S.R. Aichinger


S. R. aichinger


When he says he wants to tie you naked to a chair, 
you may misinterpret this as a request for consent.
He will stand over you, both fists boqueted
with dozens of patterned silk scarves. Marvel
at their sheen, their brilliant violets & greens,
viscous reds. He will even let you choose
which scarves he'll use to bind your ankles
& wrists to his kitchen chair. Take note
of the cool slick of silk against your skin;
soon his constrictor knots will begin to burn & bruise
your flesh as he drags you in the chair
to his garage where he will climb onto you.
You will stare at the colored incandescent
Christmas lights strung from the rafters, 
a meager distraction from the sharp pain
of his weight thrusting your spine & pelvis
hard into the wooden chair. There will be the scent
of lilac through the half-open garage door as blood
throbs in your palms, dammed by tightening knots.
When he bathes you hours later in the garage
where you are still tied naked, it is inadvisable
to use the garden hose he will drag from the yard;
exterior faucets bypass a home’s water softener.
Suggest that he instead add a spoonful of borax
to a bucket of warm water to avoid damaging
his silk scarves. When he dismisses your advice
as a plea for personal comfort, urge him
to consider the delicate silk fibers. With hard,
cold water pooling around your feet, you will face
the fact that you misinterpreted him, 
thinking he was at all interested in consent.



... the color of bruises, of minor regrets.
                          —Lynda Hull

Blue, the color of paralysis,
of sweat & condensation in this

corrosive air. Room darkened
by your tar syringe, deformed sky

in window frame, a plate lacquered

blue for you to cut your lines.
Breath-like blue, your fairy tale sky

marred by chemtrails, your razors
rust-skimmed. The clock says 4:07.

Has it finally come to this? How still,

our blue: bathwater's surface, 
which bears a gnarled resemblance

to us in all our tatters—grotesque,
each in our own ways. Navied blues, 

caught so suddenly by rigor mortis.

You say you’ll need a bump
to survive another year. "OK," I say,

"in a year—what then?" Your highs
will have evaporated, deformed,

leaving me with only darker blues.

S. R. Aichinger earned his MFA in creative writing at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he lives.