POETRY

S p r i n g  2 0 2 2

Death Yclept

Alexander Dickey

 

She watches the crows

Planted in a windowside recliner

The tumor wraps around her colon

Strength sapped from the soul

 

There is a reaper

Scythe whetted in his rest

For the blade will come down soon 

And I will suffer 

 

Fields of black and green

Illuminated by a harvest moon

I’ll be there mourning 

The sheep that no longer wanders

 
 

Flowering Thoughts

Avonlea Stiles

Then use this ink to free me

Knock down my walls, unblock my memories

Sink your hook deep in the thoughts I won’t think

And pull them to the surface so I can see

Find a word or rhyme that resonates

Water it, let it grow roots

Shoot it at the page, a pessimistic cannonball

Let it roll off the tip of the

Pen the tragedies and hidden joys

So the wounded child can finally bleed

Without feeling like a goddamn burden.

Aphrodite’s Kisses 

Sawyer Cantz

 

Footprints in the sand. 

Stars kissing the water. 

Hands and fingers intertwined. 

Laughter bubbling out of 

Smiles too big to keep concealed. 

We feel drunk on sea water 

As we walk in the dark. 

The breeze pushes us together 

And in each other’s arms we stay 

Looking at the gently pulsating tide. 

The waves ebb and flow. 

The foam grabs our toes 

Like Aphrodite’s kisses. 

These nights feel endless 

Just as the night sky 

Melds with the ocean ahead.

 

In Passing

Alexander Dickey

 

In a daydream I reviewed an army

At a celebration to commemorate 

My various shortcomings

A brigade of past loves

Marches down the boulevard

Blank faces turned to me

Read an expression of indifference

 

I can’t see beyond this veil of grief

Scenarios of “what if” flood my basement

Impossible water seeps into the subconscious

When I look out a window blurred by a blizzard

I’m greeted by echoes of the lovers’ brigade 

Time and formless words follow behind

And those too pass me by

 

The Milky Way is Watching 

Sawyer Cantz

 

When we lay together 

In the mid-April grass, 

You lamented you couldn’t 

See the stars. 

“Too much light pollution,” 

You cried, your palms 

Facing the night sky. 

You talked about the lake, 

How on that orange dock 

You could look out and see 

The Milky Way, 

Right at your hometown. 

I can only remember how 

Warm your body was 

Against the dew on the greenery, 

The yellow of the incandescent 

Lights behind your silhouette. 

On that mid-April night, 

You fell asleep in my arms 

Under the invisible stars, 

And the world was holding 

Its breath, knowing something.

Beautiful was in bloom.

 

Ethereal Analysis

Alexander Dickey

 

Dreaming

The moorland breathes deep

Red sprites cleave through fog

I stumble over my own feet

Soil scraped into palms

With every step I feel disjointed

An arm bent where it shouldn’t

But no pain registers

I’m on the march unending 

Towards another weary night

 

Meaning

I had been nostalgic 

For times when empty thoughts

Trickled like water from a leaky tub

Existence numbs

A picture that’s not in focus

Up to my knees in boredom

That rises to the neck

Waiting for a moment

That might happen

 

Memoir

Kayla Mattison

There was a time in my life when I felt used.

            My heart and body were destroyed, tethered, weathered.

            Used as if it was a napkin at a restaurant to clean a messy baby’s face,

            Used as if it was an old pencil to write a lengthy essay for an English class,

            Used as if it was a rickety playground, my younger self was looking and said: 

            “Why did I let this happen to me?” 

There was a time in my life when I grew up, and still felt used.

            My heart and body were being destroyed, tethered, weathered. 

            Used as if it was a condom at a frat party to practically ‘get the job done.’

            Used as if it was another glass of liquor to throw back and numb the pain.

            Used as if it was a beating bag for the average person to get their anger out.

 

There’s a time in my life where I am still growing up and I am over feeling used…

             but somehow still let myself fall short. 

                          I just want my childhood back and to be forever young, but let’s be realistic with each other.

That’s not the truth, it’s never the truth. Nor is what I ‘supposedly went through.’

 
 

Horizon

Alexander Dickey

I.

Dearly departed saddle the pony

On Charon’s barge

Bare feet stomp on crooked wood

One more sunstruck moment

Before curtains finally close

 

II.

The club is downstream

If one wishes to go

In a haze of gray geese

Warm lights wash over the body

Baptized under influence of nightmusic 

 

III.

