“Daddy Shaves His Mustache and We Cry Ourselves to Sleep,” “There Is No Such Thing As a Labor Shortage” & “Heartbroken, Insane” by Holly Burdorff

Illustration of a blue fist and a red first aid kid rising out of a blue thumb to meet a steak knife

Daddy Shaves His Mustache and We Cry Ourselves to Sleep

Daddy shaves his mustache
and we cry ourselves to sleep
What have you done with him
And who is this man in his clothes
I can hide under the couch
I can fit a cloud in my mouth
I can quiz him about last week
I can gently poke his cheek
All this to confirm his human textures
At six we have burgers and corn
Our wide eyes fixed on his bouncing lip
The kitchen light finagles a shadow
His follicles blossoming
We will never be the same

There Is No Such Thing As a Labor Shortage

Only a shortage of functioning thumbs
now that I've split mine open, a shortage
of gauze in the neglected first-aid kit,
excess of a coworker who said she’d
beat my ass so I call off to avoid
her, excess of rain in the Ballroom D
ceiling tiles, which came crumbling down Tues.,
so my hours were cut short by four on Weds.
Excess of a heater burning the wall,
its spreading brown singe a countdown clock. Oh,
reader, why would you stay? Here’s your volta:
perhaps the steak knife you last held isn’t
the one which split my thumb. But certainty
is for fools. No shortage of those either.

Heartbroken, Insane

Slam the door, load the car

A sense of something gathering in my back,
between my shoulder blades, a scream
gathering breath, growing wings

Sorrow, sorrow. It isn't the powder
in the sink, the clean sheets.

I am zipping along the highway
Along a green wall of vines

It was that first wry wink

Every moment since, an invasion
I have never done a single thing wrong

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Holly Burdorff’s work recently appears or is forthcoming in Cherry Tree, DIAGRAM, and Peatsmoke. She earned an MFA in creative writing at The University of Alabama and currently lives near Cleveland.

Flynn Nicholls is a California-based cartoonist. He loves getting enough sleep.