First deaths – by Ryan Stone

 

A red balloon sailing
through patchwork skies
whisked my brother’s young feet
from the fairground. Day bled
to twilight before a cop found him
mangled in a ditch by the highway.

After the funeral, my Dutch au pair
led me down to our basement
and laughed when I told her
I’d never played baseball. Later
we snuck my father’s rifle
out to the train yards, and she
showed me how creamy breasts
of pigeons turn crimson, and

how nothing seems more alive
than in that moment
before it isn’t.

 

 

 

Ryan Stone writes after midnight. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications including Algebra of Owls, Eunoia Review, The Drabble and Silver Birch Press and won prizes in a number of competitions at venues including Grindstone, Writer Advice, Goodreads, Writers’ Forum Magazine and Poetry Nook. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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For the Girl in the Grove – by Ryan Stone

 

You won’t recall that ride through the walnuts,
one fey afternoon in fall – a city boy
on penance in the country, I’d never ridden before.
You were kind in a time of rough edges,
shared your saddle along spice-scented rows.
I swayed behind you, astride your palomino,
never more aware of a girl. Heat rose
in places where the lines of us blurred,
flared when my hand brushed your breast.
I almost kissed you when you turned to talk,
wish I’d kissed you instead of still guessing
just what you meant when you told me
not to let go.

 

 

 

Ryan Stone is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two young sons, a rag doll cat and a German Shepherd. His poetry has recently appeared in Writers’ Forum Magazine, Algebra of Owls, Eunoia Review, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain, Poppy Road Review and Pyrokinection.

At a Dog Fight – by Ryan Stone

 

The sweating men form a ring,
aroused by proximity to death.
Snatched from backyards as children slept,
two dogs now circle and snarl.
Flies feast on blood and one dog goes down,
back legs splayed, front torn and flailing.
Defeat is a whimper – sharp teeth at the throat –
from which men turn and tally bets.
I step from my father’s shadow
to stroke the blood-matted fur
of the dog left discarded on straw.
I know how it feels to be flayed.

 

 

 

Ryan Stone lives in Melbourne, Australia. He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two beautiful sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes. His poetry has recently appeared in Writers’ Forum Magazine, Eunoia Review, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain, Poppy Road Review, Ekphrastic and Pyrokinection

The Weight – by Ryan Stone

 

One drunken night, he lay on the coach road
and she lay beside him. He pictured a truck
descending – wobbling around corners,
gaining momentum. They spoke about crushes,

first kisses. He told her of an older woman
who’d stolen a thing he couldn’t replace.
He tried to describe the weight of lost things.
She listened until he stopped,
until I stopped

hiding behind he. I felt small,
watching the cosmos churn
while I lay on the coach road
one summer night, speaking
of big things
and nothing.

 

 

Ryan Stone lives in Melbourne, Australia. He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two beautiful sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes. His poetry has recently appeared in Writers’ Forum Magazine, Eunoia Review, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain, Poppy Road Review, Ekphrastic and Pyrokinection