Abandoned on shores unforgiven

Bouquet of flowers nipped in their buds

Shear the wings so this dove can’t fly

What good is the number two anyway?

The Lord only deals in threes

 

IV.

I must remind myself

That it’s not just a wink

There’s a twitch in the eyes

Tides pull me down

Once control of the wheel is lost

 

V.

The days move past me

Like comets in night skies

Happiness captured turns to

Dim pictures hung in hallways

Which old ghosts will I meet?

 
 

Closure 

Sawyer Cantz

 

Dear Grandma, 

Hello. This is a letter 

From the land of the living. 

I wonder if you miss it. 

How is Hell? 

I want to know how 

Hot the black flames 

Are on your frail white skin 

As the fire sears you to your bones. 

Are you haunted by me? 

By the memories you forgot? Ones 

Of your venomous words as 

They burst through your 

Chapped lips to stick 

My heart with the laced arrowhead? 

Are you glad you saw me 

Before you fell asleep that night? 

Because you knew you were dying, 

And I knew you were dying, 

And as you held my hand, 

And as you said goodbye, 

I actually felt something. 

I felt something for you in 

Those last few hours of your life, 

Which is more than I felt 

In the past three years of your sickness.

Because when I saw how the 

Tumor took over your skull, 

I could see the human being 

That you forgot you could be 

Before the cancer took your body hostage. 

But, nevertheless, I am cruel, 

And I can never see past the vile, 

Putrid ideologies and beliefs you 

Held true to yourself. 

And Grandma? 

I hope you burn. 

I hope you burn to a point where 

You are even more of a 

Shadow of your former self. 

Love, Your Grandson

 
 

The Aristocracy

Alexander Dickey
 

I.

I am the Prince of Detachment

Estranged from the practical

My vacant estate devoid of pageantry

Overlooks a lake unpolluted by life

I sit the throne among my court of shadows

To yearn for what cannot be seen

To long for what cannot be obtained

 

II.

I am the Count of Sleepless Nights

Silent wanderer on moonlit paths

Through ancient valleys 

Purple robes torn at the seams

Pus oozes out from open blisters

In an endless search for a green bay

To lay to rest my tired bones

 

III.

I am the Forgotten Sovereign 

Who rose from the dead

Pale skin glows in faintest light

 A realm reduced to flowers with no petals

Ramparts entangled in vines

Life is a dream of splendor

That migrates through the world’s ruins

rOCD

Katelyn McKeone
 

How could you rob my future?

Petals fallen into crusty, mangled figures

Dying, you make everything die

My love, my death

 

I have a disease

I am disordered

And yet you say I am cured

You say my disease is health

 

The best thing that ever happened to me

He was

But now you’ve stolen my feelings

Kidnapped my emotions

 

Supplied me with poison instead

Poison when I’m with him

When he was the only cure

He gave me my future

 

Stop telling me I’ve fallen out of love

Stop saying he’s not good for me

Stop pretending it’s too good to be true

Stop begging me to walk away

 

I know you’re scared, but don’t be

There is no easy way to escape

So don’t look for one

Let yourself feel and fall entirely in love

A Letter to Hephaestus

Avonlea Stiles

I am sure it hurt

when your mother threw you away

When she mangled your leg

left you broken

Was it cold,

that cave you grew up in?

Or was it warm like the fire you symbolize?

You used your difference to your advantage

Who would ever fear the lame?

The ugly and wasted?

You showed them why they should

Forging weapons of mass destruction

Prepared divine armies for sacred wars

You showed them that you are whole

Brought back to glory at Dionysus’ hand

He may have flown you up,

but you proved you are worthy of being there

You made Olympus proud and me prouder

For you represent the rest of us

The weak feeble and small

I thank you for lighting the torch,

and passing it to those of us

who are in desperate need of light 

Rip 

Sawyer Cantz


The worn red Converse sit, unused 

With scrawled signatures 

And abandoned memories among the 

Stained laces. There are holes 

Along the seams of the foxing, 

Caused by years of friction, though the 

Sole is now cold and hard to the touch. 

 

The once grooved toe bumpers are smooth

And the vamps are caked with dust. 

The branding is nearly gone, the red and blue ink Fading into white vinyl. The smell of old sweat,

Gone stale with time, still radiates from the canvas. 

