Aubade for mothers in America By Nicole Seah

Aubade for mothers in America

in the aftermath, a boy plays with a toy gun.
a mother houses and feeds the stray
black dogs that come running. large hands that fed
are closed around the neck of a water bottle and spill
its contents on a burning plaza. tapes are wrung
out and hung to dry.

boy unbuckles his holster like a belt tied too tight.
the walls are whiter than the air we breathe.
dark meat against china plate. a flower
soaks itself in its own blood. a mother
houses and feeds the stray black dogs that come running
from the steel plants, weaving through black metal.

a sister kisses boys with the back of her teeth, long hair
bursting through the back of her braid.
in a hotel room somewhere a daughter says a word
like fruit ripped off a tree. somewhere, a mother
relinquishes god and lights candles at her grave.

the coffee cup snaps against the ground like hands
clapping. the black dogs are running. the sky is white.
the passengers brace themselves in the planes.
a boy unbuckles his belt like it is too tight
against his skin. the crunch of knuckles.

the ice cracked a long time ago. the spoon hit against skin
made a loud thump. the rabbit bitten piece by piece by wolf,
a mouth filled with blood. somewhere, a mother cups
her hand around her son’s, gently calls his name when he
wakes up. He sees the city burning, red city. The dogs
search for food in the bones.

By Nicole Seah

Biography:

Nicole Seah is a student residing in Singapore. Her work has been featured in JUNOESQ, Glass Kite Anthology and Eunoia Review amongst others. She is a senior managing editor for a youth magazine, Parallel Ink, and participated in the Adroit summer mentorship program 2016. She won national commended young poet for the National Singapore Poetry Competition with her poem “Stage Fright.”

Machinery By Demi Richardson

Machinery

my sister got her arm eaten up by
a chain link fence and i was
trying to get you on the phone,
trying to call you up,
get you to talk to me, but
no go.

now Bowie is dead and
Rickman is dead and
Prince is dead, and
i keep thinking
my mother’s going to die,
my father’s going to die,
maybe i’m going to die
without ever seeing you
again.

in fact, i’ve been feeling this so much i
had a dream
you were riding shotgun in my car,

i was driving through the night and we
didn’t talk much.

we just
sort of
prayed

together.

but when you did talk
we were sitting on rocks in the
painted desert and
my head was in your lap and

you said,
“this thing is gonna kill you,”
with your hands in my hair you
kissed me and said it
over
and over
again.

By Demi Richardson

Biography:

Demi Richardson studies writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as Editor in Chief of the New Growth Arts Review.  She digs long words, and is an expert at losing all of her Monopoly money.

At the Intersection By Hazel Kight Witham

At the Intersection

the day after Philando, which was the day after Alton

At the intersection of Crenshaw
and MLK Blvds
I am oblivious until
I steer into the left turn lane
and look up to see
the crowded corner
the signs, the shouting.

The car I pilot has no horn,
and so I am mute
when I wish to be blaring
sounding into the horror
of it all.

The woman shouting on the corner
with raised fist
sees me
see her.

I raise my hand,
peace fingers V-ed
trying to say
I see you, I hear you, I’m with you
but I wonder if she thinks
I am saying,
Hush, Relax, Calm Yourself,
and I don’t know,
I just don’t know—
what my raised fist
in response to hers
would mean.

I think maybe she nods
and I lower my arm,
poised at the intersection
of where one struggle
meets another—
Black Lives Mattering
on every side of me
and me,
lost in unnavigable privilege

wondering how to
be a part of something
that scares me
and moves me
and that I feel so far from—

able to roll up the windows,
and when the light turns green for me
as it always does,
roll on through the intersection.

By Hazel Kight Witham

Biography:

I live in Los Angeles with my husband and two young sons. During the school year I am inspired by the stories of young people in the giant public high school where I teach English Language Arts. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and my work has been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, and California English.

 

A Country Doctor By Charles Kell

A Country Doctor

Father lay silent
in the hospital bed,
new slit on his belly

where the hernia started
to wrap around his stomach.
Doctor cut a hole

and blood was pumped
into a small cylinder on
the wall. I walk in holding

a book set to read
but instead just
stare at the wall, think

about the nail he drove
into his hand thirty years
ago. Shocked, wondering

how he could smile. Glass
eyes, mother wrapping a wet
rag around his hand.

