Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15



Dan Kraines
| poetry


You should go out, you should
go out because if you stay in you’ll
write another suicide
poem, another little plea bargain
to a judge who isn’t there, isn’t
with you in the room with the window.
Go out and buy another remote. Get the universal
remote so you can finally eliminate the bar
that flashes at the bottom of your screen
coming up and taking
half the picture like a cloud or flu—
flu of persistent thinking while reading
the paper: hyperlinks to spying becoming
arguments with no one, anger
flung back and forth in your mind, headlines
binding you to a mast, clanking their peg leg
on the deck above your head. You’re not
on the mast. You’re being kept below
deck with rum, and you like rum,
it’s there in the barrels. If you were the captain,
would you pour over maps and read or
would you stencil
drawings of your instruments
into the parchment of your notebook, eyes
on everything but the sea. You’re not some
Ahab, stop giving commands to yourself;
get the remote, watch something good late
at night, Starbuck. First and only mate.

Dan Kraines is a PhD student at the University of Rochester. His poems have appeared in Salmagundi, Redivider, Blunderbuss, Phantom Limb, H.O.W., and Box of Jars. He received his MFA from Boston University.

Mirror to Mirror
Tricks of Light