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Death by a Thousand Cuts and other poems by Frank C Modica | #thesideshow

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Death by a thousand cuts

She didn’t lop off his head
with a rusty machete because
she was afraid of infections.

Taking out his legs with an IED
wasn’t her style of execution;
too much noise and fanfare.

And she didn’t stab him in the heart
with a samurai sword since
she respected the culture.

No, she shaved off a few
millimeters of skin at a time,
using sterile techniques for safety,

cutting quietly and without fuss,
every slice done with reverence
for all world cultures and religions.

On the Edge

Her love was like
a razor he took up in

both hands to rake
his arms and legs.

He dug the blade into
soft flesh with deft

movements, each slash
into his skin an antidote.

Triptych

Dirty laundry piles up
like ancient mounds,
hiding secrets for future
archaeologists to decipher.
Shards and fragments of an
unexamined life collect,
layer upon layer in
the corners of my life.

Dishes accumulate unwashed.
The dish sponge breeds
exotic bacteria strains,
a new vaccine lies with
Monday’s lasagna dinner
The various flora live
undisturbed while new
cycles of existence breed.
Generations of mutations
strive to achieve pinnacles
of evolutionary excellence.


Frank C Modica is a retired public school special education teacher living in Urbana, Illinois. He taught students with special needs for 34 years. Since his retirement from teaching he volunteers with a number of arts and social service organizations in his community. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in Slab, Heyday Magazine, Cacti Fur Magazine, The Tishman Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Pegasus, and Black Heart Magazine.

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