Stare at the crack on
the wall. Watch water
drip down the metal door.

I clip his toenails. See a rusty
strip float. Scratch a notch
in the iron bedframe. Close

your eyes and look:
outside rain kills the windowsill.
Inside our cell fills with sand.

By Charles Kell

Biography:

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Climate Change By E Wen Wong

Climate Change

It seems this may be our tomorrow,
a once lively sea of colours, an array of creatures,
burnt down to blackened embers,
charred islands surrounded by parched desert,
hot, arid, uninhabitable.

This is the tomorrow we have created today,
out of selfishness and ignorance,
leaving the problem to fall
to the bottom of our agendas.
It is the flame that we ignited ourselves,
one we left to burn,
darkening the edges of our great green globe,
scorching the hairs on our stubborn legs, still fixed to the ground.

This is the flame that stands
between us and life,
a flame we refuse to extinguish,
merely watching it destroy our land, our people,
everything that has been created for us and by us.

When will we realise what we have done,
what we will cause,
what has become?

When will we stand
with those who’ve already stood,
in an effort to extinguish
this burning flame?

By E Wen Wong

Biography:

E Wen Wong is a 13 year old young poet studying at Burnside High School in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her poetry has featured in several anthologies around the world including Printable Reality (New Zealand), Rattle Poetry (US), Allegro Poetry Magazine (UK) and Meniscus Literary Journal (Australia). She has also been placed in numerous poetry competitions, most notably the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Poetry Contest. As well as poetry, E Wen holds a newly found passion for Diplomacy and International Relations, perceiving poetry and diplomacy as having the ability to introduce new perspectives and work together in ways which are mutually beneficial to their respective fields.

E Wen is responding to an issue that is growing by the day, an issue which we all seem to be ignoring and rendering small. It is the issue of climate change, which is affecting all of us.

About a Lemon Tree By Masfi Khan

About a Lemon Tree

Remember: summer days when we were eight,
the evening sky stretching above our heads
like a rubber band ready to fling pebbles.
You’d swing, legs reaching
the highest branch of the lemon tree,
its fruits as yellow as the noon sun.
You sucked on whole lemons,
skin and juice and seeds, tongue
not coiling away from their bitterness.
Your face glimmered with the sunset’s red
as you laughed at my puckered mouth.

Remember: us, seventeen, leaning against the lemon tree,
then sagging with age.
That summer, your hands turned into moths lusting light
and you forgot how to wear them.
We passed time folding paper into planes.
Every time they flew,
you told me about your longing for someplace
with cotton candy clouds and everything in pastel,
in sweetness. Once you called yourself
the lemon tree: hollow with limbs breaking,
bark peeling to reveal decaying matter.
Droughts hit, and roots can tie you down
for only so long before shrinking.

Remember: your marble eyes memorizing
the lake’s water, still as a gun
and waiting to swallow.
You knew the water would fill up the
space where you’d make a dent,
holding you like a seed in the pit of a fruit.
One jump and a quick explosion.
One jump and you’d never
weave your fingers through mine as I’d tell you
I love you, one sister to another.
One jump and no more need to breathe.

Remember: you, numb and still and blue and wet,
being lifted from the lake like a soldier from a city’s ruins.
I clutched your hand, wishing there was
a pulse to cry to. If you wanted, I would’ve stitched
where your body split open like an ocean
and sewed it with my own skin.
Dusk set in as a flock of birds
cawed for you and left in a chevron flight.
A week later, we chopped the lemon tree.

Imagine: you come back and
plant another.

Biography:

Masfi Khan is a high school student in Queens, New York. She is a current prose reader for Glass Kite Anthology. When not writing, she enjoys baking and admiring nature.

 

Funeral in Summer By Emma Bleker

Funeral in Summer

Back where the peach skin looked new,
inside the mouth of old teeth,
we buried the old bird’s bones.
We made her decorated.
We flew her back home to sleep.
Out where the sing of morning
has no voice to wake us with,
she rests in beds of missing,
her throat gone to empty sky.
We made her loud, un-thought of.
We flew her into the ground.
Buried in sugar, smooth skin,
wrapped around what we made her
into: wings and only wings.
She, shelter for the sorrow.
She, muse of wicked sunshine.
We take her to sleep, this time.
We run our sorrow into
un-hollow sparrow ground, this
time. We want for the stripped sound.
The old bird’s beak stays open.
We still try to fit inside.

By Emma Bleker

Biography:

Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer currently working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published, or is forthcoming in Electric Cereal, Persephone’s Daughters, Skylark Review, Rising Phoenix Press, and Cahoodaloodaling, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.

Trigger Loving Blob By Juliet Cook

Trigger Loving Blob

The Blob scared me when I was a little girl.

I would scream inside my own head
and then mentally hurl The Blob until it broke
through a window and entered the house across the street.

Was it my fault if it grabbed someone there?
Was it my fault for not screaming out loud
to let them know The Blob was coming?

I waited for it to slink its gelatinous slime covered,
menstrual blood colored globular shape
back towards me. I wondered who else was stuck inside

that Blob’s body, silently screaming, but trying
to work their way out with scissors, crayon,
colored pencils and their own words before they melted

into another pointless misshapen warning sign
that resembled a life sized doll injection
mold shrinking smaller and smaller and

The Blob will outweigh our existence unless we agree to dissolve.

By Juliet Cook

(The title of this poem came from Kelle Grace Gaddis and the poem’s content was partly inspired by poetic conversation she and I had about trigger warnings. Thank you kindly to Kelle for her creative inspiration.)

Biography:

Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL LOLLIPOP (Grey Book Press, 2013), RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaboration with Robert Cole called MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), and a collaboration with j/j hastain called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), with two more forthcoming. Cook’s first full-length individual poetry book, “Horrific Confection”, was published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, “Malformed Confetti” is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, “A Red Witch, Every Which Way”, is a collaboration with j/j hastain, published by Hysterical Books in August 2016. Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

SAINT By Cait Potter

SAINT

I am a saint of an unholy city
holding a funeral for ghosts.
I’m standing in the emergency room,
the floor smelling so antiseptic that
it cleaned my wounds for me.

I got ligature marks around my neck,
I got burns across my back, I wish you could’ve
seen me holding my head
when it was still attached.

I know. I know. I know.

Say a prayer for the ghosts that
hover, say a prayer for the gods
that linger, say a prayer for the
teenage martyr, bleeding out
from the holes in their wrists.

I’m a saint of a falling sky,
built upon the rumble and rough-
housing of old gods.  Got a body like
a derelict building meant
for crumbling, meant for crashing.

Meant for crying, meant for leaking
didn’t matter what at the time, nothing
left now but a set of creaky stairs and
a voice that calls your name.

I am a saint of an unholy city, holding
a funeral for ghosts and I’ve got
angels begging, got god on his
knees, got a prophet brain for
a killer’s call, lord knows I ain’t a
saint no more.

By Cait Potter

Biography:

Cait Potter is a queer, mentally ill artist and writer.  The majority of their work focuses around the messiness of mental illness and the workings of trauma.

these are the ghosts but these ghosts are not yours By Mina Gu

these are the ghosts but these ghosts are not yours

I say give me the peaches
found in gardens of spring evenings
so far from the eyes that feed you            so far

we stand on thin branches and have a little less
than more.                                           you’ve seen me
gather the peaches from your white hands while staring
at your feet as you muttered about the limits

of my compassion. still I can’t stop falling into
the draft that blows in from an unfeeling atlantic sea

(how can I be if I’m a brush stroke bundled
in silk robes that were made far from my
grandmother’s fishing village)

(how can my softness flow when I can’t
stop thinking about how you steal ghosts
from their own deaths and make them yours)

(how do I see if I am only ever your vision or else your
vision torn apart, always a violence to the end)

you’ll eat these peaches and forget how to
bring the pits home, where in another lifetime they grew–
all this a shrill call to you from nowhere, and

soon I know you’ll document a mania that pushes urgently
against the stiff curtain that is my voice         until then, return to me
these ghosts, those peaches from the gardens of spring evenings
so far from the eyes that feed you            so far

By Mina Gu

Biography:

Mina Gu is a Han Chinese settler writing from the unceded, occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) peoples. As a poet, reader, and student, she enjoys good questions, daydreams, and wandering with meaning