Three poems by Amanda Crum

Magpie

I was craving something simple
So I went out and bought a bar of Ivory soap

It smells like being seven
In a decade before money

Trailer park baths at dusk
To wash away the grass-itch

From a young age I was a magpie
Attracted to the shine around the edges of things

But now I look for purity
Where I can find it

In the way the sky looks like a pearl
Just before the sun disappears

And the sound of a key
Turning the tumblers in a lock

Where before we overlooked
Now we pray for vision

 

 

Afternoon Rebellion In A Trailer Park

Far from any highway
a billboard erupts from weeds
and tempts us trailer folk.
It’s not what I wanted,
to climb that fence
and rebel,
but I do it to show
I’m a good sport
as God-light flickers
and breaks up the stratus.
Post-storm always smells
of damp blacktop
and secret things surfacing,
like the sudden knowledge
that something inside me
is thrumming. That field
is waiting golden and untamed,
a nameless thing crowding doubt
from the atmosphere. Is 9
too young for desire? The want
creates a push and pull, cotton-bud safety
and lovely, deckle-edged danger,
delicate balance like a ballerina en pointe,
muscles quivering in hushed and perfect
agony. The outside world awaits.

 

 
Cookie Cutters

I once watched the creation
of cookie cutters,

how they are rammed by metal rods
around a particular shape

to bend and succumb.
Always the supplicant, too afraid to ask

for something different.
What if they steeled themselves

like I never did
(jackknifed over the sink waiting for him to finish),

refusing to be pliant in favor of
their own future selves

and what they would have to live with?
Now when I think of that time

my mouth erupts with
gingerbread and sparks

and I wait to see
which one will keep me full.

 

Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in publications such as Barren Magazine and Eastern Iowa Review and in several anthologies, including Beyond The Hill and Two Eyes Open. She is the author of two novels, The Fireman’s Daughter and Ghosts Of The Imperial. Her first chapbook of horror-inspired poetry, The Madness In Our Marrow, was shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award nomination in 2015; her story “A Shimmer In The Parlor” was a finalist for the J.F. Powers Prize in Short Fiction in 2019. Amanda’s middle-grade fiction book, The Darkened Mirror, will be published in the summer of 2019 by Riversong Books. She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.

Leftovers are by Frank Karioris

Leftovers are

Leftovers are, as I’ve said before,
one of the great joys of life.

Anyone who can’t see this, doesn’t
know the dictum: soup is always better the second day.

The power of food to move, mold, and make
us is best displayed in day-old bread

made into croutons, or breadcrumbs;
or the way that cake get ever so slightly crispy;

the cheddar goes a shade of darker white and hardens,
crunching down in beautiful tones.

The made-to-order-ness of a meal put together from parts,
the order of palettes is challenged in that moment.

 
Frank G. Karioris (he/they/him/them) is a writer and educator based in Pittsburgh whose writing addresses issues of friendship, masculinity, sexuality, and gender. Their work has appeared in wide ranging publications, including the Hong Kong Review of Books, Burning House Press, Truth-Out, Maudlin House, and the Berlin Review of Books.

Estranged by Kristin Garth

Estranged

Toile touching pillows, horizontal heads,
midnight confession — angel, she says. Heat
she breathes between whispering will burn red
then blue. Feet flitter together beneath sheets

with you. Irreverent, incandescent
undeniably changed, best friend birthright
lies enraptured, estranged — speaks incessant
of roses on does, lips twinkle gold in
twilight

details, delivery deepen fright. Young
like we are, from another time. You have
to consider she’s losing her mind. Stung
me first touch but subsequently behaved.

You have no words. She will offer no name.
It isn’t by angels sister is claimed.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Former Cactus, Occulum & many more. She has six chapbooks including Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press), Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press March 2019) and The Legend of the Were Mer (Thirty West Publishing House March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), and she has a fantasy collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony forthcoming in June (Rhythm & Bones Lit) and Flutter (TwistiT Press) in January 2020. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), and her website kristingarth.com

The Apologies by Christina Strigas

The Apologies

Three a.m. searching for the earth she was born in;

Snow that never melts.

The final chapter that begins again—

I’m sorry I didn’t clean the house.

The fucked-up way he said her last name

as if it belonged to his heritage. It got

to her.

                                   

Every day changes her—

every new love kills her;

She never wanted to answer his message.

no,

Yes, he insisted.

 

 

Once with thirty years of need                                              

Riding over a city bridge,

She fell in love for the first time.                                            I loved you.

Once, after thirty years of apologies

She fell in love for the last time                                              I loved you.                 

St-Laurent river unchanging

under her lovers.

Death could crash inside her

Unquiet,

Troubled

Full of cancer cells

The dance of nail-biting sex

in two separate beds

 I’m sorry I lied.

You’d think she made a thousand mistakes a day—

That the Achilles heel

Meant her funeral was approaching.              

 

Her lonely coffin of lifeless               

unedited manuscripts.

I’m sorry,

 

I loved you, too.

 

Christina Strigas is a trilingual poet, raised by Greek immigrants, and has written three poetry books. Her latest, Love & Vodka, has been featured by CBC Books in, “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List: 68 Poetry Collections Recommended by you”. She is currently working on her fourth upcoming poetry book, Love & Metaxa. In her spare time, Christina enjoys foreign cinema, reading the classics, and cooking traditional Greek recipes that have been handed down from her grandmother.

Fig-Lover by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Fig-Lover

I could be your sweet girl
alive with groundwater,
my narrow passage
wasp friendly and edible.

One day you will find
my hollow ended stem;
a plethora of tiny flowers

heaving like an offering
from the heavens. Do not
flinch; I will blossom upon

the opening of your mouth—
bursting like a galaxy of stars.

 

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is a nine-time Pushcart nominee and seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 her chapbook Before I Go to Sleep was selected as a winning chapbook in the Red Ochre Chapbook contest and in 2018 her poem ‘A Mall in California’ recently placed 2nd for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. She is the author of several chapbooks along with five full-length collections of poetry including Epitaph for the Beloved soon to be released from Finishing Line Press. She is the Editor-in-chief for The Orchards poetry journal and a member of Saratoga’s Authors Hall of Fame. She is also a member of The Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. www.clgrellaspoetry.com