Betrayal of Husbands By zuyi zhao

Betrayal of Husbands

Medea walks home alone
for the nth time
on a Sunday afternoon,
& this time her lipstick
is two shades redder
than it usually is.

/

& Hera is up in Olympus
spilling champagne
on the tiled floor
because she can,
& it has nothing to do
with Medea.

/

& Medea walks home alone
in the wine / rain,
forgoing her umbrella
to wash away
her iron
perfume.

/

& Hera keeps spilling
the champagne, &
only Zeus doesn’t know
she’s doing it on purpose,
& Medea has everything
to do with this, & Hera is having
the time of her life,
& Aphrodite is laughing
her ugly little laugh
where she covers her mouth,
& the girls of Olympus
laugh and spill
champagne:
hating.

/

& Medea walks home alone
in the rain
& her makeup decides its time
to give up on her
her mascara turns
to Styx-River tears,
rolling down
rouged cheeks and red lips
as best as they can.
Media hasn’t cried since
she walked home alone
For the first time;
Medea hasn’t done
anything since; Medea
hasn’t know
anything since but religion
I mean
Revenge

/

& Zeus is up in Olympus
screaming at Hera,
& Hera is screaming back
& Aphrodite is
getting out of there
& still laughing

& Hera tells it
to Zeus straight:
You disgusting, wanton pig!
& Zeus laughs in her face
because he knows
she is no better than he is
& he slaps her across the face
& he orders her
to get out of his sight
& she listens

 

/

& Medea never bothered
to tell it to Jason straight.

/

& Zeus does whatever
he wants to, & Hera
does whatever
she needs to, & Medea
does whatever
she has to.

/

& Medea takes her knife
to her own children
& makes new lipstick.
& Medea ruins Jason’s life
& gets away with it
because that’s what he deserves,
& Hera is up in Olympus
shrieking now because
how come
she is the only one who can’t have
love or love
or resolution.

By zuyi zhao

Biography:

zuyi zhao is a 17 year old who lives in south florida, where she occasionally complains about the humidity. she has a tendency to wax poetic and often looks to mythology for inspiration. when she isn’t writing poetry, she can be found doing calculus problems. her work has been recognized by the scholastic art and writing awards, and appears in firefly.

Desert By Caitlyn Siehl

DESERT

Cora kissed the mouth
of the desert because I asked her to.

The latest sandstorm carved
a back out of a rock, a tongue
out of a tree.
She put her lips on
that place
and came away
unchanged but begging
for water.

There was no rain that could
promise anything.
I couldn’t
promise anything.

She asked:
If you could just
take the drought out of my throat
so that the river can be a river once
more.
I don’t want it to flood
I just don’t ever want to be
thirsty like that again.

By Caitlyn Siehl

Biography:

Caitlyn Siehl is a poet from New Jersey. She is currently in the final semester of her two year graduate program, and is expected to graduate with her Masters in May, 2017. She has published two books of poetry, entitled “What We Buried” and “Crybaby,” and has co-edited two poetry collections entitled Literary Sexts Volume 1 and Literary Sexts Volume II, all through Words Dance Publishing. She enjoys spicy Jalapeno chips and being surrounded by dogs at all times.

REPORT OF INJURY By Yena Sharma Purmasir

REPORT OF INJURY

What do you want to do with the leg,
asked the doctor to my mother. She says it was
the same day John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crashed.

There is no version of this for me. If I tell my story,
it sounds like her story. If I tell another story, it sounds
cruel, callous.

I am not cruel.
When my boyfriend told me
he was gay, I thanked him. He told me
this was evidence of my kindness,
which if it is, it isn’t.

The evidence of my father’s amputation
was the leg, that the doctor didn’t want.
That my mother didn’t want. That my father,
well, it was his leg. If he had it his way,
it would still be his leg.

If the doctor had asked my father,
he would have made a joke. If it was me,
I would have made a joke.

After we broke up,
I told someone that no one could ever say
I was homophobic.
I loved a gay man, I said.

The leg was burned, incinerated. For Hindus,
cremated. Except it happened without God.

I used to think it was the fire, but actually God is the most important part.

I used to think it was the sex, but actually who you love
is the most important part.

This is a good story. I almost cried at the thought of us
having sex and now I never have to.
Now I never have to.

Once he came out, I came out. I just needed the vocabulary,
to name a no-nothing. To say I’m asexual and
it’s not the absence of love,
or the absence of anything.

I’m real and right here.

It wasn’t the absence of the leg. It was real and right there.
It’s what we had to do with it. How it had to burn,
like a prophecy. Because my father died,
just like John F. Kennedy Jr. died,

except without the fanfare. No wreckage
or headlines. Did a doctor ask my mother
about the body? Miss, what do you want to do with the body?
Of course not. Everyone knows what to do with the body.

I never knew what to do with a body, which should have been
a sign of selfishness, or a sign of trauma.
It used to feel like a sign of hatred.
But I never hated any of them.
I loved them and I wanted them to get as close as possible.

We got as close as possible.

