The tumbleweed loves the girl with a savanna mouth By kmp

The tumbleweed loves the girl with a savanna mouth

look.
look. i’m a child of the shrublands—
everything about me is painfully dry so i’m
not sure you’ll understand this but the air here
tastes a certain way in november. drags against
your nose & lungs like you’ve just gone for a
run. still this breathlessness you leave in your
wake is something new.

i never intended to live this long. never felt
the need to plan this far ahead, and why would
i? the closest thing to permanence i have known
is the way my lipstick stains everything and mold
grows everywhere my mouth has ever touched:
there’s a power to outliving yourself. i will never
be a girl again; who could do that to me now? like
salve on dry skin.

the point is this: i like it when we’re in your car
and it’s just the two of us and the feeling you
could drive anywhere and still be taking me home.
the slide of your sleeve against my skin when we
reached for the map felt like the rustle of leaves
against concrete and it made me think of this high
desert wind we get. i’d breathe you in,
if you’d let me

By kmp

Biography:

kmp is a southern californian poet and aspiring lit major working two jobs to put herself through college. she wants to know everything, feel everything, be everything; she won’t settle for less. kmp has previously published poetry in Rising Phoenix Review, The Wall, L’Éphémère Review, and Werkloos Mag, as well as in her chapbooks “UNBOUND” and “Ask Me a Question//I’ll Write You a Poem.”

DAMAGE By Juleus Ghunta

DAMAGE

The morning mother woke up pregnant,
my father’s job was done.

By sunset, he evicted her with the new woman’s name.

I was born the year hurricane Gilbert came.
At the storm shelter, mother sucked mucus from my nostrils,
boiled bush tea to keep me warm.

After Gilbert, father brought a woman to survey my face.
She pressed my broad nose against his, dark skin against skin,
told him a fi yuh damage dis—this damage is yours.

He added me to his tally of sons and left—
the way a hurricane leaves its ruins.

By Juleus Ghunta

Biography:

Juleus Ghunta is a Jamaican poet and recipient of a Chevening Scholarship. He is pursuing MA Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. His picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull, is forthcoming from CaribbeanReads in 2018. Ghunta’s poetry has appeared in several journals including The Missing Slate, Moko, Easy Street, Chiron Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and has been anthologised in Cordite 81: New Caribbean Writing and In This Breadfruit Kingdom. He was awarded the Catherine James Poetry Prize by Interviewing the Caribbean in 2018. In 2015 and 2016 he was shortlisted for the Small Axe Poetry Prize.

SHAPELESS SACK OF RED By Uma Venkatraman

SHAPELESS SACK OF RED

If she stood still long enough
I could count all her bones

From the cheeks a Leonardo
could have lovingly chiselled

to the

delicate line of jaw
meeting in a razor-sharp chin

to the

strutting clavicles
creating hollows
for her grief to hide

to the

sharply etched ribs
a child could practice
his numbers on

to the

spindly arms that never knew
a comforting layer of fat

to the

fragile twigs passing for fingers
radiating from a slender wrist

to the

protruding hips
on whose jutting-out edges
you could hang a towel to dry

to the

stick-insect legs that failed
to carry her to safety

I could have counted them all
if he hadn’t smashed each one

All it took him was a fist

All I saw
was a shapeless sack of red

By Uma Venkatraman

Biography:

Born in India, and now living in Singapore, Uma Venkatraman is a journalist with a passion for poetry. Her poems have been published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Poetic Trenches, Along The Shore, and online in the Pink Panther Magazine and the Plath Poetry Project’s December retrospective.

The City Breathes its Last By M.S

The City Breathes its Last

In this city of old,
the day comes
when morning holds
no light and the night casts
its evil eye through stars
that never blink.

These borders crumble
to spill precious innards
for the world to behold
and the trees leave their posts
bony fingers raised
to point blame.

Our homes, stripped
of all dreams,
auction pieces
of our hearts
as the land underneath
gurgles in regret.

