Your Orthodontist, An Amiable Man By Ann Zhang

Your Orthodontist, An Amiable Man

your orthodontist’s fingers in your mouth
left thumb hooked around a rubber band his hand
might be green you think
he has a name you can’t remember he keeps asking
about your day while splitting angles down pharynx

by now you know when to blink or open wider
when you can’t hold your eyes to his tooth-mirror’s
glow maybe your orthodontist knows
you don’t floss
knows your middle name he sets
the tooth-mirror on your chest like there’s no
finer surface in the whole frozen ballroom

you meet your orthodontist among wildflower
snatches like in the movies
he’s frolicking
stretching out your mother’s favorite slip
maybe his mouth is a trench
where sirens kneel, lapping honey
he’s thinking about a root canal but won’t tell
until you hurt you dream he could have been
some kid’s tooth fairy or father he begins to hum
presses a finger to your lips
you pry them open like magnets
the clicking of teeth
thrum of an x-ray
you count until your gums ache
then bleed

By Ann Zhang

Biography:

Ann Zhang lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her family and 16-pound cat. She writes when she is hungry, which is often.

From Tragedy Comes Change By Alyssa Sammartino

From Tragedy Comes Change

Mom look at the painting i made at school.
Mom, check out these projects. I got all A’s pretty cool!

Hey mom, there’s a kid in my class, i think his light is starting to fade.
I told my teachers but all they say is,
“oh he seems okay.”
Mom I’m kind of afraid. That boy is angry and so full of rage.
I tried to reach out but he said,
“Just go away.”

No one seems to care when he talks about the guns his dad has “for hunting deer”.
I’ve started to just keep my head down; i practice being quiet and not making a sound.

These people didn’t want to hear what i had to say.
But then they all showed up crying at my grave.
They didn’t listen about the little boy blue. The one that took the money his father saved in a shoe.
At just 16, he went to the local gun and trade show, and walked away with enough to make the pain grow.

“Hey mom i lov…” Was all i had time for before i saw my own blood there on the floor.

Why cant they see this is wrong? No other family should sing a funeral song.
But it doesn’t matter as long as congress is being paid by the NRA.
“Who cares about a school shooting, don’t take our guns away!”
The country needs reform.
With worries of guns and being killed it’s no wonder our students can’t perform.

No more will they be weak as they run into every street.
They will march, and rally, and walk out until the politicians acknowledge their every shout.

Please don’t let me have died in vain.
Everything I’ve lost, yet still there’s so much to gain.
Being looked at like they are deranged, all while fighting for their lives and for the laws to be changed.

By Alyssa Sammartino

A poem from Disarm: A Themed issue Responding to Mass Shootings in America

10/4 By Becca Hartman

10/4

i sit in the driveway
i melt into air
i howl at the moon and
hope that someone will hear. nobody taught me the proper way
to sew myself back up after cutting the dead things out.

the brown grass is getting taller–
the highway is almost covered–
it just won’t quit. it won’t leave well
enough alone.

i am cleaning myself raw for you.
i am digging the tweezers into my chest and pulling out crabgrass
for you.
didn’t you mother ever tell you not to play with dead things?
i am trying to make the clean incision but everything keeps pouring out.

please look away – i don’t want you to see.
i have tried very hard to board up the attic but the
termites keep chewing through the wood.

there are little pinpricks of light now – do you see?
in that one: the old rocking chair.
in that one: the mahogany trunk.
in that one: the boy who crawled inside and will not leave.

we don’t know how he got in here.
we are trying very hard to get him out.
in that one: the space between his feet and the wall
the dust forming quiet like snowfall
bonding to his skin.

By Becca Hartman

Biography:

Becca is a college graduate from Buffalo, NY. She is a bookseller and barista due to student debt and volunteers at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House due to love and admiration. Likes include historical nonfiction, French music, and the way the stars look at Joshua Tree. Dislikes include dairy milk and those averse to using turn signals while driving.

A SOMBER NIGHT By Oluwafemi Babasola

A SOMBER NIGHT

From your brittle voices
Sing the elegy of broken dreams
The dirge must begin

Light your torches
Let their glow revive smothered spirits
Let their flames mask
Skunk of rotten bodies
Feasted upon by gloating flies

Light your torches
Our fallen brothers should know no
Darkness on their journey to rest
Light your torches
For brothers whose shroud
Is their own blood

Light your torches
Illuminate the faces of masquerades
Behind veils of ethnicity and religion
Illuminate herders’ rods
Transmuted into riffles
That turn us into corpses

Light your torches
Why would stray eyes
Not see this fire engulf us?

Light your torches
Even if the steam of
Sorrow streaming from our souls
Flirts with the fury in our hands
Combusts into a ball of hell
And raze us into a rubble of ashes

By Oluwafemi Babasola

Biography:

Oluwafemi Babasola employs poetry and his short stories to express his thoughts and beliefs about life, the inequality in the society and emotions of the heart.
Oluwafemi’s poems have appeared on Bravearts Africa, Praxis Magonline, Kreative Diadem, African Writer, Parousia and Nantygreens. He lives in Benin, Nigeria. You can follow him on twitter @babasola10on10.

