bottleneck By Mariel Fechik

bottleneck

i start by liquefying myself / the length of me draining down a green /
bottleneck, cold and sea-colored / i purchased it for 75 cents in a thrift
store / seven miles south of brown county, indiana / where my mother
had a premonition / about how i would become a pool at the bottom /
of someone’s driveway / and this is where i finish / the bottle rolling itself
down the street / looking for somebody else to contain

By Mariel Fechik

Biography:

Mariel Fechik is a 22 year old Chicagoan with a bachelor’s degree she isn’t using very well. She sings in a band called Church Booty and writes poetry that she gives up on and then comes back to in the end. Her work has been published in The Black Napkin, Phosphene Literary Journal, The Stardust Gazette, and Montage Arts Journal.

Three – A Tableau By Vijaya Sundaram

Three – A Tableau

Child on his side, heaving,
Dust, and chaos, an acrid chemical.
Within, all goes silent, but
Pain roars through him like
An express train.
Like a fish on the sand,
His body heaves, he tries to speak
Struggles to breathe,
Bewildered by the attack.
His lungs fill with foam,
Like a sea surging inward.
Ami, Abi! Ami, Abi!

Man races through suffocating air
Searching for his wife, his children,
And stumbles upon their bodies,
Arms flung out, eyes gazing skyward,
Still as birds in a painting.
Time loses its hold,
People blur into nightmare shapes,
Someone puts an arm around him,
He wails aloud, an animal sound.
He sees the boy on his side,
Gasping on the sand, a stranded fish.
The man stumbles over to him, strokes his hair,
“Breathe, child, breathe, I’m here.
Hush, all will be well. Don’t die.”

The boy’s eyes
Fill his vision, like a planet
Coming closer. Here is horror,
Here is comfort.

Far away, you click through your FB feed
Reading, writing, and finding
News, outrage, horror.
Hooked on fear, you shake if off,
Click on a video of cats taking a bath,
A momentary respite, a smile,
Like a hand parting dense rain-clouds,
And you feel better.
How nice! You can laugh, or weep,
– what a privilege!

Then you go cold.

You see an image –
A child on his side, gasping for breath.
A hand grips your viscera,
And you struggle against grief,
You feel a net closing
Around you.

Your own child is safe,
You remind yourself, but
The net traps you,
As you struggle to
Take in air.

Why is it raining indoors?

By Vijaya Sundaram

Biography:

A native of India, Vijaya Sundaram has lived in the Boston, Massachusetts, area for the past 25 years. She is a singer-song-writer, guitarist, poet and writer who spent seventeen years as an 8th Grade English teacher at a local public school.  Only recently feeling the urge to publish, she’s been sending out her work to various literary magazines. Vijaya has been published in literary magazines Calliope and The Phoenix Rising Review. You can read more of Vijaya’s work on her blog, StrangeLander2015.

BELOW MY MOUTH By Moira J.

BELOW MY MOUTH

is a river running cold
into fields of squash and wheat,
my belly is gentle soil, upturned with
hands rejoicing in the rain that blesses them—
clear kisses from ancestors. I am white-capped
like snow and cedar, good medicine is stowed
in my hips, for they carry the earth.

My eyes are east-facing windows,
delighted in the morning sun that cleanses me
with prayers sent upwards.

My legs are grown from the ashes of a
painted woman, whose sons once fought monsters
on the earth, borne during a thunderstorm where lightning
scraped itself as oil paints of white across the sky.
With yucca leaves to insulate my feet, I would walk

thousands of miles to cross the bridges
to White Mountain, where upon the rocks of
my peoples’ birth,
the ghost of my grandfather will feed me
tiswin and rabbit meat.

By Moira J.

Biography:

Moira J., or Gaagé Dat’éhe (Quiet Crow), is a mix’d Indigenous writer who explores the messy world of being agender, queer, and biracial. They explore sexuality, spirituality, trauma, displacement, and kinships in poetry, origin stories, and creative nonfiction. They have their Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. They currently live and write in Oregon with the support of their spouse, and the family pet: Dana Scully. Moira J’s work has been featured in Girls Get Busy zine, i-D Magazine, Toe Good Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Bayou Magazine, and more. They have upcoming publications with Sea Foam Magazine and The Account. You stay updated on Moira J. by going to moiraj.wixsite.com/home, or on Twitter @moira__j.

Beyond Beautiful By Kaylee Jeong

Beyond Beautiful

Inside the chapel I spent many hours
just looking, at the walls, through

my clasped hands at the ground, at
my thighs. I was young

and didn’t know too much, except
you were only beautiful with the bones

coming to the surface, like a body pushing
against the face of a frozen lake. A body

I ran from, some day in December
after pulling my best friend out of the water,

not from her, but from her voice, which was screaming
my name. I hid from my name

though it clung to me softly. Like drops of lakewater
to my skin, tears to a false eyelash, asking

to be held the way water holds a girl
even when she doesn’t want to be beautiful anymore.

Lies, unlike life rafts,
don’t float. And just like everyone else

the difference between me and unlovely sank
to the bottom: she fell in slow motion

chasing it the same way sinners chase
prayers. The way the lifeline lingers just out of reach

of the drowned. We were static,
clutched in silence and heard the lake calling.

Clutched in ashes, the woods or the chapel burning,
but never both. The chapel never quiet enough.

I stared at the water dripping from her hair
and it was so loud I put beautiful aside

and tried for alive instead. Didn’t know
there wasn’t an answer, just wrung the lake

out of her ponytail, held her like the anchor
she pretended to be. Didn’t know

dear God was another way to say life raft,
or tell me the way to lovely is to breathe.

Inside the chapel, I wait. The girl stumbling
from the fissure. The bones or the ice or both

melting away by sunlight. Inside the chapel,
another hour looking, light drifting through the body’s stained-glass windows.

By Kaylee Jeong

Biography:

Kaylee Jeong is a high school student from Portland, Oregon who is still trying to know her way with words.