct tape and body bag; that I can only save myself.

As I slowly grip the door handle to the thud-thud-thud of his trapped prey, he reaches into his pocket. In the glare of moonlight, I notice streaks of blood on his arm. Without pause, I thrust the door open and throw myself out . . .

My wife calls me introverted, says I need to open up more to enjoy the sociable aspects of life that raising children denied. I promise to try but I prefer solitude and the outback provides that.

There are abandoned opal mines around Coober Pedy which resonate with my inner prospector. It takes patience, but gemstones will come.

She said my car wasn’t suitable; I’ll get stranded. I somewhat agreed. The rear suspension’s loose and thuds like a headache, but I’m fond of the old yellow rust bucket. Loaded with supplies and mining equipment, I set off. 

It got dark just after Glendambo, that’s when the oil tank leaked. Patching it with duct tape, I cleaned my oil-slicked arms with tissues and continued on.

Not long after, I saw a girl walking down the highway. Dark, desolate; it’s not the safest place. With a promise to socialise more, I offered a ride. 

She was quiet, but starting conversations chokes me with dread, so the thud of the rear suspension filled the void. It felt awkward. She noticed my camping tarpaulin, shovel and mining pick. I considered explaining my hobby, but decided the youth of today wouldn’t be interested. 

Anxiously, I asked her name. ‘Heather’ she meekly responded. Tongue tied again, I smiled nervously and noticed she was crying. I reached to offer some tissues . . .

And that’s when she fucking launched herself out the car!

I searched but there was no sign of her. Driving off, a sense of fear overwhelmed.

You grow up hearing tales of phantom hitchhikers. Last time I’ll ever try to be sociable. 

Kris McGinnis is a Scottish writer of flash fiction who has been published in Clover & White and ‘Less Than 100 Words’ e-book anthology.

the unexpected

How to Read a Tree

Aditya Shankar

Birds are golfers of heaven. They swing their 

club-like wings and score their birdie and par 

in treetop nests. A tree is a vertical golf course,

says the snake that gobbles up the egg. And a 

grassland of highest branches— the Giraffe. 

Watch closely. You can spot the Garibaldi beard 

of their stooping caddies— the Bees. A human 

sighting of trees is the wrong side of an arena, 

the gloomy lower of a green turf. Their poets 

stare at the underside and pine about seasons,

foliage, solitude, and thorns. But a tree is the 

hardened cable of an elevator. In a netherworld 

of downswing, they maintain heavens of glee. 

Beneath ecstasies and pleasures, we operate 

among seasoned roots and neurons of pain. 

Aditya Shankar is a Best of the Net and Pushcart prize nominated Indian poet, flash fiction author and translator. Hailing from Bangalore, you can follow him on Twitter @suncave.

the unexpected

L’inattendu… An unexpected journée

Galaad Saussey–Even

La semaine dernière, mardi pour être précis, j’étais tranquillement, assis dans ma cuisine. Il était 7h50 lorsque mes lèvres touchèrent, pour la première fois de la journée, mon café bien chaud (m’étant réveillé à 7h40, il est simple de savoir cette heure avec autant de précision). Mais à ce moment précis, je fus encore loin de me douter de ce qu’il allait se passer, bien que ma nuit fût remplie de rêves tous plus farfelus les uns que les autres. Une fois mon petit-déjeuner avalé, et comme j’avais, devant moi, une journée bien remplie, je fis la vaisselle en un tour de main et partis en direction de ma chambre, afin d’y prendre mes affaires. Une fois ce choix cornélien fait (cravate rose saumon, chemise bleu pastel, pantalon beige, ceinture marron, chaussettes noires et sous-vêtement non troué), je pris la direction de la salle de bain. Seulement, en chemin, on sonna à ma porte, ce fut fort étonnant, car je n’attendais personne, et je ne vis pas laquelle de mes connaissances aurait pu venir sonner à une telle heure. Tandis que je m’approchai doucement de la porte, on sonna de nouveau mais, en regardant par le judas, je ne vis personne, pourtant la sonnerie ne cessait de retentir. Interloqué par ce mystère, j’ouvris la porte et, en sortant ma tête dans le couloir, je me rendis compte que c’était tout simplement la concierge qui sonnait chez le voisin. Cette frayeur matinale venait donc de la piètre isolation phonique de mon vieil immeuble et j’étais loin de me douter que je n’avais encore rien vu. Mais en attendant, pour me remettre de mes émotions, je décidai de m’accorder une petite sieste sous le soleil de mon velux.

Lorsque j’eus fini ma préparation dans la salle de bain, il était 8h25 et j’étais frais comme un gardon, même si j’avais été plus lent que d’habitude. Il fallait que je me dépêche, ou je n’allais jamais être à l’heure à la banque. Je pris mon habituelle veste moutarde pendue à côté de la porte, mon attaché-case posé à côté du vide-poche sur le meuble et sortis en ayant bien vérifié trois fois que j’avais mes clés avec moi. Une fois dans la rue, je marchai d’un pas vif, si vif que j’arrivai à la banque à 8h40, soit vingt minutes avant son ouverture, et que je dus donc patienter tranquillement sur le banc. Il était à peine 8h50 quand je vis arriver au bout de la rue Monsieur le Directeur, c’était le signe que je pouvais désormais attendre près de la porte. Il me salua, entra dans la banque et je franchis les portes à mon tour, à 9h. Immédiatement, j’allai vers Karine, la splendide réceptionniste qui me salua, comme à son habitude, avec un large sourire. Après lui avoir souhaité également la bonne journée, je pus enfin lui poser la question qui m’avait taraudé toute la nuit. Malheureusement pour moi, elle me répondit par la négative : ils n’avaient pas encore reçu mon chéquier et il allait me falloir revenir dans la semaine. C’est donc quelque peu dépité que je sortis de la banque pour rentrer à mon domicile, sans même passer par la boulangerie. 

Tout ce que je raconte ici peut passer pour folies, inepties ou banales disgressions, mais c’est pourtant essentiel, afin de véritablement percevoir le caractère exceptionnel et inattendu de ce qui va m’arriver à la moitié de la journée. Jugez vous-même :  

En arrivant chez moi à 9h20, la montée des escaliers m’avait tellement épuisé, qu’après avoir bu un verre d’eau en entier, je ne mis même pas cinq minutes à m’endormir dans mon fauteuil, devant la télé. Je dus être vraiment fatigué, car je ne me réveillai qu’à 11h29. J’étais tout engourdi, mais il allait falloir que je me fasse à manger. N’ayant pas d’idée, ni vraiment très faim, je décidai alors de me faire une omelette, comme celles dont ma maman avait le secret. Et c’est à ce moment que « ça » se produisit. En cassant mon premier œuf, je découvris que celui-ci avait deux jaunes…

… Je sais.

* * *

… ou l’attendu qui ne vient pas.

the unexpected

Reflective Roof

Mirrored roof with modern architecture in the background

Tucker Lieberman es el autor de Ten Past Noon: Focus and Fate at Forty, una reflexión sobre la literatura, la historia, género y raza. Su cuento de ficción está en STORGY. Su fotografía se ha estrenado en las portadas de Crack the Spine Ponder. Vive en Bogotá, Colombia. Twitter: @tuckerlieberman

Tucker Lieberman is the author of Ten Past Noon: Focus and Fate at Forty, a reflection on literature, history, gender, and race. His short fiction is in STORGY. His photography has appeared on the covers of Crack the Spine and Ponder. He lives in Bogotá, Colombia. Twitter: @tuckerlieberman