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

For Her Art by A.J. Odasso from Issue #18

For Her Art

Pale girl, willow-slim, sits on a plinth
in the square—sketches the spire opposite, caught

by the rain unaware. And ever since,
I wonder at her face gone still, upturned

to the clouds and the strain, her eyes closed
in serene defiance. In her stead,

I could hardly have done the same, and yet
I yearn to turn back to the time, the place

of this simple belonging. Then, I’d leave
my seat at the table, my hard-won meal

half eaten, fly to her side in the storm,
to ask how she is doing and where I

have gone wrong. Her dress red, her hair golden—
soaked, wind-whipped, and long.

 

A. J. Odasso’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including Sybil’s Garage, Mythic Delirium, Midnight Echo, Not One of Us, Dreams & Nightmares, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, Stone Telling, Farrago’s Wainscot, Liminality, Battersea Review, Barking Sycamores, and New England Review of Books. A.J.’s debut collection, Lost Books (Flipped Eye Publishing), was nominated for the 2010 London New Poetry Award and was also a finalist for the 2010–11 People’s Book Prize. Her second collection with Flipped Eye, The Dishonesty of Dreams, was released in 2014; her third collection, Things Being What They Are, was shortlisted for the 2017 Sexton Prize. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Boston University, and works in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico. A.J. has served in the Poetry Department at Strange Horizons since 2012. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Two poems by Louis Faber

CASSANDRA IN FLORIDA

She is large, and largely immobile
and occupies the bench by the road
that encircles the property like a noose.

She does this each day, a crust
or more of stale bread tucked away
in a pocket of her always floral

housedress that envelopes her
and the bench she occupies
as a monarch on her throne.

The ibis see her coming and gather
at her feet like acolytes awaiting
words from their sage and goddess.

She doesn’t disappoint them, telling
them a tidbit of the world, more often
who was taken sick overnight, who

died yesterday, always a shock
she says, then whispers conspiratorially,
but actually expected, of course,

for everyone here has numbered days,
and then tells them stories of her life,
real and imagined, the veil between

her truth and her fiction now diaphanous.
They grow impatient, but a good queen
reads her subjects and reaches

into the pocket pulling out the crusty
bread, smiles at her flock, says see, I bring
manna and together we cross the desert.

 
SPRING

She says her favorite month
is May, when spring’s grip
is tightest, but most of all
she cherishes the rain.
She is intimate with the rain,
there is a privacy that only
she can concede, if she wants.
She can take a drop of rain
and it is hers alone, she need
only share it with the sky,
it is always clean on her tongue.
She may borrow rain
from the trees, catch it
as it slides from leaves,
or watch it slowly tumble
from the eaves of the house
she remembers from childhood.
She loves walking barefoot
through fresh fallen puddles
as it washes bitter memories
into the willing earth.

Like A Truce by Tianna Hansen

Like a Truce

Backstage blindfolded trust exercise
fall back, he says. Throw your arms to
each side and release —free fall.
Expect to hit the floor, lead ballerina
posed behind you, chocolate eyes,
smirk as she lets you tumble…
but you teeter back and she meets you
open arms like a truce, catching you.
She lifts you in her arms, this flaming
phoenix, magnificent, and you feel
as if you could fly. You feel as if you
can soar. Admiration from the start
destined for friendship or more,
you turn to her, remove blindfold
and look into her eyes, smiling at this
woman glistening before you.
Wrap thin arms around her, whisper
let’s call it a truce— trusting
she will catch you again.
Pull her to the dressing room
and say, can we be friends
abusive pasts we now share
secret keepers, confidants,
she extends her arms, an offering.
fold into her breast, feel tears
well into your eyes and you are
again that little girl, staring up at her,
smell of smoke wrapped in hair,
adorned in silken charred nightgown
wanting nothing more than to find
friendship, everlasting. Wanting
nothing more than to find a light
amidst all this darkness.

 

Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life, specializing in poetry and creative nonfiction with a sprinkling of fiction mixed in. You can find her published work on CreativeTianna.com or check her out on Twitter @tiannag92. She founded Rhythm & Bones Press in June 2018 and continues to work for progressing the idea of turning trauma into art, which is what much of her work focuses around. Find them at RhythmNBone.com or on Twitter @RhythmBonesLit

Savior saves something to destroy by Kristin Garth

savior saves something to destroy

a ten-year-old in corduroy, pink tights
hide peacock bruises, older, new, green,
black, purple, yellow hued. trace thin thigh, bright
outline through pink cotton, aquamarine
dance dressing room where you are seen by eyes
ice blue, carried to you, untouchable one
he would rescue, placed her yawning inside
your bed, “my savior,” just some dumb
half-conscious thing she said, you can’t excise
months later from your head. wet pillow scream
though nothing’s said. resent this spy —
her glimpses, your befouled thighs, mottled cream.
destroyer brought a witness to your grave.
despise this blue eyed child he chose to save.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Anti-Heroin Chic, Former Cactus, Occulum, Luna Luna, & many more. She has four chapbooks Pink Plastic House and Good Girl Games (Maverick Duck Press), Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press). She has another forthcoming, Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). She has a collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony forthcoming (Rhythm & Bones Press) in June 2019. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), and her website (kristingarth.com).