Back to Issue Thirty-Five

Occam’s Razor


My friend and I are trauma bonded.
When our abuser’s wife lies, our Pegasus brains

blink on in the night, beaconing the imaginary.
If you hear hooves, remember: there are no unicorns,

only the meat-packing plant. The train you hear
is no tornado. Not Northern Lights,

but the sky’s explainable chemistry.
Wittgenstein says, “If a sign is not necessary then it is meaningless.”

The abominable snowman shoves one giant fur toe
beyond the tree line, testing our boundaries.

Swinburne says, “Either science is irrational or the principle
of simplicity is a fundamental synthetic a priori truth.”

A woman’s cop husband shot her twice in the head,
placed his service gun beneath her pajamaed chest.

Her fuzzy pink slippers peeked from the closet.
The dog’s leash a golden lasso on the floor.

A plurality can’t be posited without meaning.
The cop husband invented his wife’s suicide note,

thinking her dead. If you can sail around the world
then it is not flat. Our abuser’s wife feeds the cat,

makes some calls, bandages her hand.
He says to her: don’t push it.

We know why she lies. We lied for him too.



Baton Rouge, Harvest Moon


Puts me in mind of C.
Whiskey on the pickup bed, 5am, sky an oil spill.
After the storm we never went to bed.
Our street: blown-out billboards, emergency highway.
I went to meet the truck of animals, to try to help
in some way, but when the truck arrived
all the animals were dead.
Pulled from the mud for nothing.
I have never talked about the stain on the street
I drove past every day, where a car hit my friend.
Two green mallards fanned their wings
across C.’s back, one for each of his brothers.
The first was an accident. The second, grief.
I loved him in my dumb way.
When he passed out in the neighbors’ trash
I lifted him, his black curls against my neck.
We had coffee but there was still whiskey in it.
His parents lived in the FEMA trailer
parked at the horse farm. They’d lost
their hardware store in Houma, the coast’s eye.
Grief came up out of the earth.
There were many false saviors
with boats full of dogs. Don’t they know
you can’t build a grave in the swamp?
C. was the last brother. In the storm, the other two
rose out of the earth. He never talked to anyone.
I know nothing about loss. The prism of his face
at 5am was a question. What was left of the family
stood on the coast as the boats resurfaced.









I make imaginary places where real things happen.
Caves filled with mangoes, a shop with misshapen dresses
covered in stains—people I love dead because I dreamed it.
Last night, it was my father and my mother could not cry
because her crying made it real. Friday night
the paws of a neighborhood dog are left severed on my porch.
I feel what is missing of the dog until I am only hands and feet.
Fear catches like a bark in the throat. A man I know
wrote a book about a girl who took her own life.
He morphed himself into her, as if that could ever be possible,
which of course is an act of violence. What do I know,
writing my way out of fear. As a kid I used to pack a suitcase
full of candy and run away, pedaling down the street
while my mom shouted from the stoop. Pumping my hairy little legs
just to prove I could disappear. I once hid in the neighbor’s
garage for hours beside an old Firebird that lived under a tarp.
It was the 80s. Satanic Panic. Stranger Danger.
I watched my mother grow afraid, feeling the thrill
of her panic inside me. It was real.
Having scared myself into grief, I went home.
She loved me like a mother, which of course
is an act of the imagination.


Jenny Molberg is the author of Marvels of the Invisible (winner of the 2014 Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press, 2017) and Refusal (LSU Press, 2020). She is the recipient of a 2019-2020 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the C.D. Wright Conference. Her work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Missouri Review, and other publications. Find her online at

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