Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Case # 4167 (c)

Dear Rory,

Rory, here are clean white sheets for you to soak up the ink coming out of your eyes

I want to go back to school.  I won’t make any money. Nothing I was ever interested in made money. But what’s the point of anything then? I’m just trying to stay alive and cut one more head off. I’m just buying time.  Should I read more headlines, move again?

Rory, I’ll always keep your ID card in my pocket. I won’t forget you. Your fear, your confusion. Your softness when I first saw you. What do we have if not soft eyes at first? I have to kill and be soft at the same time Rory.

I’ll read you your card: Subject smothered in Tapestern ally. ink forced down throat. Right arm and anterior pelvic bone severely injured. Lacerations on face. Identification neck tattoo: “Rory.”


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens lives in Midwest and is the author of four full length poetry collections, one of which tied for first place in the 2017 Lit Fest Book Competition, and of ten chapbooks. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Black Lawrence Press, Quiddity, Prelude, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, decomp, and Inter/rupture.
Read more from her:
Styling the Bearded Lady, in Cider Press Review
One Hour, in Prelude

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