New Romance

Carrying your own rebellion of Lepidus, Brutus,
you have seethed and broken teeth over Claudia, so I shall be your Porcia.
I’ll not swallow fire for any man –
nor poison my lungs with foul air, nor with any lingering malignancy.

I’ll not trap myself in the purgatory of suicide for any price or want or hurt.
Instead, I will line my stomach with gold and carefully sew my lungs with precious stones
so that you may see me on your return from battle.

voyage to death; death to voyage.

Wrapping my legs around your torso like Medusa’s hair and
turning you to stone so that you may never cross a passage without me,
I compound the fluid I have collected into ichor so that we may live forever
as stone and wood and silver and gold.

nectar of a hero; heroes’ nectar.

* * * * *

Carly-Jay Metcalfe is a Brisbane-based writer of poetry, fiction, memoir and biography. More of her writing can be found This is her first contribution to Snake-Oil Cure.

Hurley Pulp: Vetyver


astard with the tricksy eyes was in the apple tree again. “Psst! Deirdre!” How did he know my name, this Seamus. Like I knew his. Rumour and gossip in Clonakilty. He’d watched me prepare the khus grass delivered by Guriben Singh. The dark sweet earth fragrance rose around me. How could this boy talk so much? He was studying how compounds from roots could be leached into oil. He dropped to the ground. I put some on my tongue to check the quality. “Can I taste it?” He put a pinch of root quickly in his pocket. He leaned forward.


Hurley Pulp: Emerald Eyes


e reminded me of Freud, with his beard and glasses. I had never seen eyes like his.

Nobody in the city had emerald eyes.

He had come to Calcutta to consult with my husband, Dr. Dibyendu Sur, about the
medicinal properties of neem.

I didn’t see much of Dr. Hurley. Often, he would work late into the night at the temporary
lab he had set up.

I became pregnant shortly after he left India. My husband was overjoyed and bought me
an expensive Benarasi silk sari.

It was a boy. He had his father’s looks. Dark hair. And, emerald eyes.

Sanchari Sur

Hurley Pulp: A Cure for What Ails Her


ow can I help?” Dr. Hurley had only glanced up at her before returning to the small burner by the window. The air was pungent – rosemary, vinegar, something warm – star anise?

She gazed at him, wondering why she had come, what this quickening in her heart – and elsewhere – meant.

“Miss? Are you all right?” She began to sweat.

“Yes… I… no, I don’t know…” She swayed and fainted.

When she awoke she was in his arms and the vapor had dissipated. Yet, her heart still pounded.

“Excellent – my Potionem Amoris works,” he whispered.


She with the Jalebi Lights


nd the evening sky,
It’s indigo blue,
With a fading pearl white
And its gentle girdle of light
Reminds me of you
And I think of calling
To tell you to take a picture…

A night so simple……it knows
We will come to ache for it
In the years to come.

* * * * *

Urvashi Bahuguna studies English Literature at St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi. She contributes regularly to Helter Skelter Magazine and her work has been published in Kritya and an anthology with Hachette. Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Valentine’s Day Potpourri: St. Valentine’s Day

I drag him to La Vie en Rose.
talk to him about it on the phone,
you can pick your Valentine.
I am purring.
We park the car,
kids at home,
freezing night,
our breath like steam.
I clutch his arm
and we stamp across the lot
in frigid wind.
I say,
choose anything.
as we approach the door
he points to a window poster,
a young and lovely
model clad in lingerie extraordinaire
and says, miserably,
can you look like her?
Christmas Day (following year)

No gift at all.

He asks me,
what went wrong?

I wonder,
what took me so fucking long?


For years, in our store, I was astounded by how many Valentines we sold. Cards and gifts for children and friends! I can say with certainty I never received a Valentine from any of my relatives.

For a laugh one year I sent all my girlfriends risqué cards signed, “from your secret admirer”. And I always gave my own children Valentines: chocolates and cards. I helped them write Valentines for each child in their class. When they came home from school I went through their decorated paper bags and asked them about the cards they received.

If anyone knew me, they would know this, of all days, Valentine’s is the day to tell me you love me.

When we were reconciling, years ago, Mark told me our sex life would have to improve. I was excited. I could change. Iknew it – inside I was a passionate and insatiable creature. I loved to be loved!

But our sex life didn’t transform, and Mark hung onto some ideal in his head. After all those years he didn’t even know me.

Fletcher and I meanwhile are cumming online. He types words which send me, and I type words that make him stagger. We are so hot for each other my mouse almost melts.

I want to keep this passion, this shared secret, this delight and fun. Sometimes I put my head down on my desk and laugh.

This life I am living is extraordinary: looking back into my despair, looking forward into the expanse, breathing into the agitation of the present.

Excerpt from Chatterbox, by Sandy Day

Valentine’s Day Potpourri: Monsoon Terza Rima

This year, something in the smell of rain
brings to mind the nature of the light
without which you marauded that terrain,

each breath of yours an impulse of cordite,
your voice a chord that would not echo.
Though I catch myself still listening, tonight,

as though you might yet enter this tableau,
a raindrop palpitating the calm of still water.
I ache with memory blunt as an arrow.

Come without your weapons of slaughter.
The rock of my heart, igneous with pain,
softens to clay, calls for its poet, its potter.

And if it be your will to come here again,
return in deluge, submerge this floodplain.

Sharanya Manivannan

Valentine’s Day Potpourri: Winter

Our love in degrees
A chilled December affair
Falling with the years

Michael K. Gause