Excerpts from “Troll” by Danielle Mitchell


The troll says set a fire.

We man the field—carcass of a rat snake,
mound of rotten leaves, a landscape ready
to be tagged with tits & ass.

A portal suggests the body
got away. Run, body, run.

But we fail: the troll wants a body to burn.
For flames to lick at every surface.

The trolls wants us entangled in the terror
so that once she’s wilted down
to ash & thread he can take us with him
when he turns from that town square

to laugh & laugh & laugh



Cinnamon in the blood
cognac with hot despair—
a recipe conducted on keyboard

with herbs livened up by violence
then added to the sauce         

the sauce, its midnight of air

we finger the mouse to taste ourselves,
to see if destruction is easy to serve

to see if this bonemeal feels good
in your mouth. We want you

that easy to serve, we want you with
the same hunger as those two girls,
one cup



The troll asked that we list
everything we love
so he can make us regret it

One day, we will be the boss

We list the kitchen cabinets, the stained
Tupperware. We list the tree

in the neighbor’s yard & the girl
in the window who won’t come down
& play. We list play, her green eyes

We list bunny rabbits, flannel socks

We list our parents. Then we set

the table for SpaghettiOs in the can
& eat with a butter knife:
no one trolls a troll. No one trolls harder

than he who comes home to a broken
home & the severed body
of that spindly, molting pine



New Employee Interview:
Describe your first troll.

Does trolling make you fap?

Fill in the blank: My girlfriend __________ me
& now I want to ____________ her.

What was her daddy issue like?

How funny is pain?

Describe your greatest achievement
& how it attempted suicide?

Buttsecks makes you gay. That is not a question.

You cannot work here if you are gay.

Describe your favorite n00dz.

If you could be a misdemeanor which
would you be & how many
times a day? Just kidding,

if you answered any of these questions,
you’re fired



Read the rest of “Troll” in our eighth print annual, available now.




Danielle Mitchell is the author of Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry, winner of the 2015 Clockwise Prize. Her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Eleven Eleven, Harpur Palate, and Nailed.


(Front page image via)

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