Category Archives: Sagittarius

Rise by Sheila Dong


Rivi resurrected by Mercedes Hazard | Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Rise

I’ve got this dream in my head, this blissy hothouse
flower, petals like tongues beset with glossolalia.
This dream, an animal that bounded into my arms
in the midst of a lemonade-flooded wood. It beats
against its bars to the exact timing of my heart,
so the doctor suspects nothing. Whetted and keen,
it is armed to the teeth with oxygen and colors. I may
let it break the lock. They warn us: if our dreams abscond
to the world of the waking, if they breathe their fire, society
will char to cinder. So come on. I see menageries rearing
behind your eyes, your pupils reflecting pitiless sunrise
through the coma of night. I know there is a battering ram
in your chest that wears your heartbeat as its mask. So
let’s start. We were born knowing the melody.




Sheila Dong

Sheila Dong is a senior at the University of Arizona. They have been published in Persona Magazine and Collision Literary Magazine, in addition to winning the Western Regional Honors Council Poetry Prize. They enjoy collecting stories about people who have died unusual deaths.



Painbirds X by Ashley Warren

Painting by Seon-Jeong Kim



Painbirds X

On a good day,
my mother sits like a
chain-driven Grandmother
clock.
 
The air is quiet as she
smiles and nods like someone
else’s grandmother who smiles
and nods too much and at nothing.
 
She files away expired coupons,
debt collector’s threats,
grandbaby photos.
 
Those days, her fingers
may be well enough
to knit something small
or write some snaggletooth letters to
family about everything
that is not happening
 
or even well enough to play
a simple piano tune if she knew one.
 
On her face, I see
a woman struggling
with the term cadence
while the clock ticks softly
and off beat.
 
But on most days,
the sickness has organized its
own internal orchestra
while the meds work hard
to keep her bound.
 
She sits tight and tamed
as if unable to flinch
from a punch.

And I get what the doctors are trying
to do—

He says, “Doesn’t all
that head bobbing bother you?”
 
“Well I don’t notice it,” she says
between clenched teeth.
 
“Let me give you something for that, Donna.”
 
And that army will too
build up a box around
her rambunctious, ticking head.
 
He doesn’t warn her that the noise—
while disguised and hushed,
while tightened and tamed,
 
is growing like a thoughtful concerto.
 
Inside, she’s knocking
at the wood meekly.
 
Inside her clenched fists
is a tiny ax
and it’s chipping away at
each quiet room, at every
pitying encounter, at the
thick dank tunnel
echoing every memory and sorrow
she is now too tired
to remind us of with her mouth.
 
Poco a poco, the music is swelling.
Her swing, strengthening.
The little soldiers, forfeiting.
 
And on that penetrating day,
when shards of wood fly,
my mother will become both the broken
orchestra and its flailing
conductor.


Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren is a Minnesota native and currently lives in Long Beach, CA. Her poems have appeared in several print and online publications including Convergence Magazine, Hiram Poetry Review, Santa Clara Review, Old Red Kimono, Red River Review, Roanoke Review and Sandy River Review.



The Names of the Dead by Laurel Dixon

Floral Chair by Kelly Louise Judd
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The Names of the Dead

With every death, my mother shrinks.
Soon she will live in the palm of my hand.
She calls me with cold-cut eyes, her mind a cellar
where the white pipes strain with water.
Scott is dead now, she whispers into the receiver.
He was your age. Overdose. Only twenty four.

I try to pull his picture from the watery veil
of memory, but his face shies away. Later
she will knead his name into her prayers,
yeast and flour and then a rising amen.
Imagine the faith of one who prays for ghosts.

My mother hates the dark, the devil, and tight spaces.
Like the catch of a locket her heart clicks—
like the cluck and stutter of a tongue.
She lines her white pills into rosary beads
and never flies. When I am fifteen,

the cold cases in the grocery store burst and fizzle,
darkness whooshing in as the lights die.
Her breath bubbles hoarse from her throat—
I lace our identical fingers, fish her out
into the November air while she mutters psalms.

I will always be taller than my mother.
She is a size six shoe, with small orchid-palms.
My mother loves me because I sing like my father.
She hates when my voice grows thick like his, with steel.
Sometimes she cradles my face in her fingers

to watch him burning at the back of my gaze.
When I stare back,
I see her bury the names of the dead
behind her eyes.

