Category Archives: Libra

A Love Letter to a Room, Grown Up by Cadence Pentheny


photography by Amadeus Long | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


A Love Letter to a Room, Grown Up

This is the dream where I always leave before you let go and the lake that holds no swords or magic kingdoms keeps us diving simply to test the true capacity of our hollowness. On the bad mornings, fragments of bone left behind from the amputation of my wings come loose from their holds and stab me between the shoulder blades. My bird mouth is never not hungry; it never learned how to feed itself. I woke up haunting for a song, a kiss, but our mouths are tombs and whoever gets too close will choke on the dirt.

This is the time when you left thumb prints on my wrist bones, skin flint eyelids set ablaze driftwood washed to shore. Little sisters took me swing dancing with tongue studs clicking on teeth, rode the subway and left glitter in the door jambs. “I’ll take you home”, he said, but they laughed at me for tying virgin tongue-knots in cherry stems while the heat turned our lungs into drums, leather stretched tight. These walls remain jam-packed with my own heat, like the monsters in children’s books who taught us that to be loved was to be swallowed whole. I’ve spent eleven years practicing the art of the Irish goodbye. Sometimes the grocery list becomes a poem and flowers grow from the dirt under my fingernails, moss under my tongue, lichen on the roof of my mouth.

This is the place where hip flexors caught in hands, caught in the tangle of sheets at the edge of the bed. In the tangle of the mind she warmed madness like a feast and begged me to eat of it, a mother to my starving hands, the one who taught the Right to say ‘please’ with its sharp claws and the Left to say ‘sorry’ with thumbs calloused ‘round the shape of her teeth. The illness of lycanthropy – once a month, fur mixes with blood. I’m bigger than my bones but they keep telling me that I still have to learn how to call them home.



Cadence Pentheny

Cadence Pentheny is 21 years old and a NH native, where they grew up homeschooled and surrounded by dogs, books, and art projects. In 2016 they graduated from a small college in PA with degrees in sociology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. They have returned home and are about to start their second year with a national service organization in which young people get the privilege of working with students in under-resourced public schools. You can witness some of their shenanigans on their Instagram @bird_mouthed.



An Elegy to the Sky by Rachana Hegde


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

An Elegy to the Sky

Each month is damp with the silhouette
of a typhoon unstrung, arched over wire

coat hangers & thrusting up against a glass of
hot chai. Rain reeks of men slurring her name &

an unfinished stump of a poem perches in
the hollow of my cheekbones. The sky is

wrestling with a sheet of water, draining clouds
that exhale in unison. Breathe & wash the pollen

off your hands. The breeze bucks, thrashing against
the underside of the night, siphoning fluid from

the gap in its thighs. I take a bite out of moons
drizzled in honey & the exit wound closes instantly.

Sky is undressing, body flecked with leftover raspberry
gloss from girls kissing & translucent windows swinging

open beneath weathered hands. Sky razes the crow in mid-flight,
its wings swaddled in smoke. Watch it draw a rattled breath.



Rachana Hegde

Rachana Hegde is an 17 year old Indian writer from Hong Kong. Her poetry has appeared in Lockjaw Magazine, Hypertrophic Literary, Diode, and The Blueshift Journal. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Hollins University. She serves as a poetry editor for TRACK//FOUR, a literary magazine for writers and artists of color. Find her at www.rachanahegde.weebly.com.



Detour by Emilie Sukijbumrung


House of Cards by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Detour

You say, “We’re taking a detour.”

You say, “It’s somewhere I think you will appreciate.”

You say, “Because I know you.”

We park outside a library and walk around back to the pavilion.

We stare at the pond.

You tell me about being seven at art camp and learning bad words from
the carvings in the wooden posts. 


You trace your finger where they used to be.

I stare at your hands. 




Emilie Sukijbumrung

Emilie Sukijbumrung is a poet who focuses on the art of healing. Using words as surgical instruments, she picks apart at what is raw/soft/sensitive. A senior at the University of Tampa, Emilie is studying education, hoping to teach students to find a voice of their own. Her personal twitter account is twitter.com/esijrn



Catechumens by Jan Wiezorek


Beastly by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Catechumens

He is in the niche across from the painting
that says I want to be stolen and sold

for firewood. She rests in the pew
and scratches love letters in the shellac.

Several have found the pain of kneeling
calming in the presence of desire, gold-plated

and on sale in the gift shop. One is leaving
the empty confessional and cannot accept mercy.

