A Graveyard Is A Flowerbed by Kristin Garth

A Graveyard Is A Flowerbed

A graveyard is a sort of flowerbed
like one you tend to, tulips red. Arrange
bouquets in her boudoir. You bow your head.
Bowknot stand collar hiding scars. A strange
debasement he requests, a ritual
of deference, performance morning
after he would make his habitual
addled walk to take what lies adorning
a regency bed. Frame, the same he laid
his schoolboy head, before he bought this house,
this wife he wed, reparations made
with blooms tended and tendered, child to spouse —
for seeds he buried in your flesh instead,
their graveyard becomes your next flowerbed.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of fifteen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House, Shut Your Eyes, Succubi (Maverick Duck Press), Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press) and The Meadow (APEP Publications). She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com

 

Two poems by Amanda McLeod

Through The Cracks

the world is overexposed, too bright, and yet
the lens through which I look is blurred, dull

rip this parasite out—
before it steals my sight and leaves me
plunged into darkness
using the vision in my hands to feel
my way around

a world that brought me so much

joy

paint my face with broad strokes
to hide the cracks– perhaps

some filler would be better—

a little

plaster over the gaps to make sure
nothing slips

through.

 
Piano Bar, Just After 2am

Slide up, sweet nectar. Candy rim with sugar lips
licked clean. Tart fizz in crystal cylinders—
a line of sparkle. Painted fingertips
reach out again, until the ache goes under.
Tiara bent, a diadem askew.
Caricature, decorum gone astray.
She doesn’t want to leave, she just wants you
to keep it pretty, make it safe to stay
like this. Beyond the knives. Inadequacy
takes fractured souls. Removes the pieces. She
can’t love herself — enough. Casually ingests
another swallow. Remembers to smile. Rinse. Repeat.
A futile patch. A temporary crutch
will make the pain okay, until she wakes up.

 

Amanda McLeod is an Australian creative. She writes both fiction and poetry, and is the Managing Editor at Animal Heart Press. Her words can be found in many places both in print and online, including Spelk Fiction, Anthropocene, and others. You can connect with her on Twitter @AmandaMWrites or via her website AmandaMcLeodWrites.com

Three poems by Holly Day

How I Identify You

I listen to your heart beating inside its cage of broken bones
the Braille graffiti of your chest, and even now I wonder
what things would have been like if you were whole when we met
if you weren’t so damaged by your past, would you have come to me?

I run my fingertips over the old cigarette burns along your arms
testament to a drunk stepfather who never bothers calling anymore, wonder
if I could somehow put the pieces back together, fix this mangled child
how long it would take for you to decide you didn’t need me anymore

that without your damaged past, there’d be no reason to seek solace
against me and my own broken heart.

 
Where We Meet

In bed, in the dark, your fingers brush the jagged “x”
that marks my damaged past.
I flinch out of habit, force myself
to be completely naked with you
tell you how you can make a happy face with a lighter
home-poke tattoos with a safety pin and India ink.

I trace the pattern of your own damaged flesh,
ribs shattered and warped, a mangled child
written in pages of skin half-crumbled to dust
ritualistic burnings—here, I defy you
to tell me I had it bad, we had it bad.
With you, I stand in defiance of the past

remake myself in images of celibacy
angelic visitations, with a heart as pure as ice.

 
With Careful Hands

her body a thin shadow
beside the pool the next morning
a whitewashed backdrop, too
thin ankles and smooth pale legs

small.
slashing and sewing with
careful, tiny stitches
she lies peacefully on white cotton sheets
no one would ever know.

 

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), and Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), while her newest nonfiction books are Music Theory for Dummies and Tattoo FAQ.

Three poems by Meggie Royer

Post-Partum

Somewhere, a woman drowned three babies
as my mother lost her fourth.
If arithmetic works as it should,
the ground understands what it’s like
to be opened in a way
it wasn’t originally meant for.
Some horses turn wild
because a life within a stable
is no life at all.
Not like the life of a misunderstanding,
where each cell is nothing but water damage
and each bone an oar.
Not like the life of one
who ends the life of another.

 
Anya’s Garden

There was no real evidence for their origin,
their small and elfen bodies,
faint trace of tequila around the ears.
The day we brought them into our home
the whole town was flooded with darkness,
all the men taken to filling the mouths of glass lamps
with honeyed kerosene.
The women did their best to nurse them
back to health, milked until it shone
like drippings of the moon.
Beneath the sky opening like an orange palm
we thought of all the children
buried in garbage chutes
or pressed beneath stones at the bottom
of the river, wailing
as if it could bring down the stars.

 
Underdose

When we were both girls, our mother
sent us to bed with full bellies every night,
but my skin browned while yours grew moon.
I practiced with knives
while you sang with the reeds.
There were stars I’d never seen
outside my own head,
having forgotten the language for coma
and instead remembering the taste of wind.
Strange, how many men the body can let in
without collapsing.
How the universe turns the world like an apple,
how the same DNA
has different words for loss.