 


Laurel Dixon

Laurel Dixon lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She won first place in The Carnegie Center’s LGBT Writing Contest for her story How to Fall in Love with Straight Girls, and her poetry has been published in Tobacco Magazine, Words Dance Magazine, Voicemail Poems and The Legendary. She spends most of her time writing, gardening, and drinking too much coffee. : LaurelDixon.com



Drought by Liz Napieralski

Tending by Kelly Louise Judd
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Drought

I see your godhead each morning. Early, before noontide. I am outside, sipping coffee, watching for rain. You, also outside, hose in hand, each drop a wasted revelation. You, with holy burst from spout, you with sage-wet brow. You avoid my eyes; focus instead on agastache, lavendula, alcea. Rivulets rise, severed-artery blood-let in the red-clay dust. I open my palms skyward; receive the mist like a blessing. You, by day, Water Deity in waterless summer. At dusk, the desert palms against your gate, anhydrous and thirsting. At night, tricksters rise from your puddles and walk.

 


Liz Napieralski

Liz Napieralski lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you were to steal her purse on any given day, you’d find a ridiculous number of pens that she’s not terribly generous about lending to others, far more lipstick than is really necessary for one person, and a notebook shamed by all the scraps of paper she inevitably writes on instead. (And not much cash. So don’t steal her purse. It’s not worth it.) Her poetry has most recently appeared in vox poetica, ditch, and Third Wednesday. Find her at womanlygrowl.wordpress.com.



Summer Camp by Jessica Therese

She of the Water by Joel Robison
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SUMMER CAMP

It was summer when we drove three hours
down south, my wet shirt clinging to my back,
fingers tapping along to Van Morrison on the radio.

Boys were immature then, feeling our legs for
signs of stubble, pulling bra straps just to hear the snap.
They sat by the pool where we strapped pink goggles

to our eyes and played Marco Polo,
laughed as we capsized canoes
just to feel the thrill of something forbidden,

clothes still on, heavy and sticking to our skin,
resistant to the water as we chased after
drifting oars. I had my first kiss that night,

the air hanging heavy between our mouths,
our teeth bumping whilst fireworks crackled down
the sky like water colours.

Back home, a frayed friendship bracelet
the only evidence those two months weren’t
a delirious dream.
 


Jessica Therese

Jess is a twenty year old musician and writer from Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Music Performance in clarinet at Sydney University. She wants to visit Iceland and plant a field of poppies in her backyard. She only wears odd socks. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Thistle Magazine, Germ Magazine, Letters from Bummer Press, Degenerates: Voices for Peace, and others. Follow her on Tumblr at @contramonte.



My Friend, The Wolf by Katrina Gray

That Boy Is Bad, And Honestly He’s A Wolf In Disguise by Joel Robison
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My Friend, The Wolf

There’s something about the way
you say missing;
a push of tongue against teeth —
the sound slips out so easily.
I think you’re someone who knows too much
about the shadowed part of the moon;
with a voice like that,
with those eyes.
At the dinner table, your drink goes untouched.
You line up all the knives.
I wonder about your hands;
they look like they were made for this:
for the jagged edges,
for the sharper points.
You probably know a lot about bleeding.
I guess most women do.
On our plates we’ve placed the hearts
of those who meant to harm us.
We must consume what tried to kill us.
We must grow strong.
Me and my friend,
the wolf.

 



Katrina Gray

Katrina Gray is a twenty-six year-old Canadian who is fulfilling the prophecy, as foretold by her sixth grade teacher, to write. She’s never one to back down from a feminist argument, or a long binge of character driven TV. She suffers from existential angst, always losing her pen lids, and thinking of the perfect line just before she falls asleep. Though she’s been writing for years, she has never seriously considered publishing, but is looking forward to this new adventure.



Even in Darkness by Jessica Therese

Liebe ist rot by Pierre Schmidt aka Dromsjel
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EVEN IN DARKNESS
after “Even In Darkness”; a painting by Trinh Mai Thach

Even now, the memory of his sound
leaves my body vibrating like a tuning fork.

