Black Petals Issue #87 Spring, 2019


Mars-News, Views and Commentary
God's Canyon-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Napper's Holler, Chapter 10-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 11-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 12-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
There's an App for That-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Sepia Photograph-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Chorus-Poem set by Christopher Hivner
Granite Garden-Poem set from Michael Keshigian
Cottonmouth-Poem set from Hillary Lyon



Christopher Hivner


See the smile

I give to you,

full of teeth

ground to bone,

a line of blood

between the lacunae.

I give you my mirth

as a gift

because I know

the pain I’m going

to inflict

when you wake.

Would a song relax you?

I’m not a great singer

but I can try:

“Listen to the silence

and the dread it brings,

peer into the darkness

at the invisible things,

pray to the sky

for help from on high,

while I push and pry

to remove your eye.”



you’re awake,

and screaming.

I should have left it

at the smile.

No time for regrets though,

Let’s get started.


Pluto’s Necklace


Christopher Hivner



Spinning through the softest void in space and time

swallowed by Einstein’s curved thoughts

my mind stretches before me like a rope

unraveling to form pearl-like strings of brain cells

that helix and dive

into tunnels of extrapolated theory

and packets of mathematical conjecture.

The chains of gray matter drag me along

like a pendant, an ornament for the universe. 






Christopher Hivner



I saw her in a nightmare as water,

an open sea

swallowing my existence

in one easy gulp.

When I woke my skin burned

as if acid had washed over me.

I lay motionless,

staring into the dull white of my ceiling,

wondering why I wished

the specter from my dream

was with me in bed,

stripping the bones

from my body.


I saw her outside the window at work,

standing back from the glass

to the right side

so only half her face was visible.

She wore a cowl,

folded her arms across her chest,

looked like a monk

standing perfectly still staring at me.

I tried to meet her gaze

but dropped my eyes

away from hers.

I heard a shriek

and looked up in time

to see blood splatter

on the window,

and she was gone.


The dream returned every night,

but she was different,

a coded message

in silk or light,

a deeper meaning

in death and mutilation.

I was never alive

right before I woke.

When my eyes opened

and I took in breath,

I wished I wasn’t.


I am being followed;

her presence hovers around me

like pale hands

stealing the heat from my body.

My legs are weak from walking,

but no matter where I go

she never leaves me.


I try to sleep just to see her;

she lets me close

but never to touch.

Her hair dances with electricity,

skin glowing with white heat.

I clutch at her clothing

needing to make contact.

If I can hold her maybe

I can pull her

into my waking world,

and we can be together.


The lights flicker,

she’s near.

The air smells of wintergreen,

so I know her teeth are on my skin

trying to chew into my throat.

I lay my hands where I believe

her shoulders to be

to pull her close.


Where there was black

now it’s a miasma of metallic colors;

where there was white

I taste razor blades slicing my tongue.

If I shout, my voice

comes from my neck,

which is gushing blood.

I can’t laugh or cry.

I see the stars in the sky,

teeth in the Cheshire grin

of a collapsing universe,

and it all spins

round and round,

up and down,

side to side.

Sani, my love, and me

living in a comet’s tail

waiting for the inevitable.


She is a dream,

an oceanic mass undulating

around and through me.

I’m not sure if I’m alive or dead

or if it matters.

Whatever I do

Sani is in control now.

She stretches me,

kneads me like dough,

reshaping my existence

to what she wants.

I wish I could feel again,

even if it was pain.

I wish the stars

shone in the sky

instead of exploding in my belly

setting my veins on fire.


Sani, my love—

I saw her in a dream

when the world was real.


Christopher Hivner,,, of Dallastown, PA, who lives and writes in Pennsylvania’s wilds, not the tropical island he’d prefer, wrote BP #87’s 3 poems, “Chorus,” “Pluto’s Necklace,” and “Sani” (+ BP #82’s poems, “Marco,” “The Rules,” & “Wandering Eye”; BP #71’s “Sand”; the BP #62 poems, Psycho Joe’s Body EmporiumSymbioticaThe Challenger, and When I Arrive; the BP #53 poems, Follow-Up Appointment, Gasoline Roses, and Until They Dissolve. His stories and poems have been published here and there. A collection of his published ‘08 horror short stories, THE SPACES BETWEEN YOUR SCREAMS, was reviewed in BP #54.

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