Mike Bagwell


There are only a few ways to be dead and still
hurl insults at traffic or stars. I practice
the 3rd and 4th variations.

The subway conductor announced that his son had gone
missing, that he had been walking to such-and-such a place.

I looked around and noticed the passengers were not
listening. They had become pieces of sky, which left me
with no option but to lie down and wait for the nearest tree
or tall building to poke through them.

I was practicing a sympathetic shape. The conductor came on
again with a whine of feedback and the blue expanse
destroying him from the inside but
it sounded like “My son, my son!”
and the nearest tree poked through him.

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Mike Bagwell is a writer and software engineer in Philly. He received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and his work appears in Action Spectacle, ITERANT, Sprung Formal, Heavy Feather, HAD, Bodega, Okay Donkey, and others, some kindly nominating him for a Pushcart. He is the author of the chapbooks A Collision of Soul in Midair (Bottlecap Press 2023), Or Else They Are Trees (El Aleph), and a micro When We Look at Things We Steal Their Color and Grow Heavy Under Their Weight (Rinky Dink Press 2024). Find him at mikebagwell.me, @low_gh0st, or playing dragons with his daughters.