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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.

Author's Note: This piece is inspired by “13 Angels Standing Guard ‘Round Beside Your Bed” by A Silver Mount Zion.

Bio: Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man with Borderline Personality Disorder. He's from Seattle and currently attends the Evergreen State College. He's been published by University of Amsterdam's Writer's Block, UC Davis' Open Ceilings, UC Riverside's Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara's Spectrum, and The New School's The Inquisitive Eater. His favorite soda is Inca Cola, which is a Peruvian soda that tastes like bubble gum. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He's @RomanGodMercury on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Purple sunset background and an angel statute.



at night before i sleep

stand thirteen angels

‘round my bed


& i don’t just mean

ghosts with

halos & harps


great mighty beings with

bodies of rings


& many pairs of

feathered wings


all body & feather

covered in eyes.


& i don’t mean that as in metaphor


i mean that as in

thirteen angels

‘round my bed


seen yet again

before i sleep tonight



right into my ear


leaning over

both sides of my body


& it’s not

the first time

i’ve hallucinated


it won’t be

the last


but here these angels stay

over my eyes

that try to be sleeping


are you here

to protect me


or are you here

to claim me


i know that the two

are not mutually exclusive


but i’ve been so sick lately

i had to go

to the emergency room


did i make it?


my fragile body

could barely hold itself today


i thought i would’ve died

just like


my close friend fin


who at the age of twenty

called their family

telling them they’d go to the emergency room

tomorrow morning


was found dead

the next sunrise


if you take me

i will be happy

to see them


tonight i sleep &

i don’t see the light.


somehow i’m alive

but i’m still unsure

if these angels came


to help

or to claim.

Header image Hemera Technologies

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