The spotlight illuminating the musician’s
cheek the colour of red velvet

curtains at a movie theatre, his nimble fingers
resting on a high A, saxophone keys like

drops of gold, eyes spellbound as if heaven
could take him at any moment

and it wouldn’t matter.
Each note smoothed out a knot in my spine,

each chord felt like honey drizzling
into my open mouth. Even in darkness,

his instrument summoned visions of roses,
of rain, of the winter day you left blood

in the snow like drops of pomegranate.
Even in darkness, always,

the quiet humming of middle C.


Jessica Therese

Jess is a twenty year old musician and writer from Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Music Performance in clarinet at Sydney University. She wants to visit Iceland and plant a field of poppies in her backyard. She only wears odd socks. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Thistle Magazine, Germ Magazine, Letters from Bummer Press, Degenerates: Voices for Peace, and others. Follow her on Tumblr at @contramonte.



Aspirin by Krista Cox

To Pieces by Clare Elsaesser
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ASPIRIN

When I was young, I got a lot of canker sores. My dad 

said it was from all the orange juice I drank trying to make

the Wisconsin winters tropical. He’d crush an aspirin

between two mismatched and tarnished spoons, 

place the powder on the sore. It would fizz 

and my eyes would moisten like the fleshy space

beneath my tongue. It would eat the sore, cauterize

the weakness worn into the strawberry pocket

of my cheek. It would hurt like hell.

But it would empty the wound — leave it

numb and impotent, a benign hollow

where a fire no longer churns.

This is why I think of my former lover

folded around another, clinging like tissue paper; 

this is why I think of his sweet-worded mouth 

on her stomach, never strained or stretched with life.
 


Krista Cox

Krista Cox lives in South Bend, Indiana, where she studies creative writing at Indiana University. She is a full-time paralegal and has two precious patience-testers. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Analecta, scissors & spackle, and Melancholy Hyperbole. Her OKCupid profile is a work of creative literary genius.



IF THE SKY WERE A GIRL by Jessica Therese

Happiness by Clare Elsaesser
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IF THE SKY WERE A GIRL

If the sky were a girl she would be a striking one –
lips like miniature clouds, hands able to

shape hurricanes. Together you swim in neon pools,
the moon a lump of charcoal in comparison

to her mouth. You kiss her and your tongue suddenly lives
up to its title as the strongest muscle in the human body,

every tastebud salivating. She is a frequency
you can’t quite pick up – her name shaking like

radio static between your lips. When you touch her,
does it feel like redemption?

When you expressed penance for your sins,
did she offer you absolution?

After she’s ruined you, you cannot
bring yourself to regret her. Even when she’s only

a sharp flicker of a memory, you feel yourself
reaching for your wallet to look at her photograph,

face warped and melted from the rain.
 


Jessica Therese

Jess is a twenty year old musician and writer from Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Music Performance in clarinet at Sydney University. She wants to visit Iceland and plant a field of poppies in her backyard. She only wears odd socks. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Thistle Magazine, Germ Magazine, Letters from Bummer Press, Degenerates: Voices for Peace, and others. Follow her on Tumblr at @contramonte.



Her Story by Madeline Vardell

Wild Flower by Jon & David Swartz
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Her Story

for Daughters

He would come every night

in the year the vacuum was invented

with questions. Doe-eyed. Entrapping

across smoky exhaust. For him, I danced,

poured his wine. His dinner I fixed.

This is the way, of course,

with men.


for Granddaughters

He would come every night
as the dark crushed, like velvet,
in the year the vacuum was invented.
About bags and filters, I plied him
with questions, doe-eyed, entrapping.
I played a silk skein swept
across smoky exhaust. For him I danced,
a leggy spider in ebony nylons,
poured his wine. His dinner I fixed
in the dark, whispering, bend me
this is the way. Of course,
I was in my thirties then; I’d lived
with men.
 


Madeline Vardell

Madeline Vardell is an MFA candiate at New Mexico State University. She is the winner of the 2013 Kay Murphy Prize in Poetry, selected by Lara Glenum. Her work has recently appeared in Bayou Magazine, Rhino, [PANK], and Whiskey Island. She lives in Mesilla, New Mexico.