Volume 5 Issue 1

Welcome to Volume 5. It’s been a while. We miss you all!

We’re excited to celebrate and share the work of nine talented individuals. These pieces left us ruminating for days, and we hope they leave you with a similar sense of both contemplation and calm.

Enjoy this one!

R. R. Noall

To the One Who Twists the Knife in Broad Daylight by Abigail Mandlin

All I have are bad dreams now.

Dreams where I’m maimed and beaten,
bruised and scraped.
Dreams where I’m made to give a speech in front of thousands and fall from a tall height into a
dead faint.
Dreams where I’m blind and bleeding,
deaf and pleading,
and every face is one of contempt, turning away from me.

I wake up sore, broken, and battered—
lower jaw smashed, upper back shattered—and for what?

Who is the enemy?
One who alludes me. One whom I can only face fast asleep.
Because in my waking life,
when I’m conscious and present,
sociable and pleasant,
I smile at them with crooked teeth.

The Deepest Sort of Pain by Nathanael Hueso

The deepest sort of pain
Stems from not knowing you need to grieve
Because you don’t know how
And you mistake Unfeeling for stability

Opening your heart doesn’t guarantee
That you won’t open up ancient wounds
Etched with vast histories of loss

But those forgotten chapters
Are the most-truly you

Don’t rewrite; fight to survive
Don’t deny your right to revival

Every piece that was taken,
And left you tattered
Broke—no—it shaped you
Then, the scope of you broadened
You awakened to mirrors reflecting past horrors:
Reminders that you’re still here

Hell isn’t just the absence of God,
It’s the erasure of all that makes you, you
Without you
Who am I?
You took a vital piece of me
And although I carry a memento
Tattooed on the walls of my heart,
It doesn’t hurt good like you

No one echoes in my soul
Or makes me ugly laugh
Or dread departure
And beam with pride
Like you

So maybe,
The reverberations of you
In me
Are enough
And the miracle of knowing you,
Of your aftertaste on my lips,
Will carry me through chasms
Until I go

Swooped by Annette Young

A seagull signaled ahead:
Swooping anemic, molting birds to congregate.
The thirsted, appendage jangling sounds of pooled hope.

Indoors, a reservoir of temperatures.
Agile fingers jockeyed for a blue or red handle
hovering to pour into tiny vessels of recycled gossip below.
An aqueous frenzy of the whirlpool wriggles the bait:
gurgles, gulps, and giggles before all fly away.

First, Daddy’s keys and theirs, intermingle brass assertions.
Alloys of tarnished, scratched, and dulled arguments
secretly melt to be declared: Lone Victor.
The opening peeked torturing them all.
The reservoir’s full belly halted ripples.

Now, serrated edges scan their memories
Cinderella unwittingly orchestrates
an ogled visitation of forlorn, anxious metals.
My Father, the Prince, in a click
gently unlocks his molded bride.

The Chosen Shore of sure
slaps of unabated soundless weeps of The Longings.
Whoa! Crisp, curling waves escorted Her away from misery’s reception.
The Longings gripped to be pinned—a custom fit.
The Chosen Shore crested and was pocketed—secure.

Oh What The View Must Be! by Amber Parker

Oh What The View Must Be! by Amber Parker

Destroying a Chair in Everyones Favorite Memory by Kris Nesbitt

upbraided and dressed down
unbloused and degloved
wants attrition
loss tolerance
needs realignment
errors accrue in their favor
a self-sustaining system
semi-casual catastrophe
dancing like a bonfire
promises written in pencil
leaving voicemail to god
diseases people have enthusiastically given themselves
small deaths in a small life
some eggs dont hatch some birds never fly
and the reaper wont wear a raincoat

Reincarnated As A Bird, Badly by Travis Stephens

When I took an Introduction to Poetry class the instructor told us that the first written poem had been found, thousands of years old, which roughly said, “my love has left me & I am so blue. Oooah, oooah, ooh.”

Today I walked the edge of a busy road & nearly stepped on a bird. It was a tiny, flattened smear of feathers & twiggy legs & threadlike bones.

I am this bird; this you have done to me. I walk because I cannot go home, cannot return to what I pay for empty. What were flights of promise & passion is one rain from washed away. My best idea is inclination is for alcohol; something brown & smoky as the waiting room of Hell.

Tonight I will delete your number, toss out the tea bags & toothbrush. Your favorite color, not mine, has always been blue.

The Gambler by John Beck

You teach, weld, cure disease,
string cable or sell insurance,
I gamble, professionally gamble.
Everyone gambles, a scratch off

at the gas station, weekly bingo
in the church basement, or cutting
across the oncoming semi.
I really gamble. High stakes.

TV cameras reflecting off
my mirror shades. If I pray
for better cards, I wonder
if I am asking God to play

favorites, curse the others
at the table and make them
losers. St. Cajetan,
you created a house of healing

for incurables – is that why you
are the patron saint of gamblers?
I think not for professional gamblers.
The incurable gamblers are

amateurs, rubes, lost causes.
They believe that their number
must come up. It just must.
They believe so strongly in luck

that it surpasses all
their other beliefs – family, career,
self-respect, perhaps even God.
Perhaps luck is God.

All bets are off, then their number
comes up, showing them
that Jesus, or at least St. Cajetan
is watching, insuring the fall

of the cards. Your luck may have 
ended on the expired sour cream,  
running too long on empty, or 
the last moment possible

Or maybe the next
number is yours –

Immortal Remnants by Shikha Pandey

Beaten by wind, beaten by rain
Praised by Burden, who loves my name
Communication is a skeleton key,
The locks are jammed though we can’t see
Destruction it stops and sometimes delays
Yet nothing is impossible.
And flowers remain.

Forest Fire by Cynthia Yatchman

Forest Fire by Cynthia Yatchman