On my mattress, leaves. I fence bleached bones together in brittle pickets and encase myself in calcium. Vine and grass raid rickety floorboards and make my home their own to twist and stick with thorn. Wind whips and whistles though the clipped clapboard walls with hiss and creak. Pieces of cellophane and filth float in the air, aimless. Empty bottles of water buoy bob in puddles of coal rain, crushed and unlabeled. With belly aches, I ring acid from my liver, winding, milking from me a thin rust river of plod and rumen; a gaunt spate across an empty lowland, flowing from me to the sewer where it sits to clot in a curdled black gutter butter, coarse and lumped.

I squeeze between the spiny brown planks to my cellar to hide from the horse-faced frost and watch my breath crystallize. My eye sockets sag in deep blue folds and my face hangs slack with the bodies of dead snails. My lips crack and bleed in the meat-hungry weather. A stench fills the atmosphere - not that there is any air to breathe - and ocean comes up in a season full of flu.

Everyone and everything thing is gone. My wife. Children. Vanished from their sick beds. Their image, already decaying, decomposed. When I close my eyes, I paint pictures of lost relatives in sequins on the inside of my lids. When I open them, I see everything turning to steam, disappearing, dizzy, in a wet cloud of ancient vapor. I finger my daughter's shark tooth locket and stare at the city, hard and mean. My thighs quake with blistered gas spasm. I listen and hear the arctic, metal scream my lungs' iceberg harmonic. It needles my drums, sticking inside of my skull, dangling from my cranium like vampire bat uvular drip.

My punctured skin bristles like slipper scuffed carpet, fraying rugged with voices hissing friction through an airless crypt, thrown down a long enfolded staircase, echoless in prayer-like silence with mouths full of twinge and cavity.

I stare at the creases on my palms and try to read my fortune through the scab and bruise and broken vessel rash. I dream my rubble-covered dreams beneath a coat of dust and white soil, nattered with peals of ruptured paint, and melt in the air for mad animals to snort and swallow and shuck.

If there was anymore electricity, I would watch Andy Griffith after the Dodgers. My television would be black and marshmallow white. The colors would wrap would my face and make a scratchy static hood and warm me the way my children would.

In a thaw, below a shingle-less roof of ivy tangle, my blood runs yellow, trickling solid cholera ooze fluid, drying shredded claret fizz around my nose and eyes like salt stained cement. From my bucktoothed mouth hatch mites and spiders, gnashing famine from hibernation, filling my hollow home with crust and chirp and crackle. I cough through my web-clogged throat and coat my walls with dreary raw mesh. It mazes around the room in gummed clots that drip and stick with spore and gristle. I can smell the netting rot like flooded fabric, making me moisten in the skin and underskin. When I touched gut, I am stuck, unable to move my fingers from wormy stomach, sucking me inside myself, slowly.

At night, I am dull and blunt, bludgeoned. On a spring-horned sofa, I seesaw before antique bunny-eared antlers. Candles burn, spewing stale candy wax aroma at the ceiling with glinting beams of waterlogged light. The fume of dead flowers. Of December. I take a beam in my hand and hold it, candling the ray of sham shine. I watch my shadow dancing wicked along my stillborn ribs. I bite the ray on two with my rotten fangs and a dry bullion flavor melts inside me, drizzling between my tonsils. My teeth soften to hot paste and clog my throat. I begin to expel through my fingers and I cannot stop until the entire room reaches its rim.

I eat sand from a Styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon from a long ago picnic, ladling nail and tack and fleas onto my tongue, lapping cold tasteless fodder crust and stale grain. I thought I smelt my family in the brine breeze on a barnacled, trash-heaped beach. My cartilage creaked then cracked with eggshell crumble and my voice splintered rasp with gurgle from uselessness.

My house fills with a honeyless hive, full of a buzz that saws my torso into halves then stitches my thorax back together pinching insect pincers. I slump into a deep slumber, sprawled. When I sleep, I see leafless branch burning. I dream I can see my son in a schoolyard covered in snow, alone and skeletal. He is running. He falls, bleeds ruby from his hands and sees his blood in the wintry white melt. When he climbs back up, he runs faster.

About the author:

Adam Moorad's writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in 3 A.M. Magazine, Elimae, mud luscious, Storyglossia, and Underground Voices. He lives in Brooklyn and works in publishing. Visit him here: