Issue 26 | Fall 2020








1. I told him I scratch inside my ears with the head of a straight pin. Or a toothpick.
A Q-tip is is just too soft and round. I need something a little bit sharp to really soothe
that loud itch. He didn’t say anything.

2. I told him sometimes I pick dead skin off the bottom of my feet. I pick it.
And I peel it. Sometimes I chew it like a cud. I don’t eat it. Sometimes there
are small dunes of heel skin at my bedside, like dried cocoons. I often wear
socks when I go to the doctor or get a massage so no one will see my raggedy

3. When I was 8, I put a dead spider in my grandmother’s bowl of strawberries.
It was in my bowl of strawberries first, its black legs splayed against the berry’s
redness like sloppy stitches. I don’t know why I didn’t just put it in my napkin
and throw it in the garbage.

4. When I was 10, I put a teaspoon of Drano in my best friend’s cereal bowl. I
was using Drano to clean ballpoint pen off my white patent leather purse. It
didn’t work. And I was convinced I’d gotten Drano in my mouth. I didn’t want
to die alone.

5. I covet everything but cats.

6. I hate more now than I have ever hated in my life.

7. I am begging (like a dog) to be absolved. I’ve carried the shame from these
sins for sixty odd years like a growth.

8. Please forgive me. I need to be righteous, as righteous as possible.

9. I want to fight.

10. I want to fight the evil.

11. There is evil afoot.

Filed under: Nonfiction

Leanne Grabel, M.Ed., is a writer, illustrator, performer & retired special education teacher. Currently, Grabel is teaching graphic flash memoir to adults in arts centers and retirement communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. In love with mixing genres, Grabel has written & produced numerous spoken-word multi-media shows, including “The Lighter Side of Chronic Depression”; and “Anger: The Musical.” Her poetry books include Lonesome & Very Quarrelsome Heroes; Short Poems by a Short Person; Badgirls (a collection of flash non-fiction & a theater piece); & Gold Shoes, a collection of graphic prose poems. Grabel has just completed Tainted Illustrated, an illustrated stretched memoir, which was serialized in THE OPIATE from 2018-2020; and HUSBAND, a collection of graphic flash memoir. Grabel’s illustrated flash memoir will be published monthly in Another Chicago Magazine in 2020. She and her husband Steve Sander are the founders of Café Lena, Portland’s legendary poetry hub of the 90s. Grabel is the 2020 recipient of the Bread and Roses Award for longtime contributions to women’s literature in the Pacific Northwest.