My father’s knee was as close as possible
to the stump, which if you know anything about
amputation, it’s a good thing. It meant he could walk
from the knee, which is how most of us walk.
It meant that if he was relearning,
it would be the kind of learning he already knew.

In the weeks after the breakup, I wanted to find information
for people like me, who thought that life was going one way
until it wasn’t. Lost people. Sad people. People learning
a new language.

Do you know what the big difference is
between romance and friendship?
When other people pulled away, I felt it in me,
like a bone snapping.

This time, there was no snapping. One day,
I woke up to this unbelievable shift.
My body doesn’t do certain things anymore. My body
barely remembers.

We were always friends. We are still friends.
I have all my knees.

I know, I’m shameful for telling this story,
in my mother’s story. I can’t keep well enough alone.
God, what do you want to do with the leg?
What do I want to do with the leg? I used to rub that leg.

I remember faded brown scars on the shin, by the ankle.
I used to think I was helping.

What do you want to do with the leg?

It just feels like a waste — all that time, all that love.
Don’t you wish you could keep it? Don’t you wish
you could keep the best part?

By Yena Sharma Purmasir

Biography:

Yena Sharma Purmasir is a poet author from New York City. She was the Queens Teen Poet Laureate for the 2010-2011 academic year. Her first book of poetry, Until I Learned What It Meant, was published by Where Are You Press in 2013. When I’m Not There, her second book of poetry, was published in 2016. Purmasir graduated from Swarthmore College in 2014 with a major in Psychology and minors in English Literature and Religion Studies. She was awarded the Chuck James Literary Prize from Swarthmore College’s Black Cultural Center. She believes in the power of hard work, second chances, and, above all, love.

Minding the Gap By Devon Balwit

Minding the Gap

We went to the same private schools, each year the cost of college,
yet sharing a classroom isn’t the same as sharing a class, stepping
off mass transit and walking half a block to the door not the same
as parking a sweet sixteen cherry red convertible, smashing it and
driving the identical one a day later, the burp of Tupperware not
the polite cough of a personal assistant sent to deliver the sushi you
ordered, the four day vacations at grandma’s beach house we thought
so spiffy not quite surfing in Rica or hanging in Biarritz, our brand
name clothing lifted from the school lost and found.  And then, when
the universities that accepted us covered “all but” thirty-thousand
a year, doors that opened for you slammed for us, the bottom line
being we can share a page in your yearbook, but we won’t work
together, won’t live in similar houses, won’t summer on the same
shore, won’t wear the same brands, eat the same food, drop the same
names.  What we studied wasn’t as important as what we knew
without being taught—that who we will become was decided before
we ever opened a book.   From our first wail, some of us were given
more space and cleaner air, flew more miles, left a bigger footprint.
Some of us would stumble, but never be allowed to hit the ground.
This is what I learned at our alma mater.  This is what I still know.

By Devon Balwit

Biography:

Devon Balwit is a poet, parent, and educator from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has found many homes, among them: 13 Myna Birds, drylandlit, Dying Dahlia Review, Emerge Literary Journal, MAW, Rat’s Ass Review, Rattle, The Basil O’Flaherty, The Fem, The NewVerse News, Vanilla Sex Magazine, and Wicked Banshee Press.

DISTANCE By Karese Burrows

DISTANCE

is the way your absence
makes my bone marrow gnaw.

Like the fault line widening
in my back, the way it splits

to remind me that we are still
separate things.

Space is difficult. How about
a room that spends 5 years trying

to empty itself. Dust in your eyes.
Your hands opening everything

like fresh wounds. Distance. The
way we act like it never happened.

Like your savings on a ticket.
A plane ride to Chicago.

Your hands on a body.
Your hands on her body.

By Karese Burrows

Biography:

Karese Burrows is a 23 year old poet and graphic designer from The Bahamas. She’s had works published by Words Dance Publishing, Rising Phoenix Review and was published in the inaugural issue of Penstrike Journal. She has upcoming publications in Issue 2 of L’Éphémère Review. You can visit her tumblr at fluerishing.tumblr.com.

EMILY AS THE MORNING LIGHT SIDES WITH HER By Darren C. Demaree

EMILY AS THE MORNING LIGHT SIDES WITH HER

There was one Ohio
day that didn’t begin
until nearly ten

because Emily didn’t
want the always-love
to begin without her.

By Darren C. Demaree

Biography:

I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly” (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Digital detox By Victoria Briggs

Digital detox

I want to switch off for a while
live in a cave
make wall art
build fires
wear pelts.
Lose the leads, the logins
the leg irons.
Connect instead to older friends
the stars
the birds
the fuzz-striped bees
the moonlight pull
on restless tides.
Ancient messengers
with patient voices
who whisper without words
of something
that’s been lost.

By Victoria Briggs

Biography:

Victoria Briggs is a writer with recent work published in Litro, Structo, The Honest Ulsterman, The Offing, Short Fiction, Prole and Unthology. She once won the Asham Award for women writers and has previously been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in London and tweets @vicbriggs.