Mallory Rader spends a majority of her time in the fetal position. She has been published in The Write Launch, Ink and Voices, Fourth and Sycamore, Volney Road Review, and others.
On Returning from War
The day he left
for basic training,
his face was sullen,
a doom simmering his cheeks.
He swirled a sponge
around a bowl in the sink,
looking above at a fly
that buzzed and battered
by the kitchen’s dim light.
When he left,
they only swarmed
through the barracks, through his brain,
like maggots shuffling to the core of an apple.
The flies stormed our house the day
and only multiplied—
seized our soundness and covered it in gunk.
You cannot redirect the mind like the gurus say.
You cannot dissipate years of training.
Mistakes cannot be killed— not like flies.