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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

Erik Carlsen lives in Tacoma, Washington with the ghost of a dog named Duke. He's one of those awful people who always talk about riding their Peloton, but he's trying to stop. He collects books on intimacy, and sleeps with a handful of ball bearings every night. He is elated to be read.

Teal background, tops of palm trees bordering the left side, lower left corner, and upper right corner.

ON VACATION

ERIK CARLSEN

A baby’s pacifier sitting

On the edge of an ashtray

 

An old woman who removed

Her own gold filling to see

That tooth one last time

Salivating blood into the sink

Trying to remember

Which side of her mouth

It came from

 

Five orphaned boys

Lighting a cat on fire

In the early afternoon

With no consequences

 

Onions and potatoes shoved

In a chain link fence, a crow

Has an onion in its talons,

And is flapping wildly

 

An ancient man taking

A bag of vitamins through

Airport security and not minding

The inevitable strip search

 

A young woman on a crowded train

Sitting on your lap not because she wants to

 

At the edge of the lake there is a man

With a guitar in his hand and a rabbit

Under his arm. He blesses me with his free hand,

The rabbit sniffs the breeze, watches the sand.

 

A dozen candles lit in a circle

Around a shrine to an idol

In the crosswalk. Two crossed swords,

Animal blood, chicken feathers.

Header image  Getty Images Pro

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

© 2021 Dead Skunk Mag