In the cauldron of myth,
ingredients churn and bubble –

theatres and museums
stabbed in their sleep,
schools and playgrounds
poisoned to death,
taxi stands and bus stops
throttled by noxious fumes.

We vow to spend eternity
haunting trespassers,
demanding an oath
of loyalty
forever lodged
in a silent scream.

On this day,
we perish together,
the city and I –
bridled by vices
as glorious
as yesterday’s sun.

By M.S

Biography:

M.S. thanks you for reading her poem. Her flash fiction and poetry can be found in various online literary journals and magazines.

Departure By Jessica Xu

Departure

My sister draws maps within the mud, traces her
highways with sticks and sweat, roads like vessels,
all carved within the Earth. She recreates herself as a
landmark, a capital star. Morning dew catches on
the tips of her hair, her eyes like darkened orbs.

It is June now. The months have passed without
a salve and her hair is still curling, withering to the
ground. The hospital needles were never enough
and I am still collecting the fallen blond, saving them for
future’s memory. I have not loved her enough. Her
years have passed through her in days, hollowed
her bones, and drawn her closer to the opening of Earth.

In this moment, I am reimagining her as starkly beautiful,
without the frailness of her arms, without the trembling of
her lips. The sun rests its slow palms against the thinness
of her skin and she is still unwavering in her fate.
When the wind bids her to the place where I cannot follow,
I will mark the Earth as the surface of her, as a landmark,
strong and unbowing.

By Jessica Xu

Biography:

Jessica Xu is 15 years old, and her work can be found in The Apprentice Writer, Eunoia Review, and is upcoming in the Glass Kite Anthology. She has been recognized in the Scholastic Arts and Writing awards, TeenSequins, the William Faulkner Writing Contest, and more.

For Eric and Erica By Vijaya Sundaram

For Eric and Erica

I can’t breathe, he said, eleven times.
His breath left in a last, choked exhale
Vanishing into the pollution of a
Dying afternoon in New York City.

The police, satisfied that they’d
Done their job, waited for seven minutes
For the medics.
It was just another day for them.

Three years later, his daughter lies dead.
She fought to keep his name alive,
And now she’s gone.

Weep for her, America!
Where are your tears?

People abducted, enslaved, freed, betrayed,
Live and die on your streets, America.
You kill your children every second.
You take them by the neck and squeeze them dry,
And fling them away, and order your sidewalks cleared.

And the rich sneer at the husks of humanity
On their streets, and brush off their dust
From their designer clothes,
Noses pinched, and mouths in a straight line.

And the middle-class, eager to emulate,
Scurry in their wake, buying cars and clothes
They cannot afford, mocking the poor.
And the poor spurn those who lie
Wretched, wasted on street-corners.

And you break their hearts,
You break their lives, America.
Are you not satisfied yet?
How many more choke-holds
Will satiate your breath-lust?

By Vijaya Sundaram

Biography:

Born in India. Transplanted in the U.S. Musician and poet. Lover of this good earth.

i have not written a poem in three weeks By kmp

i have not written a poem in three weeks

my heart has broken & healed & broken
again:
i am out of love
i rise, i wash, i eat, i work
the sun filters through the leaves
of the apricot tree i climbed as a
child & i feel nothing. eden was
a prison, too.

and this morning i rose before dawn
with an ache in my shoulder
so bad i could not
breathe deeply,
i worked nine hours,
bought a bar of chocolate on clearance,
and washed clothes for my job interview
a process drawn out
by the busted pipes
which make it so i must stand and
watch the machine
to catch it before it overflows when
it drains.

in my dreams i say
i would rather eat glass
and what i mean is this:
my insides are torn up, anyway; how
could it be worse to finally
bleed out?

 By kmp

Biography:

kmp is a southern californian poet and aspiring lit major working two jobs to put herself through college. she wants to know everything, feel everything, be everything; she won’t settle for less. kmp has previously published poetry in Rising Phoenix Review, The Wall, L’Éphémère Review, and Werkloos Mag, as well as in her chapbooks “UNBOUND” and “Ask Me a Question//I’ll Write You a Poem.”