Rachel Small

Bystander Complex

someone smeared paprika
across heaven’s door in a

single motion of red, propping
it open with a lantern as

a passage of ghosts split
themselves into fractions.


dead stars rot above my
bleached skull, light expiring

years ago. you might have
loved the ocean then,

rolling the flavour across
your teeth, relishing tastes

of blue skies crushed against
a wave of salt, unrelenting.


there are a dozen hard lines
in the distance but never a bridge.

an unseen hand knocks against
brass scales in an effort of

modification, adjusting the final
note of immortality.

you shut the door, lantern extinguishing.
I watch.

Paper Towns

I dreamt an
entire town
of corpse flowers

with their petals
coloured in shades
of resurfaced


sea waves

plum coloured eyes

the ivory light of
venus twisting herself
into knots

someone once made
a castle from a ruin,
took cardboard

and made a town and
now I linger amongst
the outskirts,


Rachel Small is a true crime junkie living outside of Ottawa. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Bywords, The Shore, and blood orange. You can find her on Twitter @rahel_taller.