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Ding-Fiction by JD Baker
The Boy With the Straw Hat-Fiction by Steve Carr
Vickie's Revenge-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Confession-Fiction by Joan Leotta
My Affair-Fiction by Elena Smith
Sulfur-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Treehouse-Fiction by Andrew Davie
The Biggest Fans-Fiction by John J. Dillon
Guarding the Koi Pond-Fiction by Cecilia Kennedy
The Only Way to Fly-Fiction by Tom Andes
Written by Slade Stevens-Fiction by Chris Alleyne
Slaying the Siren-Fiction by Dionisio Traverso, Jr.
An Education-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Don't Move-Flash Fiction by Pam Ebel
Fashion Statement-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
No Pepsi, Coke-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Sasha Takes Another Shot-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Bloody Daydream-Poem by Wayne Jermin
9173, 1803, 0094-Poem by John Doyle
Postfontaine-Poem by John Doyle
The Bullet of the Assassin-Poem by John Tustin
The Monster-Poem by John Tustin
Rely on the Moon-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Trembling Shadows-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Caught, hooked-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
I'm Swimming and It's Late Autumn-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
Don't...!-Poem by Harris Coverly
Helios Grimm-Poem by Harris Coverly
Hunter-Poem by Harris Coverly
immobile death mask-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
moonless night-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
moonlit breeze through a forest-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
shadowu-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
A New Life-Poem by John Grey
Matilda-Poem by John Grey
Moira Walks Home Late at Night-Poem by John Grey
The Head-Poem by John Grey
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

THE BULLET OF THE ASSASSIN

 

by John Tustin

 

He stalked me since I could remember,

Looking at me with a combination of boredom

And disdain.

His sunglasses perched on his head,

Watching me from the driver’s side,

One eye squinting shut, the other unblinking

Up against the rifle scope.

 

I didn’t know who he was

Or why he wanted to kill me

But he went everywhere I went,

Watching me impassively from a distance,

His finger dancing around the trigger

Whether I made a move or sat still.

 

I used to think he was God

Or maybe the Devil

But I am sure there are others more deserving

Of the time investment leading to

The fidelities of salvation or

Damnation.

I always felt like I just was

And no one cared

And that was that.

 

I lived a life in dull aching,

The bullet of the assassin

Waiting for me in the rifle

Held in the hand of a man

Who could kill me any time

But for some reason was

Just waiting and waiting.

 

I never heard a shot.

I never saw the assassin

Change his expression

From passive to active.

Who knows when the bullet

Entered my body and began

To end me?

 

One day I felt the special pain,

Looked down and knew:

Gutshot

And discovered too late—

 

Already

Bled out.

 

The bullet of the assassin

Inside,

Telling a man who thinks

He is just walking dust

That that is exactly what

He is

And will be

 

Forevermore.

 

 

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last dozen years. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021