by Monika McGreal Viola

Mad Hat Variation 6
Michelle Robinson via Creative Commons

The remembrance of time not yet passed pulls her under as she laments the loss of her youth. She picks at her cuticles and scrolls down her Twitter, keening for the moments in the days before. And the coldness of the people makes her angry, and she mouths mutely to those frosted life forms, Do You Not Know How You Behave, can you not melt out your hearts, please give back to the world the empathy it has lost… her hollow howl, again and again and againagainagain, hastening the thud and flickering the eyelid, and she’s swallowed whole, hole holee holeee, falling down into it, Alice before she’s met the Mad Hatter, the Mad Hatter before he’s accepted his bipolar disorder, sinking lower together, sipping their tea and eating their crumpets, all the time asking the world to find some balance, to breathe hard into the plastic tube while squeezing with thumb and index finger — please, follow the instructions — puffing and wheezing, each attempt sucking air out of the lukewarm night, driving her dizzy, dizzy like the lecherous lilt of the world as she slides sideways down her seat, lamenting the mornings where problems were contended, where the following of white rabbits ended in triumph over red queens.

Monika McGreal ViolaMonika McGreal Viola’s work has appeared in Hermeneutic Chaos, AZURE, Icarus, Thirteen Ways Magazine, PennUnion, and Common Ties. Her poetry also has been twice shortlisted for the Fish Anthology Poetry Prize. Find her at

Siona Karen via Creative Commons

These are not my hands. I control them as if they were, but they belong to something else. If I run them across the whiskered walls, it tickles but in an abstract way, like prodding a leg that has fallen asleep. I’ve cut myself so honey and rice seep from the wound; when mixed with the whiskers it makes a stain of black under the blue, blue light.

I was another creature once, but now that’s far away. In times like these, the first response is to test communication.


I think there won’t be a reply, but I wait for one anyway and it comes after clocks have long stopped working.

—Do not greet me as an equal.

What a funny thing to say, now if only I could remember how to laugh.

Here I say, —Lift up yourself and show me a face or speak a name.

—Commands? There is cruelty in the sardonicism.


My body is meat, and I understand at once the humor in my request. Speech is for the time-locked and a face cannot be shown from the inside out.

—Oh, I say —These aren’t grains of rice and this isn’t honey.