Rebirth By Rebecca Dutsar

Rebirth

After Theodore Roethke

I have known the mystery of the oncoming spring,
the swept dead leaves from the edges of sidewalks,
remnants of last years chill tangled inside the deadening drifts of winter,
so that if you look hard enough you might mistake it for autumn-
just with greener grass and a sun that grows darker
across your skin each and every day you abandon your desk to work outside,
still finding yourself distracted, head turning at every rustle which could be
either a newborn bunny, or, quite possibly, a murderer in the bushes.
And spring is not just for awakening
or for lovers to realize each other upon a planned picnic by the lake,
rather, a funeral for the springs in the past, lost
in the sound of gunshots we no longer want to hear
each time we close our eyes at the end of the day in winter.

By Rebecca Dutsar

Biography:

Rebecca Dutsar is an enthusiastic 20-year-old from Newtown, CT. She is a junior at Ithaca College where she majors in Writing and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for a campus wide publication, The Mirror Magazine. Aside from writing, she enjoys drinking tea and scrolling through photos of baby animals online. Nothing makes her happier than feeling connected to a writer while reading their work, and it her goal to give others the same feeling as they read her own poetry and short fiction.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpoon ReviewThat Lit SiteSouvenir LitUnbroken Journal, and After the Pause. You can find her on twitter @beccsdutsar.

for some Americans passing By Dana Rushin

for some Americans passing

Before I get too comfortable on your couch,
pull my Bostonian’s off, slide
my feet, still twisting in those brown
dress socks , over the Saxony rug
your mother washed with Tide,
the spot your dad would sit eating his
dinner and rooting for the Pirates

and if you could unearth the origin of everything;
shadows, the refusal to accept as true
that all our dad’s have gone on now,
yours being the last to go
but needed two live in nurses,
to get his story out perhaps. To
document the stuff younger minds quickly
forget.

Then we got the call, and it’s always a call,
not a flyover drone or a Mitsubishi A6m Zero
(where you could see the pilots goggles)
in that battle of the eastern Solomon’s in 42.
Or a glistening sign on the side of a goat
announcing your passing.

Or any  Greek goat, naked but unharmed,
walking thru that order of peonies
then turning to suckle the baby Zeus
as Amaltheia did, nursing him with milk
in a cave on Mount Ida. And like all
the nurses I’ve known, forever

placed among the stars.

By Dana Rushin

Biography:

Dana Rushin
African American Poet,
living in Detroit.
Wayne State University student….current.
unmarried. still looking.

I DIDN’T SPEAK AT THE FUNERAL By Ashe Vernon

I DIDN’T SPEAK AT THE FUNERAL

My father was a Man of God.
My father was a liberal,
pot smoking hippie who cursed like a sailor
and knew two dozen ways to kill a man
with his bare hands—my father was a pastor.
And he had a white-knuckled grip on faith that
I do not fully understand, but
he preached gospel like
him and Jesus were old buddies who
snuck out and went drinking together—
the bail-each-other-out-of-jail kind of friends.
He held hands and broke bread;
he had a way of making a
congregation feel like a family.
He believed in heaven
more surely than I have
ever believed in anything.
My father was just a man.
He had a lot of rage in him.
And when the pills stacked higher
than the pages of a hymnal, he
went looking for god with a spade
and a shovel, he
dug the gospel out of me. Tell me,
what do you call a washed up preacher
too sick and feeble to do the lord’s bidding?
Well. I don’t know what you’d call him, but
I called him Dad.
He had a lot of names for me and
one of them was Ungrateful but
it was hard to be thankful for
the shaking shadow of all the things
my father used to be. See,
my father was a sickness
in a suit of skin. Some days, he
was more pain than person and
he made sure we all knew about it.
I did not grow up in a quiet home.
There was no room for heaven at
the kitchen table, we
had to save a seat for
Pain and one for Loss and
two for all his medications.
They say absence makes the heart
grow fonder and
my relationship with my father
made a lot more sense
after I lost him.
Death makes a space for forgiveness.
There’s lots of space in my parent’s house
without him.
I was never on first name basis with
my dad’s idea of god, but for all that
hurting he held in his hands,
my father was a good man.
Even if he was hard to live with.
And he was hard to live with. Dad,
I am still learning how to forgive you.
I’m getting better at it. But you
were an angry, stubborn son-of-a-bitch and
I guess that runs in the family. And sometimes
it’s fucking infuriating to take after someone
you want to be mad at but
I am my father’s daughter. And
I always have been.
And, if your god is up there, then
I hope he’s playing old blues,
smoking Marlboro reds—
telling dirty jokes and singing
hand-me-down gospel with you.

