Passage The search for lost causes begins with an examination of the clues. A quick two-finger press upon the neck to check for evidence of a pulse. A closer reading of the poetry to determine if the days are as dark as the metaphors. Search parties are assigned to those whose lives have been missing due to traumatic events. Specially assembled for souls who've discarded hope. Sometimes, journals lead the parties directly to the cause. Other times, it takes more than signs of despair written in hidden moleskins to confirm their whereabouts. But the most successful rescuers are always the ones who've found themselves. Those who’ve decided to return in spite of circumstance, on the road to recovery. Every time a search party is canceled, it’s due to death or self-discovery. Retail This store is only open on holidays. The place to go for people who have no place to go. From Columbus Day to Christmas, this business’s only concern is the well-being of its loyal and lonely customers. Devoted women and men void of family or friends to spend the day with. A popular spot to watch the ball drop, counting down to another year un-celebrating with companionless peers. A place where one can gather around the TV and watch fireworks highlight the sky with strangers who also wish upon manufactured stars. The doors remain open until the last person leaves and then stay closed until another painful, circled day on the calendar appears. 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year. Trim The only pleasure in life some men receive is from getting their hair cut. They eagerly wait every six weeks for the twenty-minute marriage of scissors and scalp. To suffer is to sit a month and a half without experiencing the intimacy of trusted hands that have shorn them for years. Their barber’s fingers slide through each strand and help them remember what it's like to feel like a man. The exhilaration stemming from a blade scraping the neck that can evoke goose bumps or death puts hair on the chest. What good is a life without a little excess body hair and blood? And when the cut is complete, the barbers spin the men around so they can see the new and cleaner version of themselves from every angle. They pay with a generous tip and return home to freshly-pedicured wives who never notice the difference. Daniel Romo is the author of When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, The Good Man Project, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives in Long Beach, CA and loves football, but he bleeds Dodger Blue… a lot... More at danielromo.net.