 

The shoes have sat now for four years 

Hardly seen. They hide under the shelves of new Shiny shoes. Shoes that fit better. Shoes with more Uses. They are a memory, slowly fading away over time. There is still pain there, when the red Converse Peek out. Sometimes, they are picked up, held, Wept over. They could have been worn so many More times. They could have had more 

Adventures, times in the sun. 

 

But here they sit. Alone. Cold. Held with 

Reverence and love and despair. They were

Loyal shoes, but sometimes shoes 

Get too worn too fast, and you have to put them

Away. For another day, red Converse.

 

Poetic Verse

Jonathan Pires

So dig your

expressions deeper,

into your fettered ethers.

Once we walk,

we will learn to run,

reaching out towards our unique suns.

Asking for bright lights

when all we saw was her night,

though this permeates our fates,

you know that it's not too late.

I'm sure it's okay....

 

Defective

Avonlea Stiles

Weight on my brain

Cotton fluffed consciousness

Why can’t I make my bed

Why can I only lie in it

 

I am okay

 

Drink the fog away

Thin the blood

Burning liquid gone tasteless

Teeth decayed like my being

 

I am okay

 

I chase the dopamine

Smoke filled lung pain

Mixed with adrenaline I need

To not feel so defective

 

I am okay

 

Barnes & Noble

Caterina Hansen

“Get him a book, reading is all he has left”–

I hoped you didn’t hear my father

Utter those words from the busy kitchen.

You remained on the couch, with your nose

In a book, a balloon by your side. You tucked away

Your latest read as you were presented

With your Oreo ice cream cake.

We all sang happy birthday for the last time,

Watching you use your weak breaths to blow out 

The candles numbered ninety-two. 

It’s quiet for a moment, almost peaceful. 

Just like moments we’ve often shared;

Trips to the library, and reading by the lake. 

A brilliant man and a granddaughter who aspires 

To read as many books in her lifetime as he did.

So now I wander the aisles of Barnes and Noble,

Hoping to see you on the cover of a western. 

 

The Dangerous Tread of Procrastination

Caterina Hansen

I don’t know what to write,

At the mercy of deadlines

I’m afraid I’ll be here all night.

 

I hope this doesn’t come back to bite,

Equipped with an empty imagination

I don’t know what to write. 

 

Have I procrastinated out of spite? 

With a fledgling grasp of the craft

I’m afraid I’ll be here all night.

 

The claws of college hold tight

In the abyss of dismal assignments.

I don’t know what to write,

I’m afraid I’ll be here all night. 

 

Toxic Behavior 

Caterina Hansen

I guess you could say I grew up as a 

“Daddy’s girl.”

 

I picked up the 

Sharp pieces and rough edges

Of this broken man, 

Embedded them into my heart, 

Sculpted them into my brain. 

 

I am an over-confident, insecure,

Anxiety-riddled powder-keg

With a god complex. 

 

I can’t help but say what I think

As I think of it.

No hint of sugar 

To sweeten my bitter thoughts.

 

I can’t help but speak over others,

Clearly what I have to say

Is more important. Just like Dad, 

I get the last word.

 

I can’t help believing

I’m the smartest in the room.

I undermine, nit-pick and judge

The intelligence of my peers.

But that’s what Dad does

So it must be okay…

Right?

 

If I can’t help myself now,

How will I know when to stop?

Is it only a matter of time before 

I become addicted 

To the abundance of his 

Toxic behaviors? 

 

The Lone Expo Marker

Kayla Mattison

small, boxed classroom

15 tawny desks rowed

kids giggling in a flock 

I stand on my own

 

the rigid yet polished pencil

passes and slips between my

fingers, like my unyielding, shaky 

self confidence

 

taking the deepest breath of

the air, fumigated with aroma of

marker...the scent of learning

 

my face turned to the

glowing beams portraying

through the windows

 

it was then I began

to giggle

I savored

success

 

Burnt

Caterina Hansen

Sunlight filters through the kitchen window,

Dancing with the smoke of the oven. 

The smoke alarm threatens to scream as the front door opens

Letting spring air cleanse the incinerated crust and darkened cheese.

The spices my mother has sprinkled on top of the grocery store pizza 

Forever haunt my kitchen.

My father curses, but my mother only smiles.

 

“Mhmm, I can smell it!”

“That means it’s burnt.”

 

The love between a pessimist and an Italian who can’t cook.

