Rotten by Kirk Sever

Gristle and pores wet soft aroma, gorgeous, soft, grainy, loud opulent musk. Decaying sack of gladiolas, mushy brown. Sweating. A syrup made for the poor. Browned sugars and weeping rot.

The corroded insides, the brown, sweating skin on the outside. The smell of artificial maple syrup, the trees, the dead leaves becoming earth, turning black, becoming earth, wetting, becoming earth. The rotting thing—the fruit—wets my hand. I push my nose into the soft, granular, wet mush, the pungent sweetness.

Too old (a grandma’s guts) and the leftover food from Thanksgiving dessert at the bottom of a dumpster, wriggled through by cockroaches and rats and tiny ethereal flies.

Kirk Sever’s writing has appeared in The Angel City Review, Rain Taxi, Bird’s Thumb, The Northridge Review and elsewhere. Additionally, his work has earned him runner-up in both the Academy of American Poets’ George M. Dillon Memorial Award and the Northridge Fiction Award. He currently teaches writing at Cal State Northridge.