Practice By Tianna G. Hansen

Practice

mom wasn’t home, she’d left
to pick up my younger sister,
leaving me wide open, vulnerable
in the face of someone who shouldn’t
be a monster,
but was.
a man who should have taken our love
unconditional as it may be
and cherished it instead of taking
advantage – haunting my nightmares
for years after
& that night
he said, here, take this,
handed me a ripe banana, thick and
yellow – practice with it, he’ll
like that –        he meant my boyfriend
at the time, who he had
caught me feeling up on the couch
last Sunday when he came over
for dinner;
our conversation
started off with a weird twist
and a coiling inside my stomach
i don’t think your mother gave you
a good enough               sex talk
and this was months after he would
kiss me on the lips           good-night
something not even my own
flesh & blood father did
something not even my mother
would do, but I didn’t realize then
that it was                     wrong
how would I? all I wanted,
all I sought & yearned was love,
acceptance from a father figure
and I thought that’s what he gave me
but in the end
all I was left holding
was that ripe banana and
my heart,          dripping blood
aching and crying out like a lost child
I guess they always say,
practice makes perfect
but I never did what he suggested
it felt so             crude
and a few years later there was
the divorce which took away his shadow
lingering as it did
over me, a monster that had crawled
out from under the bed
and refused to return          to the darkness
from whence he came.

By Tianna G. Hansen

Biography:

Tianna G. Hansen has spent her whole life writing and intends to continue this with her recent husband by her side and her wonderful cat Stella. She started her own indie lit mag in June, Rhythm & Bones, and has continued expanding with the most recent project an anthology for survivors of sexual abuse to come forward and share their stories. Follow her work at CreativeTianna.com or check out her mag at RhythmNBone.com. She’s also on Twitter @Tiannag92.

Elegy for My Childhood Home By Tyler Gadaire

Elegy for My Childhood Home

I don’t go back expecting a grave; I expect to see lupines – violet, sweet blue –
behind the grass-laced dirt hill. I expect to see the shedding of pine trees

under our homemade swings, odd planks of wood left over from firewood,
tethered with rope. I expect the dusty garage that was never used as a garage;

its walls and floors cluttered with cardboard boxes and scattered tools,
branches and the broken pieces of chalk that my sister and I use to trace

our hands and draw long lines across the floor with, so we can play four-square
when mom worked at the hospital. I want to walk inside and see the small, brick-orange

kitchen with its oak shelves, the white, faux-leather table seats that leaned too far back
to be safe. I want to go past the front-porch door that jammed shut after a break-in

and go upstairs to my room. I want to see the walls – olive green, too sour to be
mint – and lean against the open window that sat next to the stripped mattress

on the floor, so I can smell the potato field behind the house, the odd patch
of birch trees by the rusted-out trampoline and the mix of gas and steel

that plumed from the lawn-mower when it cranked on. I need the smallness
of my closet again, and the cracked Walkman I hid inside of it – wires exposed

from the foam of cheap earbuds – where I can drown everything out,
where I can shrink into and hide when my step-father’s face burns red,

his words searing every wall in the house. I need the thin notebook
covered in comic book stickers and terrible drawings, where I can write

words down like “hate” and “father” and “hurt” and “help”; I want to run
outside when his anger boils over and escape to the front yard, go past

mom’s garden – snapdragons, zinnias, sea-holly and daffodils – and sink
into the lilac bush hugging the tilted telephone-pole. I need the quiet stillness

that seldom breaks in the afternoon, only interrupted in moments
when cars burned their tires veering around the ninety-degree bend in the road

just before the house, or by the clambering of kids who lived in the run-down
trailers across the way, squeezed between the street and a sparse clearing of woods.

I need to be able to stand in the loose-gravel driveway, look up at the house’s
ugly, faded red paint and smile in the shadow of its obscenely tall roof,

a silhouette that stood out against every blazing sunset that snuck over
rows of potatoes in bloom. I want to get out of our Plymouth Oldsmobile

to look at the house for the first time and ask Mom whether this was real.
“It just looks like an abandoned barn,” I tell her as we unpack the car and set light

to our first campfire. I don’t go back expecting a grave,
but all that’s here is ash and soot and the bones we buried.

By Tyler Gadaire

This poem was originally published By Eunoia Review

Biography:

A native of Aroostook County in Maine, Tyler Gadaire is a 23-year-old graduate of the Univ. of Maine Farmington’s Creative Writing and English program. Tyler’s poetry has been published in Z-Publishing’s Emerging Writer Series, Asterism and Eunoia Review. Tyler is currently working on a draft of his first poetry chapbook.

 

Poet Responds to Suicide Note By Tamara Miles

Poet Responds to Suicide Note

I’ve siphoned back into your veins
the scarlet pool from the bathroom
floor, melted the metal of razor blade
to a shape it was better suited for, a tiny cross
or a silver-slippered earring moon,

and from your wrist erased that wish
to end the glittered storybook too soon.

I’ve objected to the silent, sealed-up car,
let the garage door roll its eyes back,
cleared the poison pipe, waked you
from an endless nap, and with the ragged
holy breath put your foot down on the gas –

You’ve driven away from this haunted town
safe with your seatbelt tightly strapped,
and in your hand a hand-drawn map
that points away from side-road trees
you’ll never hit head on.

The plan you made is gone.

I have locked your throat against sad pills.
The bottle in your purse, it spilled,
swallowed up by silent drains
on every shady street this year.

I have reverse engineered
your machinery of sadness with its angry gears.

The lying mirror in your mind un-cracked,
your moody calendar un-blacked, and in
the greedy ground I’ve put my shovel deeply down,
dug around the roots and brought you back.

I’ve put your unread books back on the shelf
for you to read tomorrow, and removed
from your own emerging pages
every single bookmarked sorrow.

By Tamara Miles

Biography:

Tamara Miles teaches college English in South Carolina. Her writing has appeared here and there including in Fall Lines; O’Bheal; Pantheon; Tishman Review; Animal; Obra; RiversEdge; Feminine Collective; Thistle; Riggwelter; ELJ; and Apricity. She is the former administrator of The Curiosity Salon, and host of an audio literary journal called “Where the Most Light Falls,” at SpiritPlantsRadio.com. She was a 2016 contributor at Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a 2017 resident at Rivendell Writers Colony.