By Ashe Vernon

Biography:

Ashe Vernon is a produced playwright, an actor, and a poet. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, but found poetry when she most needed it. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in theatre and gender studies. Before she hits the job market with her oh-so-impressive fine arts degree, Ashe is spending the summer on tour doing spoken word with her best friend and partner in crime. Her first book of poetry, Belly of the Beast, was published by Words Dance Publishing and her second, Wrong Side of a Fist Fight, will be coming out through Where Are You Press, this July. She spends most of her time writing her way out of dark places, and looking to the stars. Ashe has featured in venues across Texas, such as The Standpipe Coffee House in Lufkin, Nacogdoches Literary Readings, and Love Jonz Spoken Jazz, in Duncanville. She has placed first at WriteAboutNow in Houston and her work has been published in Word Dance Magazine, and volumes one and two of the Literary Sexts anthologies. Ashe has no concept of the term “inside-voice” and spends every waking hour with her giant bear-cub of a cat. She plans on moving to a big city and covering herself with tattoos. It’s going pretty well, so far.

Almighty By Meggie Royer

Almighty

All day the men speak of the best way
to put a horse out of its misery.
Where to place the bullet,
how to fold the legs beneath the belly
& carry it to the river.
It was a tearing of the mare’s insides
as they stretched to let the colt through,
everything hole & wound,
open & red, so thick it stilled the tide pools.
The whole time
they come up with new ways to end it
I cannot help but think
of my mother.

By Meggie Royer

Biography:

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance MagazineThe Harpoon ReviewMelancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.

Lora Bishop Was Once a Girl By Kailey Tedesco

Lora Bishop Was Once a Girl

Before vines bound the windows,
intrigued voyeurs saw, every
night, Ms. Bishop, sagged and grey
as a Havisham cake, watching
television in the bathtub.

Must have been a hundred years ago-
Lora Bishop: Miss Wichita
Queen at sixteen. She could conjure

a man twice her age
with a flip of blond hair,
but found she couldn’t
speak, and plunged into

her claw-foot sea. Now
she reads the twelve-inch
screen like some read tea,
sipping away the cream
of nine-o-clock

news and swirling the
static in her cup. The
neighborhood boys swore
she knew

death would come, when,
one cold night, she disrobed
to take her bath, and with
a final wink before the window,

sunk beneath the water.

By Kailey Tedesco

Biography:

Kailey Tedesco is currently earning her MFA in poetry at Arcadia University. She is a former resident poet and current poetry editor for Lehigh Valley Vanguard. She also edits for Marathon Literary Review. Her work focuses on perceptions of femininity, often in a surrealistic manner. Many of her poems are inspired by confessional or Gurlesque poetics paired with her own experiences in cemeteries and abandoned amusement parks. You can find her poems featured in such publications asFLAPPERHOUSE and Jersey Devil Press. For more about Kailey Tedesco, please follow her on Twitter: @kaileytedesco.

L.I By Dana Rushin

L.I

during lethal injection you begin to snore loudly.
Then the snores become progressively quiet.
Through the witness window a survivor of the fallen
tries to catch a final glimpse of you lip-syncing words
of forgiveness but pride won’t allow the satisfaction

you could easily be describing what the Gulls do
in August over Lake Michigan. Catching insects
in the air. Nesting in the Hawthorns on the banks
during mating season

because being put to death is like writing your
name in Pepsi or Epson salt where each
indelible syllable rests, then wanders off. Each
sandy beach for the condemned, another dark
pillar of eternal faith.

Last evening, in my armada of joy,
I rode the wind like a warm prostitute
rides the passenger seat of the 02 Grand Caravan.
Shuffling the sliding doors then kicking off
a heel on a clean floor mat. Assuming
that restful, heavenly position.

By Dana Rushin

Biography:

Dana Rushin
African American Poet,
living in Detroit.
Wayne State University student….current.
unmarried. still looking.

pocket dialing through air raids By Thira Mohamad

pocket dialing through air raids

slow evening / carpet bombing / dust
mite colonies scatter / mud bodies below

head on tails / on tales of aladdin
thief of fate / no djinns & magic lamp

one flying carpet overturned / soil shake
kosher salt / peppering souks / special soup

seasoning / orphan blood & jasmine tears
telephone wires / partition & pillage calling

lost lovers / wrong numbers
butt dial / ass cheeks spread

like rye bread / whole wheat
burnt fields / lamb to the slaughter

for dinner later / rib shank & breast
no different from the rest / compiled collateral

pile / unsent messages & power trip / error
screen not loading / image censored

pixel grain / habibi of no name face
by the byline / vanishing without a trace

By Thira Mohamad

Biography:

Thira Mohamad is a writer in perpetual progress based in Toronto, by way of South China Sea. A storyteller of South/East Asian origins, her poetic roots can be traced back through her maternal line. She utilizes art and its boundless dimensions to navigate the nuances of her identity. A failed archaeologist, she is currently crawling through university to finish her undergraduate degree. Thira regularly participates in poetry readings within Toronto’s diasporic community. Some of her writings can be found on her personal blog bayuandbooks.wordpress.com