What should have been but never was.jpg


Mitchell King

Magic For Beginners

an aubade

Morning and a thousand halos enter my body, last night we gathered fireflies

in our hands—the glow dimming and growing like a heartbeat or a pulse, which are really the same thing, darling, like gathering the embers to rekindle a fire

or a universe—nothing is impossible—so miracles are the stories we tell ourselves; the day in the woods and the pathway opening between the fireflies in that August field when I raised my hands and told the world

            I know how to be wonderful. Or last night, when I placed the cup on the darkening line of evening catching what was left of summer for us to drink and be warmed with on a cool morning like this

when we must leave each other

symbols of hope on our bodies: a scar and a full stomach—that we may heal and never go hungry again—parting ways as the golden sky grows beyond ourselves, grows beyond my bedroom and the power of these rituals

            that I have created from memory—these makeshift attempts at divinity—the night floating                 as a dream, the night washed away in the shower.



The Year I Ate The Moon

In our year without the moon no one went to bed on time,                                                                beach houses walked a mile in from shore lifting

 their decks and porches as skirts afraid

of wood-rot and salt and fish-stink


clinging to the lumber. In this year I learned to see in the dark,                                                pupils going slit and slant like a poem or, yes, a cat

roaming the alleys and making pacts with

night covered earth. In our year


without the moon every night was new-moon black— I stole                                                         everything: the hot water from your bath, the butter

 you left to be toast-soft by morning, I came

as a succubus and made your bed-pants


slurried with come here and kiss me, stud dreams. I was mysterious                                             without the moon reporting my movement to the stars, playing

telephone across the light years, Did you

 hear about our boy, Calliope? Get Andromeda


on the phone!  Without the moon I lived in anonymity. Without the moon                                        I ruled the hunger fueled night with claws and

sex apps selling men based on proximity. Without the

moon, I defaced all bathrooms with call me, stud


latrinalia—nothing tugging on my blood, bending the capillaries away from                                       my lips—in our moonless year, I went feral, frequently caught

red handed in the only light of morning, alarmed by my

 need to bite and scratch.


Boy Lazarus


How many times have I left

the red cave with the painted figures                                                                                                                                    of our fathers turning into red animals in a red light like a bright                                                          and smokeless fire, it was frightening, the weight of the air                                                                                                              like a fist on my lung—

I want you to believe that when I crawled from the grave                                                                                   I looked devastating: seven points of perfect light around my mouth,                         

my body, holy and light, full of miracles like nail polish neat between the lines of my flesh—nothing messy—white robed as a savior                                                             saying let my love heal your wounds    but

I was stained when I came back—

bending around you as a stray cat                                                                                                              to drink water.                                 When I turned into this animal I slept lightly                                                        jumping when you sat on the bed, squeezing under the couch                                                                  for hours to avoid you                                                like how I folded


my arms in the cave      tight around my chest      near my knees         there was a time                                  when I became hungry   and having nothing to eat

I chewed on the red animals our fathers had turned into                                                                                and when I became thirsty

I sucked life from their opened bladders—as silent as an instinct—drinking deeper                                                         than the darker shade of blue I would put on my own body with want—                                                         in the red cave was a way to die, a holding myself above a hole big enough

for everything, the bottom falling out of my stomach, the wait hoping to grow feathers             and the fast moments later when I flied.

Mitchell King is a runaway witch living in Kansas City. Evidence of his wicked doings can be found on Instagram (@star_fag) and in various—and colorful—bathroom graffiti around Kansas City. Someday he hopes to colonize the moon.

JD Thornton