 

The Dreamer and the Con Man

Caterina Hansen

It was a beautiful manor, in old Victorian style

Gothic architecture, but each level 

was a different color, 

as if it were a six-tiered rainbow cake.

No, but it becomes extraordinarily odd.

You see, there's sheep–

Yes! Sheep! And ravens too!

The sheep remain outside, 

soft white wool and dark black snouts.

But wait, Sir! It becomes more unsettling!

The ravens and crows, they perched in my hair

and held their talons tight

in my eye sockets. They only released 

by the call of their master.

But then my teeth–

Yes! Teeth!

As the birds returned to their cage,

they all fell out. Every last tooth. 

What are ya in for?
What can I do for ya?
I’m the dream man, the best
interpreter in town.



 
An old rainbow mansion?
Perhaps, you need to listen to others’ opinions more?
By the sounds of it, whatever’s to come in the future
is hopeful.
Good fortune! Great Happiness!


Sheep?



Verrrry interesting. That could be more
on your future of happiness,
or maybe, you’re disintegrating
under the pressure of a peer.





Oh dear, corvids are never a good sign.
Say goodbye to your future fortune.
Those sneaky bastards have already claimed it.

Teeth?



Have you lost something meaningful to you?
Is it what the corvids stole? Are you mourning
the loss of what would have brought you prosperity?
 
My advice: Get searchin’ for what you lost
before one man’s misfortune
becomes another’s bed of roses.

 
 

Listening to Springsteen with My Grandfather

Mackenzie Meyer

Gravel in a tumbler spinning somehow in tune.

Melodic sandpaper-on-hardwood, accompanied by an acoustic hum.

Somewhere in the strumming, my heartstrings have replaced those of his guitar.

Each pluck reverberates through me,

ricochets against the walls of my hollow chest;

drumbeats birthed where my heart stands still.

As if lilted by the song, Chronos steps aside,

and for a moment time becomes spherical.

Within that instant burgeons the warmth of countless memories;

a kaleidoscope of gemstone moments, priceless and well spent.

Each extends its arms with an embrace so reminiscent

of your own.

 

What is Grief?

Mackenzie Meyer

Fingers 

tightly 

clutching 

memories, 

as if to fold 

them back 

into shape;

weld together the fragments of 

a life that remains only in our dreams.

 

The heart can’t take another puncture.

Knife wounds                       to the chest 

whenever                               your name       

is uttered                                from well-                   

meaning                                 lips that 

did not know they were armed for war.

 

Suit                                             of armor 

  around                                    the mind, 

    to shield                                    it from

     the concept                    of mortality.

      Religious texts              strapped to 

       our sides                     like guns to 

        convince us the spirit endures.

 

In your absence, the home that becomes 

just walls;

a box of 

mementos 

that we didn’t realize you were 

filling.

Each window 

a portal 

through which we long to see you coming home.

 

Street Parade

Alexander Dickey

I.

Black hearses drawn by horses

File down the boulevard

Coachmen hold up lanterns

That pierce through the sleet

Tall figures make up the crowd

Slender bodies concealed in woolen coats

Their darkened eyes follow the floats

Munch replicas framed in faded gold

A market is held at the roundabout

Roadblocks placed at the curves

Vendors sell bouquets of bleeding hearts

Troupers act out a sacrifice at the obelisk

 

II.

In those days of wine and roses when we met

My chest fluttered upon blue eyes

The intrigue of you embedded

In the back of my mind

On the porch gentle breezes rolled

We leaned on the balustrade side by side 

Unrequited passion turns to waking nightmares

That filled this vessel with deepest regret

Time’s river erodes the stones

Youthful wildfires diminish in strength

Self loathing turns up in sleepless nights

Resignation focused in milky moonlight

 

III.

Out on the promenade the week before

I thought I saw you step out

Halted my steps and watched you go by

Click of stilettos echo in an empty street 

The grandfather clock tolls at the hour

While I waited in vain for a call back

There’s no easy way to unfold a soul

After the tone of a voicemail

The procession then turns down my way

Solemn vows were made to never fade 

Such promises are silver plated

As I cast my lot with the phantoms

The Solitary Chair

Jack Sossner

The final step into a crowded room

A broken chair in the center

The world around me laughing

My legs are tired

I’ve come so far

I take a seat

I fall apart

The room is silent

But the world is there

Watching me rest

In the broken chair 

Cold and damp

A little tipsy

A part of me that died long ago

Trails behind me

I take a breath

I’m out of the chair

A broken man 

On the road to know where

In nowhere’s sorrow I trudge ahead

Walking into the valley of the shadow of death.

