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Two Stories



In a very small house lives half of a man. He has one head, thirty-two teeth, one well-fitted suit, two legs and two arms, a head-formed plastic bag, two feet, one heart that is linked to his one brain, two perfectly blonde eyes, ten fingernails, ten toenails, two kneecaps and two knees, a large and small intestine (the pancreas excised, excised, excised), an inny belly-button, one pulpy tongue, a larynx, a carbuncle, sinuses, one wart, etc., but has no fingerprints, no knuckles, very few scars and no birth certificate, no eyelashes, three-quarters of one stomach and someone else’s liver, no pen, very little sweat but many odors, no ankles, no wrists, no voice, no shoes, only two dying and brown thoughts (one of which is “anything can change your life”), no music, no pillow, no bed, no electricity, but one human. That is all that is left.


The Backward Salmon

Me. Fish boat loosing its mooring. Fish boat without a soul. Fish startled dead on the floorboards like so much angry sex.
A mast with draped skin. Rudder against my ideas and nightmares. Waters here are blacker. Fish swim through the hull and through the person.
Fish with legs.
Fish with the new skin.
Wheel, wood, anchor, and hull. My confinement and accoutrements.
These are dreamt of and lifted swimmers like so many viruses I’ve housed inside me.
Fish as symbol.
Dead fish where fish and water never existed.

Leland received an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and has been published in Drunken Boat, Fence, Fourteen Hills, and the Georgetown Review. In addition to sending his book of short stories around to agents, etc. He works as a psychiatric case manager in New York City. .