I see others running toward the lawn,
cutting their toes on the mower blade.

They scrape the fence and seek balm
to salve the sting. Many choose

to string beads and mark thoughts
to fingerings that float from light

to sorrow to joy, uncertain where each begins
or how to stop this revolve inside ourselves.





Jan Wiezorek

Jan Wiezorek divides his time between Chicago and Barron Lake, Michigan. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at The London Magazine, Southern Pacific Review, Bindweed Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Squawk Back, FIVE:2:ONE, Random Sample, Literary Juice, Panoplyzine, Better Than Starbucks, and Schuylkill Valley Journal. Jan is author of Awesome Art Projects That Spark Super Writing (Scholastic, 2011). He has taught writing at St. Augustine College, Chicago, and he holds a master’s degree in English Composition/Writing from Northeastern Illinois University. Visit him at janwiezorek.weebly.com.



Feasting on Dysphoria and Sparrows by Moira J.


“What The Bird Collects” by Glenn W. Cooper | Pinterest | Facebook | Blind Dog Press

Feasting on Dysphoria and Sparrows

It is almost October in the woods,
            where I am held at an encampment,
                         my room full of heavy mountain
            air that hangs syruped on my jaw.

A man is telling me that I am a woman,
            instead of monstering
            flesh, paled like wisteria
            stacked with smoke that mirrors
            the cigarettes held in his glass bowl.

                                                  I dump the ashes to give water,
                                      to the sparrows, luring them to my
                                                  windowsill, catching them in
                                                  my hands and stuffing them
                                      in my cheeks, my words becoming
                         plumed with promises of redemption—or
                         something like absolution.

                         The birds are so particular as they flail,
                         their erratic song penetrating my wisdom
                         teeth, but still I do not become wiser.

                         The man later removes
                         the scraps, sneaking a
plunged hand deeper to remove innards—
my personal now made public.

I hang his desire like damp blankets on
                         the laundry lines, waiting for
            my bones to turn acrid and unpleasable,
passing the time by pulling feathers free from
my bleeding gum line.




Moira J.

Moira J., or Gaagé Dat’éhe (Quiet Crow), is an Indigenous writer who explores being agender, queer, and biracial. They examine these relationships through poetry, origin stories, and creative nonfiction. Moira J. has been published in Girls Get Busy Zine, Naugatuck River Review, ENCLAVE, Bayou Magazine, and more. They have upcoming publications with Sea Foam Magazine, The Account, The 3288 Review, and 1001: A Literary Journal. You can keep updated on Moira J. at their twitter @moira__j.



The Lighthouse by Jade Mitchell


“To Detach and Hold” by Glenn W. Cooper | Pinterest | Facebook | Blind Dog Press

The Lighthouse

You see, there was a promise I had to keep.
             I was straying South from the river-side again.
I was walking to the edge of where he once held me like
a promise and I held myself, back.
                                        I wanted to be gone. I wanted to be
collarbone. This child-like lie, once broken, now a ridge of
jagged calamity stuck in apology. Things never happen the
way we say it happened. But that doesn’t mean the pain wasn’t
real. That doesn’t mean that for one moment, everything was
on fire and I was screaming. I was stuck. I was two years’ worth
of wanting, of waiting, of pushing my body out to sea and hoping
it’d come back to me.
                                        And I can’t tell you all the ways that I have
made myself a lighthouse for other people’s storms. But I still carry
their salt. I still carry their thunder. After the clouds have cleared and
the damage is swept away, I just wanted to be remembered for the ways
that I have saved.


Jade Mitchell

Jade Mitchell is a poet residing in Glasgow, Scotland. She is a poetry reader for Up The Staircase Quarterly. Her work has been featured in Persephone’s Daughters, Red Queen Literary Magazine, Murmur Journal, L’Éphémère Review, Rising Phoenix Review, and Hooligan Magazine. Her work can be found on her blog: vagabondly.tumblr.com.



Things That Break In Chinese Restaurants by Demi Richardson


Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

Things That Break In Chinese Restaurants

The fortune read,
Your problem just got bigger.
Think, what have you done.

And you laughed a distracted
laugh,
something that floated away from us
while other couples
in other restaurants
held hands,

but you are not like you used to be –
there is no gentle in the way
you slide your hand into mine,
bring my hips back to you,
and

some nights you look at me
like you dug my heart
out of my chest with your bare hands

and some nights you
push your hands through your hair
shake your head at me and
leave quietly

later, we get drunk off moonshine
and apologies come from your lips like
a flood of bad omens

I ask if you need space
and the way you say “no”
makes my bones splinter,
makes me think –
what have we done?

here in this room, where
we scrape our knees and
bruise each other
on love and half-truths –
what have we done?



