Jylian Gustlin

                             Jylian Gustlin

Elizabeth knapp

my past life as a rock star


In truth, it wasn’t all that exciting. Most days, I just sat around with my goldfish, who were all dead, and my platinum records, which were pinned to the walls and not going anywhere anyway. I wrote new songs and played them before live audiences of termites, licked all my spoons and lined them back up in the drawer. Every Thursday, I had Chinese takeout and a vodka gimlet. Cracked open my fortune and nailed it to the door.

my past life as a card shark


Having hit the karmic jackpot, I made my living counting cards at the tables in Vegas, cleaned out there and moved on to Reno, where I was last seen sporting a seersucker suit and a terminal case of disjunctivitis. Just to recall it hurts like hell. I hung on as best I could, while the wait staff in the hotel bar glided by like three-alarm sirens, balancing trays of martini glasses laced with potassium cyanide. “It’s the last day of the world,” they chided. “You just going to stand there looking glum?”


Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in AGNI Online, Best New Poets, The Journal, Mid-American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and River Styx, among others. The recipient of awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, Literal Latté, and Iron Horse Literary Review, she is currently Associate Professor of English at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, where she lives with her family.