Black Petals Issue #95 Spring, 2021

Pit Bull
BP Editorial Page
BP Artist's Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Blue Meet-Fiction by George Aitch
Dark Alleyways-Fiction by Adam Phillips
Iris' Vanity-Fiction by Tristan Miller
Scalp Cleanse-Fiction by Kajetan Kwiatkowski
The Muscus-Fiction by Alice Stone
The Wrong Place-Fiction by Ante Caleta
Things That Happen-Fiction by Guido Eekhaut
Tidal Horror-Fiction by Sal Braden
Two Martinis In-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Vampire-Fiction by Gene Lass
Hypnic Jerk-Flash Fiction by Vismay Harani
Speed Dating-Flash Fiction by Alexander Condie
Step Out-Flash Fiction by Ed Nobody
The Packing Bay-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Trophy Kill-Flash Fiction by Eddie D. Moore
Occupational Hazard-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
The Definition of Crash-Poems by Paul David Adkins
Ghost: A Working Definition-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Vampiric Threnody-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Leelanau Lake Monster-Poems by Richard Stevenson
Ballast-2 Poems by Angelo Letizia
Pit Bull-3 Poems by Pete Mladinic
Shadow of Sleep-Poem by Teresa Ann Frazee
Microcosmus-3 Poems by Daniel Snethen
The Higher Dimensions-Poem by David C. Kopaska- Merkel

Pit Bull


Pete Mladinic


Lorna parts a beaded curtain, and I follow

her into the Insomnia Café.  At one table

Henry lights a non filter cigarette.  One day

he told himself: I will go to India, and got

on a plane at Kennedy and flew there.


Did he land in Bombay, Calcutta, New Delhi?

India is something we heard he did

because he could, not a story people

made to make him adventurous.

There he might have smoked opium


with a man who had a hook for a hand,

a hook that extended from his right arm.

We can ask, Did you meditate in a temple?

Have your palm read?  Ride an elephant?

Sitting across from him, we ask instead


if he owns the trailer he lives in, he doesn’t.

We ask about Roy Barr, Henry’s late friend,

who was his eldest friend.  In 1949 Roy

owned a trailer park in which a pit bull

mauled to death a seven year old boy.


Henry opens a silver case, offers Lorna

a cigarette and with his short, square lighter

lights it.  Roy spoke very briefly

about the child’s death in the trailer park

in Bastrop, Texas.  It came up one day:


Roy sat on a bench lacing his shoes

in the locker room of a gym that’s now

a building for social services.  Henry’s sure

Roy, whose daughter lives in Barcelona,

went to court, as the park’s owner.

Knives Lie on a Table


Pete Mladinic


Knives lie on a table.  I pick up a knife

and carve in the table the words

“I love you and want to kill you.”

Dark thoughts resemble knives,

rose petals,

small dead birds on dry grass.

I love you, and often I hate you.

Dark thoughts resemble rags in a shed,

two parakeets in a cage,

small dead birds on dry grass

and knifes on a table.

I pick up a knife and in the dead

of night I go to your carport,

creep stealthily, and slit your tires.

I’d never do that to you

or to anyone.  Anyone who slits

someone’s tires is nuts,

which is one step beyond

a man such as I

daydreaming dark thoughts.


Like people, dark thoughts

can be loving or spiteful.

I’ve been stung by a dark thought,

kissed by a dark thought, fooled,

and saved.  Dark thoughts are thorns.

They’re jet wings

at 36, 000 feet. Clumps

of dirt thrown on a casket,

the mourners’ veils,

the gravediggers’ boots, the shined shoes

of the corpse.

Dark thoughts

are scarves pulled out of a top hat.

If Ginger

seeks work

in Hackensack, she might

get in with the wrong crowd, somebody says.


Dark thoughts are the wrong crowd.

They’re the flood, the fire

the toaster, the microwave, the TV.

Nails digging into the back of a neck.

Sympathy cards and mirrors in storage,

flowers in a garden,

shoes in a shoebox on a shelf,

pennies in a jar and old love notes.

Dark thoughts are love notes to


Stop signs on the highway.


Dark thoughts sing of the day

I was lost,

the right and wrong days, the quiet

days, the dark ones.

Slow Summer Night


Pete Mladinic


Alisha, behind the counter,

at Come n Go,

smiles as he pays for gas and tells her

her face is interesting.  “I’m Bob.”

What else can he tell her?


She wonders if they’d like each other.

Interesting, not boring.

Boredom is good.

It’s the beginning of restlessness and

restlessness leads to house painting,

hiking, moving furniture and,

as they say in Australia, the spinning of


She gives him his American Express,

and says, “Alisha,”

extending her hand to his hand,

saying nothing about Doubt,

which is what this town is called,

saying nothing about

her warped porch,

her lawn of Johnson grass and weeds,

the two churches,

the high rate of teen pregnancy,

the river alongside the football field.

Once, out of love, she rode a Greyhound

two thousand miles to her sister’s


Bob, he said.  “I’m Bob.”


Alisha reads—Man Sucked Out of Somali

Airliner After Inflight Explosion.

He killed himself only, the Record reports,

while injuring two others.  Somali

detectives question

airport baggage handlers.


She unclasps a barrette.

Her hair falls to her shoulders.  Outside,

Bob’s Taurus pulls away,

leaving a swirl of exhaust in the dark.

Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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