an online literary magazine for extra pungent poetry and prose


all at once
after Clint Smith

the first day of spring came and went, sun spilling
all over my carpet. i keep seeing pictures of buds just beginning
and all i can think is, why not me? i revel in my selfishness, cultivate it
like a garden. eat the whole tub of ice cream, forget to give myself insulin,
race to spend all the money on my brother’s bridge card
before they shut it off when he gets to prison.
i do not weep at the hundred wasted on the card
when they shut it off, but i do bite my cheek.
cancel my dentist appointment. say i’ll reschedule.
spend days on end in bed. do not reschedule.
pull up my calendar, not looking to fill it. see it’s filled.
think of my poor twisted spine when bent over a screen. straighten
or do not straighten, it’ll never last.
leave my garbage in the bin. wonder
why i didn’t think of it when i see a bag resting
against the fire hydrant. remember i don’t have a car
to take it to the dump. because i don’t have a car i do not buy gas
and this makes me feel good about myself. i reuse masks. pester
those around me to wear them when in my presence.
try not to think of what’s done outside
of my presence. try not to think about disability,
months later, still not acknowledging my existence, my
pathetic groveling, my begging for poverty wages
without work. pay my rent on time
and with a smile. wish my landlord would die. wish all landlords
were dead, even the good ones. revel in my selfishness, watch it bloom like a grotesque
little flower. have a meltdown on my private story. delete the evidence.
blow the dust from my brain in order to seem like a functioning
human on my public story. swipe away the break time!
notification encouraging less screen time. plug my phone in three times
a day. scroll twitter. swipe through instagram. watch kinetic sand
cutting reels until my brain feels successfully liquified. feel better about myself
that i have not downloaded tiktok. send tiktoks shared to twitter
to the groupchat. cultivate my selfishness, water it like a seed.
sneer when i’m right. stutter when i’m wrong. steep
in my selfishness like the warmest bath, like i’m making tea. look
at the plastic tip covering the spout of my new $50 kettle. close out my credit card
statement without paying the bill. count the credit cards i cycle through without interest.
obsess over the combination of self-importance and deep hatred
that makes up what is known as narcissism. think of narcissus drowning.
think of myself drowning. wonder what the news article would look like. wonder
who would read it. if my family would use the right name when talking about my dead-self.
wonder if they’d fork over the money it would take to be rapidly decomposed
instead of buried. think of the consequences of my actions.
read the letter my brother sent me from prison. thank my body
for learning how not to cry on command. press the bridge
of my nose to get rid of the burning that comes with not crying.
think more of dying, but decide to live instead.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Figure 1, The Offing, and Harpur Palate, among others. their portfolio can be found at and their workshops can be found at