 

Twelve

Mackenzie Meyer

The atoms between us repel more than they should

because I never got to touch you.

To feel the soft skin of your shoulders,

gentle arches of ivory that tremble beneath my fingertips.

I never met you in the forest 

where the moss could have dampened the voices 

of doubt that echoed in my head.

I never heard your pulse quicken as all other noise diminished

the sound of you, only you, reverberating until

my heart matched your tempo, your fervor.

I have experienced the deepest of loves

though none so Llangollen as we desired

and you are there in that forest, always.

Waiting, without me.

 

The Rock

Jack Sossner

As the light grew dimmer I waited on the rock.

The wind rippling through my spine

flickering like the hopes I once had to fly.

So faint, the fluctuation of light reminded me what my face looked like.

I hadn’t seen it in years.

I hadn’t bothered to.

The haze of yellow and orange grew fainter 

once more.

And the light grew dimmer

My heart became cold

Paralyzed solid 

Feelings frozen. 

 

As the light grew dimmer 

I no longer yearned to walk 

So I sat there on the rock 

Merged with sediment

Still but aware

As the light grew dimmer 

The people around me keep moving because the light is fine for them

But it’s not for me

I hear the pitter patter of feet around me 

It doesn’t bother me anymore.

 

As the light grew dimmer 

I no longer heard the feet 

or the sorrow around me

What I had was enough

Just me and my rock

Unmoved in equilibrium

Solid and steady

The light went out. 

 

Lost in Degas

Jack Sossner

I stood by the girl at the art museum

She was lost in Degas 

Her eyes entranced in the brushstrokes

Their transcendent precision puzzled her

I try to see what she does

The beauty between the brushstrokes

As I dive deeper into the painting

An explosion of colors and emotions

My eyes drift from Degas to her face

I came to see the art museum 

But the art came with me.

 

May He Come Home

Casey Garner

window woman

longing for morning

wakes to desire

    their ocean

 

marble ghost decays to liquid

devours caramel glass

    sacred

        young

 

slow bleed of concrete fire

porcelain steam embrace

blush

    on

        blush

 

fragrant dance

to a ferocious tune

grazes over vast

    e x p a n s e 

 

champagne breath

velvet mist

wild    feverish things

always

    end

 

Digest

Alexandrea Scarchilli 

Gag on whatever

you desperately

hold onto

 

Unsavory sacrament

tossed in 

stomach acid

 

Spit your bullshit in

my hand; 

I’ll run my tongue

along my palm 

one more time, 

and over again.

 

Freedom on Fourth Lake

Tiffany Gates

Rowing in rhythm,

the ladies surrounding.

Love and light.

Protected, yet vulnerable.

Soaring through the dark liquid.

The feeling is incomparable.

As the sky darkens,

she opens up.

Rain falling upon the lake.

Becoming one with it.

Upturned face.

Becoming one with nature.

Accepting the energy from the water.

From the sky and the lake alike.

Harnessing freedom.

 

The Window Bird

Jack Sossner

A beginning ends as our lips connect

The pain inside remains

A river of regret

Flows by my ankles

To a world within my brain

A bird sat by my window

He told me of the rain

A typhoon of emotion

A tsunami of pain 

I hate the bird for sitting there

His whispers in the wind 

The still creatures shadow beckons

For me 

He taps to let him in

An electric shock from within my heart

The world around me dark

I saw a bird and talked to him

As the ending starts

 

Glue

Tiffany Gates

We are bonded.

 With a glue that seems impossible to dissolve.

Sisters by choice.

Bonded by glue.

Gorilla and Krazy.

Yours is yours.

Mine is mine.

The glue will continue to hold onto our psyche,

No matter the solutions we use.

Liquid speech or salty fluids.

Holding on to the thing that made us who we are.

We were never taught how to remove it.

Bonded by an impervious glue.

The only positive?

You have me and I have you.

 

earl grey between the sheets 

Alexandrea Scarchilli

heavy heart, hopeful; 

open mind, outline 

black lace 

fingers that traced your stubbled chin 

left that life to dance on the edge of my own 

pleasure principle 

led me to some place where i can sing out of tune so soft, and sweet breathe into ears that long for succulence 

like milk kisses honey settles into hot tea 

let me melt into your chilly bones; 

lick your soul clean

 

Monachopsis

Casey Garner

n. the subtle persistent feeling of being out of place; unable to recognize the ambient roar of your        intended habitat, in which you would be fluidly, brilliantly, and effortlessly at home.

