Reb Livingston
from Bombyonder

Our boat needed something specific to cut through when alligators made ice from their methodic chomping, when we slowmo-drifted to the casino of silence to spend our hard earned ghoulishness. 


We possessed so few specifics.


We needed coins and slips and we needed help drawing a blank and we needed to do it here before here was sold to scuba divers and archivists.


Slots were hard on a body, on a door, on the ear, on a belief system.


A silent casino was not a good place for sleeping or rowing, so quiet all you could do was think.


And what to be avoided: a wrench in need of a bolt, a full drawer, masked pageant preparations, whales, rage funnels spewing bloodworms.


What needed to be done needed to be done and this now would be a time for a renovation, reboot, an inspirational quote, pee break, an appointment and attention to that which still needed our attention.


The things that we lost: a feather, an orb, parrot, cat, donkey, status, privacy, Heath Ledger, our lice.


Reflection brought the freeze, I looked and it all stopped, I counted, I cried, I preserved, I slept, I woke practically a reptile.




The butter churn dissolves.

That is your cue to crank it.

Let me repeat:

the black ring on you finger disappears

when you start producing answers.

There’s one way to reach mercy

and it involves a crumbling wall

circling a deepening pit.

I repeat, there are answers

that do not require recollection

simply repetition.





How fascinating to work in the lone, black-glass office building built in the middle of a cornfield.


How strange to immediately enter the conflict by way of a 19th century French gilt chandelier hanging in the lobby.


How terrifying to be taken hostage again by the same men who slaughtered you the last time they took you hostage.


How handy to use your memories from the last hostage situation to help yourself escape this one by way of the nearby elevator.


How curious to be stopped at the wraith floor and be invited to join the space between life and death.


How tempting the offer becomes once they incentivize you with your very own hand-gnawing kitten.





Check for the hat that feels like a joke threatened by an algorithm that doesn’t obey order. You don’t have to find it funny, you just have to find the one that fits your reason.


It’s a risk putting on a straw hat. It could catch on fire. Do you have an infestation of snakes that needs to be addressed?


You can store a lot of blue juice in a ten-gallon inner tube but that assumes you’re thirsty. Can you make sense of the dryness of your tongue? Is it what you can swallow?


Pink hats are for lizards. Do you have the scales?


A visor might do what you want but will it do what is required? Will it cover your crown? Will it cover what entertains the monsters?


A strong wind holds no shape, hold on to your botched bonnet.





To assist the fluster of

the ordered kindred

named as the extinct and blessed

we sketch a timeline

to offer emphasis 

to these layers of humanity

and suggest a point of

view to be confronted and

revised at a later 

time by future descendants

with their need to reshape

the line into a different form.


The rest we ignore.

Found In Volume 43, No. 04
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  • reb livingston
Reb Livingston
About the Author

Reb Livingston is the author of Bombyonder (Bitter Cherry Books, forthcoming 2014), God Damsel(No Tell Books, 2010) and Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, 2007). She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son.