Demi Richardson

Demi Richardson splits her heart between California and Pennsylvania. Her work has previously appeared in the New Growth Arts Review, “draft” lit mag, and The Rising Phoenix Review.



Samson and Delilah by Demi Richardson


Photography by Maria Kazvan | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Flickr

Samson and Delilah

A boy in this town chews on heartbeats,
cuts his teeth on the taste of lonely
over and
over
and over again

and I have sworn not to mess with
leather jackets or
switchblade feelings,
but
there is something to be said for redemption
that comes quickly in the night

in the backseat of a Subaru or
in his mother’s kitchen, I am thinking –

in this fight for the upper hand,
I have taken every road
but the high one



Demi Richardson

Demi Richardson splits her heart between California and Pennsylvania. Her work has previously appeared in the New Growth Arts Review, “draft” lit mag, and The Rising Phoenix Review.



We’re Young and This Is the Beginning by Kory Wells


Babylon by Ioannis Lachanis | Facebook | Etsy Shop


We’re Young and This Is the Beginning

Evening we walk a garden of amethyst
marvels—structures and steel, pylons
and progress, burst-blossoms of light.
Between skyscrapers we gather close
our coats as steam swoops
from the underground, nearby
the scent of coffee and yeast
almost enough to tempt our course.

Earlier, I took your hand for the first time,
inked on your palm an address.
This is where I want us to go, that word, us,
hanging like the full moon in tonight’s dark
blue note of sky. Now, blocks away, sirens.
A woman pilfers a trashcan for dinner.
A man dead-walks into stopped traffic,
palms high. As if it will ease the desperation,
you reach for my hand. Or do I reach
for yours? We are new and believe
we need an excuse to touch.

Above us, rows and rows of windows,
like diamonds in a jeweler’s case, flash
with a thousand shiny promises. Flash
like a fevered undoing of buttons and cuffs.

At an open door we find our belonging—
a woman in jazz club shadow-smoke,
her mouth at the mic a bloom of orchid,
her voice a plume of pleasure and truth.

She sings our fortune.

Later, the streets all but empty, we walk
and walk and my shoes rub blisters but
we’re hand in hand—what’s a little pain?
Beside us the topaz river glints.



Kory Wells

Kory Wells is author of HEAVEN WAS THE MOON, a poetry chapbook from March Street Press. After many years in software development, she now works as a writer and advocate for the arts, democracy, afternoon naps, and other good causes. Her work appears in ASCENT, POEM, UNSPLENDID, THE SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, and other publications. A two-time Rash Award finalist, Kory lives near Nashville and mentors poetry students in the low-residency program MTSU Write. Learn more and connect with her at about.me/korywells



Study by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad


Treasure of the Stars & the Sea Part 2 by Jenny Brown | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Study

They lift me from the waiting room
like a sick animal, sheathed in fur mammal,

limp chest, incurved in their arms
from room to room. They scribble

things about ebbing expressions
and non-movements, knowing something

has died and the body is waiting
to follow. I answer questions for surveys.

A computer prompts me
to rearrange numbers and letters,

assign emotions to faces
flashing at a terrific speed. My throat

stale does not have the voice for protest,
to challenge the machine that stimulates

lobes thwarted by their own indifference.
They guide the metal out of my skin,

from my ears and nose before they stuff me
into the scanner where I fall asleep,

where they pull the heavy blanket
to the bow of my chin, keep my head still,

as I dream something beautiful,
that pictures of my brain full of ink

emote with fluency, that sketches
of these black and white images recite a truth

obscured by bright lipstick. The technicians
praise this form of wordless narration.

I wake up not hopeful, but humble enough
to trust for a little bit the nothing of everything.

At the end of one of these sessions,
we step onto flooding concrete.

I call after the doctor, tell her she can
take my umbrella, and she stops to catch

the reach of my offer; her eyes thaw in the way
her advisors once told her they shouldn’t.

I see then the prayers recited in each
of her pupils; she will check her notes later

hoping, for once, they didn’t place this one
in the group pumped with placebos.



Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Mehrnoosh was born and raised in New York. Her poetry has appeared in The Missing Slate, Passages North, HEArt Journal Online, Chiron Review, and is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and Pinch Journal. She currently lives in New York and practices matrimonial law.