 

I

 

molasses bleeds across an

expanse of crushed velvet

seeps into pores

names them home

 

II

 

a white rose lies on

damp     cold cement

petals stained from weather

stem crushed     abandoned

 

III

 

the brittle leaf drifts

along the surface

slowly taking on water

struggling to stay afloat

 

IV

 

a needle nestles between

sticky     off-white bathroom tiles

the grout blacked by time

used     left     forgotten

 

V

 

a teddy bear with a frayed

maroon bow and matted     musty fur

leans slightly to the right

its back against a wooden cross



 

VI

 

the letter is soaked

with last night’s rain

ink now a blue watercolor

left on the doormat

 

Hope

Alexandrea Scarchilli

 

Crescent in my pocket 

Walk the yellow lines on Jolly

The most jubilee - 

fill in the cracks of your cup.

Drink it          

deep,              

loving sunset alive with moon magic.

Your eyes, sink into the warmth - no

high quite like the subtle, sincere

crooked smile of the cheshire cat,

implores you to stay 

just a little bit longer 

to see what is 

down 

the road.

 

The Real Punishment (Postpartum Rage in Five Parts)

Cassidy Blomberg

 

I

Feed. Sleep. Wake. Repeat.

           And repeat. And repeat some more.

 

II

“Breast is best,” they said.

“Sleep when she sleeps,” they said.

             What if she never sleeps? Are there babies that do that?

 

III

I squint through the darkness

to the great love of my life—

to find him snoring and drooling. 

             Piece of shit.

 

IV

My daughter screeches like a siren,

(clearly starving to death—how dare I

let her sleep those last two hours?)

Yet, he is unmoving. Dreaming, even.

             The motherfucker

 

V

I curse Eve for eating that damn apple.

The real punishment God gave woman

was man’s inability to lactate. 

Fuck Eve, fuck God, fuck futile male mammaries,

and dear lover, if you’re reading this,

            I hear there’s no dreaming in Eden.

 

Hibernal 

Alexandrea Scarchilli

I hope it snows, I want to dance in it. 

Surround myself with silence. 

I want to stand, stationary, as the wind whirls and 

soak in the quiet contemplation that consumes. 

I want to breathe the soft, silken, chilled air deep into my soul, inhale the cleansing cool. 

 

I want to celebrate the season in its frozen, frosted glory. 

Pirouette in sync with snowflakes as they saunter across Winter’s bittersweet kiss.

 

Nine

Mackenzie Meyer

Your hand cups to collect raindrops as if to slake your thirst

to taste something sweet enough to bear you

along tides of reverie until you may see me again.

To make moments out of mist until you may see me again.

I want to grasp those cupped hands so tightly that the water 

warms between your fingers, tendrils tracing the lines of your palm,

to see the pools of cerulean beneath your lashes alight

as the heat between us rises.

Our hands clutch a steady boil until it cannot be contained,

released to the ground in a stream that irrigates

the seed of ash tree, planted long before anyone who would record history

had emerged from warm wombs.

Three roots reach deep into the earth, to spring and to well,

branches carry us toward the heavens

where you may better catch the rain.

 

I wonder.

Tiffany Gates

Sometimes, I wonder.

I wonder about what life would be like to have parents that were proud.

Parents that showed me love and attention when I was young.

Without me having to do something to earn it.

Sometimes, I wonder.

Wonder what it’d be like to have grown up with a little more money.

A little more pride.

A little more money.

Sometimes, I wonder.

I wonder what it would be like to live without mental illness.

To live without trauma.

To live free of the void in my chest.

A little more pride.

A little more money.

A little less trauma. 

A little more love.

Sometimes, I wonder.

 

Where the Cherry Blossoms Bloom

Kelsey Krissel

I find myself reflecting back on the time when the days were longer,

when the laughs and colors were brighter.

The way my heart fell for you

like the blossom petals from the cherry tree in the spring.

The time when the cherry blossoms were in bloom,

when my heart flourished with love and happiness.

 

The dainty petals would dance around as they found their destiny,

only sometimes becoming lost,

yet blessing the world with their soft pink beauty in the process.

