Ray Succre

A Selective Biological Condition

The man removed his clothes,
but was then nothing but pillows.
He slept and became me,
and by morning I woke beside my wife.

Had I traveled in time? Was I two fractured men?
I exhausted the morning on a couch, being
a selective biological condition
cast like seed from the Big Bang.

She picked flowers at first, early on,
but the flowers were parishioners.
She left the church after discovering
Moroccan cuisine and my zipper.

At noon, we paid and then joined the Tour of Poisons.
We grew innervated and spoke in accents.
The guide was factual, though young enough to infer.
"Over here, in the blue case is Pancuronium.
It kills quickly but painlessly, centering
on the ulterior relaxation of muscles.
Those with an interest in capitol punishment
will find it noteworthy that the 'lethal injection'
contains Pancuronium. While not retro,
it can still be inferred a 'vintage' poison."

I stepped up and lifted the vial from the blue case,
had a staunch drink. It tasted like aspirin
and fruity perfume.
"Honey!" my wife gasped. I set the empty vial back.
"It was just a sip." I said, flower-like, serene, domestic.
"Don't spoil it! I'm making Moroccan tonight."

I lifted my shirt and examined my pillow.
My wife adjusted the little bible she hid in her shirt.
The tour guide yawned and moved us toward
the grand room of Strychnine.

How soft and relaxed the world was.

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and baby son. He has been published in Aesthetica, Vanitas, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novel Tatterdemalion was recently released in print and is available most places. He tries hard.

For inquiry, publication history, and information, visit him online at