Kite-Flying By Reina Adriano

Kite-Flying

As we step into the field, know what the elders will tell us:
one will have to outlast the many. We are at the point

of acceptance. Here, nobody says I’m sorry, forgive me.
I think of a battlefield that never was. Green grass continues

to thrive for dewdrops. Weeds covet soil. Shoe prints mark scars
on the ground. Above us: sun-stained sky that deceives

our eyes. Blinded, we all go for recognition. We can only try too hard
or not at all. See the crisscross markings on our skin, thread looped

twice or thrice around our fingers. This point of placement sits still –
there is no suspense, no action. The memory of building what will be destroyed

eventually fades. The instructions leer at us: do not add weight
on the body; put tails for balance, instead. Upon release, neither run

nor saunter. Walk. What does not succumb to threat must follow
in the absence of force. As such, we know war even though

we have never seen it. An airplane passes by but no one else seems
to notice. The truth: we cannot go any higher when strings hold us down.

Now pull to show tension. We always, always want to win.

By Reina Adriano

Biography:

Reina Adriano is an incoming senior studying BS/M Applied Mathematics major in Mathematical Finance and double majoring in BFA Creative Writing at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
She was a fellow for the essay in the 20th Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop.
Her works have been published in the previous issues of Heights and Plural Prose Journal.
She is, as always, thankful.

Mary had a Little Lamb By Kailey Tedesco

Mary had a Little Lamb

Humpty Dumpty promised
the pull-out method was fool-
proof that day they rode the
waves of a rolling field.

He jumped when she told him.
Shell and yoke rotting over
the sidewalk beneath their
studio apartment window.

She refused to look down
for nine months, wore a too-
tight blouse to the pawn shop
where she sold her mother’s ring.

Miss Muffet heard Mary
pleading through the walls –
Take a bottle. I need
to go to school.

What a shame, says Miss Muffet
eating her curds and wey, little
lamb doesn’t stand a chance
with a mother like that.

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 as FLAPPERHOUSE and Jersey Devil Press. For more about Kailey Tedesco, please follow her on Twitter: @kaileytedesco.

A Dull Knife By Marie Anzelone

A Dull Knife

I am profoundly sad today.

   Shadows grew longer, overnight

and the odor of autumn

  can be discerned in the final

glowing embers of summer’s inferno.

  The house, it seems

already smells of winter-

   stale rooms and stagnant air

heavy with pernicious glances

   as we stalk each other like cats

through spaces inhabited

       by dreams of commonality,

now worn common by familiarity.

And I cry, seemingly, for all things today.

   The grief of unwed turtles

preparing for hibernation, I own.

   Plus the tears of plovers

 adding salt to the ocean, as the birds

   set their gaze on eroding shorelines

south.

Chief Joseph said, “My heart is sick and sad”

   and I know what he meant.

Each measured breath only reminds me

       I am closer to my last.

  I ponder old people lost in their minds

         and children with no futures;

and I think my nation has decided, we no longer

  will stand to be counted.

 I think…

     …maybe it is more than one summer

that is dying.

I have been told,

    some tears are prayers.

But I no longer feel the presence

of anything but my own thoughts

    in mine.

How does one return to the sacred?

I long to split this skin open

      with my own hand,

to escape its smothering confines

    to become larger than my limitation

more than my Self

      Live three times at once,

blaze my comet across this world’s sky.

    I would catalog dreams in ounces

if I thought the process had merit;

 but this knife appears too dull for cutting-

       my words are too short

to reach an audience,

       and they die lonely deaths each day;

like this summer coming to close.

I can see this desire’s demise

    in each crumbling road repaired

a little less each year,

    and in every wise elderly matron

      left by neighbors

to wither away in the loneliness

   of the obsolete,

  her pleas for a single listener

patted away by gentle but firm hands

   “there there- just drink your tea,

           we’ll come back tomorrow.”

And when I am honest

   while counting heartbeats,

in the still terror of the night

     the decayed sickly sweet

      smell of uselessness

is the scent on the winter breeze,

            and it scares me

     into sadness.

By Marie Anzelone

Biography:

Marie Anzalone currently splits her time between residences in New England and upstate NY in the United States and Guatemala in Central America. Originally from Appalachian Pennsylvania, she spent her early years studying ecology and nature first-hand in the woods around her home. She is an artist, scientist, writer, economics master’s degree candidate, avid outdoorswoman and start-up director of an international development non-profit organization. She has been published in human rights journals, scientific journals, and poetry anthologies. She writes fiction and non-fiction in both English and Spanish. She attempts in her writing to bridge the gap between real world influence and the individual’s inner journey to find spirit and meaning. Anzalone released two collections of poetry in 2014. Her debut collection is called A Pilgrimage in Epistles:: Poems as Letters and Observations. Her sophomore offering is titled Peregrinating North-South Compass Points: Poems in English and Spanish.

