Issue 16.4 – Poetry

First, turn on the lights. Ghosts drift toward shadows. Use the sin of omission as if it was a life raft, and you can’t swim. I can swim, of course. As a child I swam in tanks, throwing rocks before getting into the water to scatter the snakes while my mother doled out advice like,…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

From the colonial gravesites where I walked mourning and grazing with my dog,   to this father’s day, flag-day starred banners curling in the cemetery heat;   in the juniper bushes, three cloudy blue egg-gems huddle in a secret woven nest;   the sudden agreeable sight of comfortable hills folded into passages winding down to…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

I was tuning up and knew today’s the day flat, unchanged note the steel string twanged sharp and snapped   I can’t remember when it was new when had I last made love to my nude guitar all 12 strings unwound from keys now draped to the floor – her 12 pegs rooted just below…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

I don’t always awake with a smile on my lips, or sleep with mystery surrounding me. Sometimes I am day without morning and other times I am night without moonlight. It’s when I get up and see all gray that I am more myself, this soul lost in live shadows and nothing to comfort me,…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

Something about seeing a preserved butterfly’s wings pinned back makes me think about mercy, about how   Nabokov drew each wing as delicately as some braid hair. I would like to unspool each lingering strand of air never touched by harsh animal chaos   and patches of dust never written on by wings. Some days…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

A brief kiss by two lovers on the street, given hurriedly without thought.  Even the moonlight doesn’t make them linger. I say, if you’re going to kiss goodbye do it like you mean it, never hurry.     If my lover were here on this same street I would grab the hair on the back…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

The bed.   first: he braids my hair with threads of silver   second: he puts lilac petals down my spine   third: he leaves yellow marks on my memory foam skin.     The floor.   first: my body grinds like a mill of desire   second: I beg bitterly, with silenced eyes  …

Issue 16.4 – Fiction

Mum says lies are wrong. “But you can’t tell the truth all the time,” I insist as she gets up from her prayer, folds her mat, places it back in its gap on the bookshelf. “It’s not possible.” She gives me the look. She hates it when I do this – carry straight on with…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

They’re no longer doodles on the inside of a Judy Blume book, or the symbol before I signed my name on notes (folded in my best friend’s palm).   I swear I left mine on a bus to Heathrow—back in ‘06, stuck between the blue seats, next to a 50 pence piece.   Or maybe…

Issue 16.4 – Poetry

For Lori   My parents’ antique store was a place of mystery, filled with ancient transients– though well-groomed– wearing their past glory and future dreams in their faded brocade and gleaming wood.   My sister and I romped over scuffed floors, and behind curio cabinets, explorers, curators of treasures— the chair that was really a…