 

Meggie Royer is a writer from the Midwest who is working in the domestic violence field in Minnesota. Her poems have previously appeared in The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, The Minnesota Review, and more. She runs a literary journal, Persephone’s Daughters, dedicated to empowering survivors of abuse.

Two poems by Tianna G. Hansen

unleashed

the faster you heal, the closer it gets, B.
I bloodlet and track how fast the tissue heals
shooting wolfsbane into my bloodstream
like an addict, purple poison. soon it will come
for me, no matter where I hide. it finds me
in the sanitarium, it finds me in the woods.
I need to keep shooting wolfsbane in my veins
or else I will turn into the beastly other
which claimed my sister—she haunts me
appears to remind me just how bad it’s going
to get. my notebook fills with marks, how fast
the self-inflicted wounds begin to mend
how much of my humanity remains before
it will be too late, just like Ginger. before
I must embrace that wolf inside me
and set it free.

[Note: this poem is inspired by Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, 2004]

 

 

kick a hole in the sky

could they see the forest
in her eyes, the shadow
of her pelt?

an outsider, unwanted

I can run with the night
and catch the dawn.
I can kick a hole in the sky.

the forest a wild thing

red slashed into the dark—
eyes, blood.

loup-garou

through pooled moonlight
by ritual, sacrifice,
sacrament.

abandon knives of flint

use teeth / beast within
subject to the Moon

more than human.

[Note: this is a found poem; source of text: Klause, Annette C. Blood and Chocolate. New York: Delacorte Press, 1997. Print.]

 

Tianna G. Hansen has always been a poet at heart, though she studied fiction and dabbles in creative nonfiction. In human form she runs Rhythm & Bones Press (rhythmnbone.com), giving space to those with trauma turned to art. Find more of her work at creativetianna.com or follow her and her wolf writings on Twitter @tiannag92.

Two poems by HLR

Etc.

I wonder if when you refer to the women in your life
you still mention me by name
how do I taste?
rusty candy floss / acid petals / tropicana toothache
I fear that I’m no longer
one that melts in your mouth
that I’m just a part of your etcetera
demoted to “one of the others”
renamed as “and the rest of them”
that I’m languishing in a mass grave
amongst your flings and forgettables
your mistakes and unmentionables
my name erased
my significance cancelled
yes, I fear that nowadays you spit me out
rather than swallow me whole
like you used to
with pleasure
not so long ago

 

The View From The Smoking Room

I can see through
windows once obscured
by the lime tree that now stands
smaller, nude
and the skeleton
of the silver birch
its limbs that jerk
rattled by cold bursts
of clouds’ breath
and beyond the gardens
and the trembling sheds
the gas works’ silhouette
dark against a darker sky
lines erased by winter night
and houses that I
didn’t know were there
have suddenly appeared
so the terraces seem higher
roofs dripping with yellow lights
families at dining tables
clothes twisting in a tumble dryer
knives scraping on plates
a man chopping wood for the fire
the people laugh and fight
tell stories and share a joke
and are completely unaware
that I am here
indoors but looking out
into their homes
into their lives
having a smoke
deciding what to write
sipping tea
hiding in the December night
safe in anonymity
extinguishing the light
and closing the window
quietly behind me.

 

HLR is a twenty-something writer of CNF, short prose and poetry. Her work focuses on challenging subjects such as grief and addiction, and her own personal experiences living with mental illness. Perpetually on the verge of either a breakdown or a breakthrough (sometimes both), HLR was born and raised in north London and is yet to escape. Read more at http://www.treacleheart.com and @treacleheartx.

Two poems by Linda M. Crate

unforgiving bloom

there is no sense to this longing,
but is there ever?
it clings to me
like cold rain,
as it erupts like magma
from the volcano of my heart;
i don’t want to be
your magnolia flower forgotten
when the trees shed their
flowers for the coming summer—
a name you once knew,
but now have forgotten;
yet i choke on all the words
clumsily i fall before you
voiceless—
you look upon me with pity
i didn’t want nor need,
and i walk away with shame;
not knowing how to bloom in a way
that is forgivable.

 

 

my past self & i

my fear of heights,
and climbing on roofs
specifically
now makes sense after the dream;

i was fighting on a roof
when i died
and i fell and i fell until i could not wake—

now i am anew
with flesh and a body
that is mine but wasn’t then,

maybe that’s why these bones
feel out of place sometimes;

i remember who i was and who i am is not always
the same as those recollections buried
in my subconscious
little seeds of doubt and curiosity singing together
a medley of magic only my soul can decipher.

 

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six published chapbooks, and a micro-chap. She has a novel, also, called Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Productions, June 2018).