Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Rob Sturma: Three Poems


He didn’t want to be made of razors.

He hadn’t been touched in years.

Every so often, some girl would look at him longingly, lick her lips, but it wasn’t because she loved him. It was because she hated herself.

His house was littered with shredded love letters and scratched-up beer bottles.

He watched Edward Scissorhands on loop, knocked whiskey down his silver gullet, and tried to dull.

Then he met the girl who could heal herself instantly.

She looked at him differently.
Asked him to sing to her.
Said his voice was a baritone miracle.

He couldn’t be more wary.

She broke him down like rust.
Trusted him like no one had before. He loved shaving her legs.

One night, he was wrapped around her, watching her cuts close up as quickly as they opened. He asked, “Why me? I hurt you every day.”

She smiled and said,

“Who doesn’t?”

Made some joke about how sharp he was. He carved makeshift hearts into her thighs, over and over.


Stop Me if You’ve Heard This

A werewolf, a woodcutter, and an encyclopedia salesman walk into a bar. It’s a great set-up for a joke I have no punchline to. I like to riff, to start stories that have no end, hoping I’ll conjure something magical. I talk a better game than I play. That doesn’t mean that I won’t give the game a go. I’ll try over and over until I get it right. I am the close in horseshoes and hand grenades. I am the reason tutorials were invented. I don’t remember recipes. It’s always a splash of this, a dollop of that. I’d rather write it out in Sharpie than find a font. At least I know the reliability of my own handwriting. It’s the same reason I would always start drawing comic books and never finish them. I can’t create stories because I don’t want my characters to fight. I am no good at conflict but it always seems to find me. Tension knocks on my door with pamphlets asking for a moment of my time. I look for release at the bottom of a shot glass. I try to sell them on my words. I try to bury the hatchet. I warn them of the monster inside. I am a werewolf. A woodcutter. An encyclopedia salesman. The punchline is me.


Color the Night Sky

Remember the night, when you, drunk on astronomy, showed me that the stars were multicolored in the night sky; not just a bland, monochromatic white? The night where I was like,
well, I was already into the stars and their shiny bravado but now I’m all the way shook?

It’s like you opened up the whole pack of Magic Markers, showed them to this wide-eyed tourist,
and shifted his world like he was Judy Garland walking into Technicolor for the first time.
Like it was 1954 and you turned on an RCA television to the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Everyone in the room had to take a minute to catch their breath.


front cover of Head v Heart by Rob Sturma
HEAD V HEART by Rob Sturma

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