Engraving of mermaid with green tail

Joe Nicholas

It’s seven in the morning & the shower is asking me questions

Did mermaids ever mistake us for wood cows?

For breakfast I ate a banana & blueberry

yoghurt / I’m never sure if I should drop

the “h” / Why

does it hurt

so much?

There was the loneliness that crept down the stairs

from the attic with all those damp


Sometimes I picture you in pain & isn’t that strange to admit? / There is something here

There is something always here & now all this shaking

Years from now I’ll thank you for the dead flowers

All these stains left in my wake

Do slugs ever try

to clean up their messes?

It’s early & I don’t want to talk

to anyone

but I do / This is how we live now

I don’t know what else to call it

Joe Nicholas author photoJoe Nicholas (AKA Dirty 4 String Orchestra) is an amorphous blob. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in alien mouth, BOAAT, Found Poetry Review, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Nervous Breakdown, and other wonderful publications. Their chapbook Street Monk can be found at Bottlecap Press. They can be found at 8rainCh1ld.tk.

Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #13.

Cleaver Magazine