Congenital Defects

by Mitchell Grabois


My Russian cousin will not tell me what’s happening. He wants to keep me in the dark. He fancies himself Dostoyevsky, or the famous magician, Krylov the Fry Pan. He won’t even tell me why they call him that.

He finally got a great girlfriend, really cute, cute as a chipmunk, but he’s thinking of selling her online. He likes the idea of being a Human Trafficker.

Why would you even think of doing something like that, I ask him. He’s a distant cousin, but he’s got my nose, my jaw, my eyes.

He replies: The one who grabs the rat by the tail--he will get the vacuum cleaner.


My son is born with colic and a bad attitude that destroys all babysitters, but worst of all, he has Pupila Duplex, two irises, two corneas, and two retinas on the eyeball of each eye. It’s as if he has four eyes. He’s a freak, but the condition gives him more data than a normal person, and increased focus. As soon as he could talk, he’s telling me what to do.

He tells me: The Chinese emperor Liu Ch’ung had this mutation. The populace fell to their knees in awe and wonder whenever he came within five miles. Sign over your Parenting Card, old man. I’m in charge now.

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.