Vol. 1, Issue 1, Balance

by Mitchell Grabois


My father ran aground amidst a naked, barbaric race. The women’s cologne must be distilled from excrement, he and his mates thought. They held their breath. Their men’s penises dragged on the glacial ice. My father wondered why he had ever set sail.


I had a friend who was a microwave oven. She heated up quickly, but had a cold heart. I went to high school with her.  We kept in touch over the years.


I am the spiritual leader of the Cult of the Sacred Armadillo, but I’m thinking of branching out and also claiming leadership of the Cult of the Tasmanian Devil. I think that will bring more balance to my life. I need balance. I get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and fall over and lay on my back like a turtle.


My friend, the microwave oven—as she aged, the hinges on her door weakened and she began to release dangerous radiation. At night I would imagine myself spinning on her carousel and would get excited and couldn’t sleep. I talked to her on the phone. I was thinking about all the appliances that I’ve owned that have broken down and I’ve discarded.  


My wife says What are you doing down there by the toilet?

Nothing, I say, I’m thinking.

Are you thinking of starting a new cult? How many cults do you need to lead? How many cults will, in the end, satisfy you? I’m tired of being the bride of a cult leader. I feel guilty at having killed off all the other brides and buried them in the backyard of our old house. Our lives are as dull and predictable as episodes of Criminal Minds, which just goes on and on, year after year. It’s incredible, our tolerance for violence and perversity. We find it entertaining. We find school shootings entertaining. What are you doing down there on the floor? Have you lost your balance again? You ought to take yoga classes. Yoga is good for balance.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over a thousand of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Queen’s Ferry Press’s Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.