March Post – Selected Poems – Joris Soeding

Selected Poems
By Joris Soeding


Joris Soeding’s third chapbook, In Between the Places Where Night Falls, is forthcoming from Lummox Press. His poems have recently appeared in publications such as Belle Rêve Literary Journal, Cruel Garters, The Horror Zine Magazine, San Pedro River Review, and Thirteen Myna Birds. He is a 5th/6th grade Writing teacher in Chicago, where he resides with his wife, son, and daughter.



Voodoo Island

he sits poolside with a drink and a married woman
stories from his novels at the resort with jacketed waiters
he hasn’t turned in a word to the publisher in three months
new work is a four to five-hour flight from Miami Beach

they land on the shore with emergency fuel
it’s beautiful, almost unreal
inspiration has become safe until the river
grey flesh dangling from the face and chest
eyes covered but not blinded
gunshots don’t make them flinch

a doctor has been trying to uncover a cure for cancer
collecting snake venom in beakers with his assistant
laboratory a secret while the symptoms are dead-like
elsewhere the drumming begins, salt sprinkled onto sand

he falls for the one playing the piano
makes her a Rob Roy, then divulges of the sickly man
there was something so unnatural about him
there are others, poised in sacrificing her, being the daughter of the doctor
lying next to candles in a daze and the glint of a machete
palm trees with little promise yet the sand is still white




Romans 12:19

 …vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord…


“you go home and bury your boy,” he’s told
instead his old Ford pickup on the wooded dirt road
gray blanket flinching in each turn
the moon into what little is left

he sees her for the ones who ran him down
candles, tarantulas, an owl
his blood from fingers into a bowl
like Judas, coins and always a price

in ’57 he saw it on a hill, holding the neighbor
when grandmother’s hands, like paper, would wash his
supposedly it rests in the Pumpkin Patch Cemetery
by dark he has solicited the creature


The New Genus

she photographs the web at the barn’s peak
half missing San Francisco before stars and acres

a crow on the farm with blood from its beak
the entire town is yours, you’re the doctor, she says

he seems stricken with the memory of insects
slinking from a leg to face in his crib

one has made its way onto the lampshade
a baby from the black, bubbling nest

another beneath the football field bleachers
not content until collapse on the grass

where are all the other crickets? he asks the one that lands on highlighted paperwork
next to a book, ‘The World of Spiders’

they have quieted for three weeks
parts, like wings, are found in the second victim’s living room

tissue samples, toxicology, the whole nine yards
three bodies exhumed, each with bites

once home he notices it on the television
then from faucets, on doors, bathroom tiles, the rainbow drawing

he must overcome the past in his cellar with a shovel
otherwise a California swarm has been prompted



An Afternoon with Family

She’s having tea with her deceased siblings
“mommy says take care of us,” brother says
“she says you’ll stop the hurting. Cream?” sister asks
becoming more pale like her dress
she leans into the light from windows downstairs




she returns to Newt, Texas, population 2,306
2,307 if you count her cousin in the cellar
winding driveway, portraits by oil, polished banister
then the yellowed headlines of ones with fire to the family home
her friends without such secrets
she begins to question the burned half S on her heart
the new burden of being a Sawyer