The Mystery of Faith and Cold Fronts By W.K Kortas

The Mystery of Faith and Cold Fronts

It had missed them, of course;
He’d watched the radar on the laptop
The economics guru from the Ag Extension
Claimed was indispensable to the modern farmer
(After all, the specialist said, farmers were accountants and entrepreneurs,
Not to mention environmentalists and global marketers;
Looking over his brown, burnt lawn and the dusty path to his silos,
He’d grunted Mebbe I need to be a medicine man or magician.)
Oh, there had been some rain, here and there;
Milt Stone’s place over by East Groveland had seen a three-minute shower,
And a cousin who lived out toward Watkins Glen
Said the vineyards on Seneca Lake enjoyed a nice little soak,
But neither his place nor anyone else ten miles in any direction saw so much as a drop,
As had been the case for several weeks, despite any number of late afternoons
When great portentous banks of clouds,
Looking for all the world like so many black-robed judges,
Inscrutably ancient and hunched over, piled up on the horizon,
Dry lightning dotting and dashing in some obscure and enigmatic cipher,
And one sleepless evening he’d been watching the TV news out of Buffalo
When the anchor asked, professionally breezy and unconcerned,
So, Ted, is this the night we’ll have some actual rain in the forecast?
But the weatherman’s face was all grimness
(He’d been brought up on a farm out towards Castile,
And knew full well how folks’ guts were all twisted up
By the struggle between hopefulness and frustration)
And he simply shrugged and spread his arms wide, palms up,
Like some disappointed Magi who had no gift to offer.

He had, as he did every Sunday, stopped to pass some time with neighbors
After services at the Presbyterian Church in Avon
(The current occupant of the pulpit a thin, pinch-faced young man
Whose reedy voice contained an edgy, wheedling tone
Which gave the impression that he was not wholly convinced of God’s grace.)
They discussed important matters: who’d gotten how many notices from the bank,
How things compared to the great dry of sixty-four,
When they’d lost the corn and soybeans all together,
And how a good half-dozen farmers, convinced they’d been forsaken,
Had shot themselves in their haylofts or corn cribs,
And everyone agreed that the weather would break soon,
Though whether that was because they’d earned it or simple mathematical probability
Was a matter of considerable debate.

By W.K Kortas

Biograophy:

W.k. kortas is an itinerant civil servant living in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains.  He lives and works by the axiom “Mediocre means better than some.”

One in Six (A Drag King Slam Poem) By Stacy McKeigue

One in Six (A Drag King Slam Poem)

“Hey, baby,” as you slide into my space
like it’s your goddamn place,
like it’s a party and you got an invite.
‘Cause I’m the only chick in site
in this empty convenience store.
I must look so damn fine
in my capris and post-biking shine,
looking for the eggs
while you try to get to mine.

Why don’t you point your erection
in another direction
‘cause it’s a line I just won’t bite,
or suck, or blow.
You see this isn’t a show.
I’m not up on display
with the soda pop and bubble gum.
I didn’t come here to get laid.

When I go to the bar,
I won’t get in your car.
I can do fine on my own.
I don’t need a ride home;
I came here to drink
and let loose and dance,
so please, keep it in your pants.
Stick it between your legs
if you have to
‘cause tonight I’m not sleeping with you.

And walking down the street?
Now, aren’t you sweet—
whistling at my ass
while I’m just trying to pass?
Have you never seen a girl before?
No, Ill get the door.

Because “one in six”
say the current statistics
about women and sexual attack.
Do I have to watch my back
everywhere I go?
Put on drag
just to make your member sag?
Always dress in suit and tie,
learn to act like a guy
so you’ll leave me alone?

I’m not an object you can bone.
It’s called consent, and you’ll need it.
If you don’t have it, then beat it.
Because I’m so sick, dude,
of your misogynistic attitude.
You’re a flesh-hungry vulture
in this fucking rape culture.

I’m not asking for it in a pencil skirt
or if I’m wearing a ratty old shirt.
I don’t want it if my hair’s a mess
or if I’m in a form-fitting dress.

And in case you still think I’m just a sex toy,
no, I don’t even want it dressed as a boy.

Stacy McKeigue

Biography:

Stacy McKeigue is a junior digital media major/creative writing minor at Valparaiso University. She enjoys taking walks through wooded areas and has a fondness for ferrets and lab rats. She believes that every experience is fodder for writing. Stacy thinks there’s something to be said about the contribution procrastination makes to the creative process…but that can wait. While she typically works in fixed forms, Stacy’s recently taken to experimenting with slam poetry. This piece was especially written for her first drag show, in which she performed as a king under the name Toby Scott. Stacy’s greatest ambitions are to make a lasting impact on readers, to be a well-known name in the literary world, and to spend a few years living in England someday. Her poetry and short stories have previously appeared in The Lighter, her university’s fine arts magazine. If you like what you’ve read, you can find more of her work in online versions of The Lighter or on her Tumblr blog, Have Quill, Will Write. Thanks for reading and supporting the arts and social justice!