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This is what the big brother sunflower said to the baby brother sunflower.

“No scalpel. No syringe. No swabs of any kind. No alcohol or peroxide. No sutures. No padding of any sort. No overhead light. No saw for the thick part. No disinfectant for the surface. No Band-Aids. No gauze. No tweezers. No muzzle.”

But in order to do such a thing the big brother sunflower knew that the baby brother sunflower should be dead, or at least half-dead, so he waited a few days for the baby brother sunflower to wither and die, or almost die, but that never happened.

“Well,” said the big brother sunflower, “I am curious and I will not wait.”

The big brother sunflower got out his rusty buck knife and cut into the baby brother sunflower’s palish calf. He cut clean into it, as clean as Purell, and sliced the baby brother sunflower’s scrawny leg right off. The leg squinched and jittered on the dirt even though it was no longer attached to the baby brother sunflower’s body.

That was it. It was a sunny day and that was it.


The White Coats Are Coming! The White Coats Are Coming!

Afraid of examination rooms the pleather examination table the white sheaf of paper that tears when I sit lie or sweat on it the chair where I pile my hastily folded clothes the adjustable light exposing every pore every freckle every follicle of dark hair I missed with the razor the mysterious burnt red spot on the floor near the stainless steal flip-top trashcan the bare the vulnerable the shameful places begging to be covered the tongue depressors gagging me into submission — the Q-tips as long as size 11 men’s shoes the color coded vials salivating for my blood the prehistoric scale shrieking before settling on my objectionable weight — the absurdity of the purple latex gloves the accordion shaped curtain encasing me like cadaver in a fluorescent lit coffin the glowing orange hazardous waste bin full of sperm spit puke pee skin blood pus amoeba snot ticks dung fleas booty snails the blood pressure apparatus nailed to the wall reading 30 points higher than it’s ever read at home the cold stethoscope disappearing into one of the deeply set dimples on my lower back the cracks on the walls the cracks in the smudged mirror the cracks in the lights the cracks in the ceiling the cracks in the Georgia O’Keefe painting that’s never once calmed me down the insouciant expression on my doctors face as she presses her pruny fingers into the achy flesh beneath my rib the lab sheet affixed with a label bearing my name the computer screen reviewed in haunting silence the words just in case rule out and come back in a week to discuss the results.


Christine Tierney’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, Poet Lore, Permafrost, PMS, The Tusculum Review, descant, The Yalobusha Review, The Broome Review, Sanskrit, Skidrow Penthouse, Shadowbox, Tattoo Highway, Soundzine, Cider Press Review, Sugar House Review, Gemini Magazine, Pismire, TheNewerYork, Lungfull!, AEROGRAM, This Literary Magazine, Weave Magazine, The Boiler Journal, Meat For Tea, and Monkeybicycle. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Best New Poets anthology. She holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writing Program, and is employed as an after-school director.