Atrocities by Carolynn Kingyens


Hell, he said,
was not a caliente inferno
for demons and lost souls,
but the act
of being completely alone —
Thoreau-style solitude,
in the wilderness
of our own minds
and past lives;
again and again
we are forced to watch
as if held down
by the hand of God,
our atrocities animated
against loved ones.

I was somewhere
between buzzed
and drunk,
sitting inside his
silver sports car
in our parents’ driveway
where we were talking
about hell and damnation
of all things,
not quite sure if I was
making sense.

It felt awkward
to sit next to him,
without the familiar
of our loud, big family —
he in-between girlfriends
and I at home
for the weekend
without the company
of my husband,
but with the company
of my dog.

The glowing-red ember
of his cigarette
burned on and on
and on.


Carolynn Kingyens is the author of Before the Big Bang Makes a Sound and the newly released Coupling, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Brooklyn), McNally Jackson, and Book Culture. In addition to poetry, Kingyens writes essays, book and film reviews, flash fiction and short stories. Her short story “Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie” was one of fifteen stories selected by Across the Margin, a Brooklyn arts and culture webzine, for their Best of Fiction 2021 list. 

Leave a Reply