 

I've learned that the winter months are only temporary,

but the cold sting of bitterness in this winter

is the ache I feel each dark day.

Feeling trapped in this never ending cycle.

I feel the numbing pain of snow that stings my cheeks day after day,

exhausted from trudging on only too long waiting for the ice to melt,

and for me to once again be at peace.

 

I often remember the sweet comforting smell of spring,

now only feeling unable to breathe from that icy air sting.

 

No season can last forever.

 

So until the cherry blossoms bloom again,

while my heart waits in despair and agony,

I'll continue to wait for you to find me.

To save me from this winter.

To take me back home,

where the cherry blossoms bloom.

 

To the Lines I am Sick of Hiding

Avonlea Stiles

To the silver line above my right ankle

from when I broke the sink

to stop them from burning

To the crescent moon on my index finger

a perfect match to the ones on Papa’s

fingertips, rough and gentle at the same time

I see you

 

To you stretch marks

brilliant lightning strikes upon my skin

And to the scars that hide on my thighs 

those grotesque lines I painted myself

And to the art on my stomach

their shadow a macabre Picasso

I see you

 

I cover you because you tell my story

the real one, the bloody one

the Truth

because the rest of the world is not blind

and not so kind

But I See You. 

 

Pieces

Avonlea Stiles

 

I eat blueberry and banana oatmeal on Sunday mornings

when the sun comes through the living room window just right

and makes the air feel clean and holy

the whistle when I walk

and the stutter when I talk

I am made of bits and pieces of you

 

I stop and listen to the church bells when they ring

breathe them in while they ride the wind

Share orange popsicles on summer evenings

the ones with two sticks, sugary sweet

that leave pumpkin-colored prints

on the striped porch swing

I am made of bits and pieces of you

 

I aim for a love like yours

Over 50 years and not one of them wasted

Aspire to be a grandparent like you

Gentle and wise, full of truth

So I thank the stars every night

for making me bits and pieces of you

 
 
Bind 3.jpg

Hey Google, Why Did My Sister Die (Part 2)

Avonlea Stiles

Hey Google

I am told you have the answer for everything

So Google

Why did my sister die?

It’s true that her death saved lives

Mommas get to kiss their babies goodnight

instead of goodbye

because of what they learned from her

 

Hey Google

when do you stop grieving 

the life she might have had

I might have had

Google, how do I rationalize it

Come to terms with the fact that

when she died

the child that was me did too

the one I was supposed to be able to be

 

Okay Google

turn on my happy playlist

turn me back up to life speed

remind me of all the love I got while I grieved

the pacts made and NEVER broken

no words left unspoken

 

Google, show me my pictures

of the beautiful family I helped raise

the respectful young man

and the one blossoming in their teens

show me the beautiful dog I got

to help me fill some of the empty

the one who brought color back to the world

and makes me grateful for what I once despised

 

Hey Google, 

How can I tell my sister

Thank you

 

The Introverted Extrovert

Emily Shufelt

I am a contradiction

With qualities of introvert and extrovert

Sometimes I need my pack

Other times I’m a lone wolf

 

I love to socialize with my friends

My extrovert screams when I don’t

Yet it exhausts me to socialize

I need to rest and recharge

With some time to myself

I just need a minute or more

 

Some days I like to be around people

Other days I abhor it

A battery charged by friends

Yet also drained by it

I love to express myself on stage

The extrovert loves to perform

But shrink when I have to present in class

The introvert knows they judge

 

Yet I think this makes me unique

Some say I’m an extrovert

Others say introvert

But I know I’m somewhere in between

 

F A T

Avonlea Stiles

F             A             T

A word that “can’t hurt you if you don’t let it”

As if it were that simple

As if that word isn’t used as an excuse for disgusting men on the internet

to say we are deserving of death if our tits don’t go past our stomachs

As if it hasn’t been hurled like a baseball no matter what you do, or eat, or say

F             A             T

Not just an insult but a state of being, a label, an identity

When I call myself fat I get “You’re not fat, you are beautiful!’

as if I cannot be both, as if they are antonyms

“Fat cannot equal beautiful!” they scream to my deaf ears

But it can and it does and it will

F            A               T

They spray with their serpentine tongues

yelling “Your health…” this and “Diabetes…” that. Because everyone knows that only affects us

Failing to realize their correlation is disproven, that science is no longer on their side

Where were they when I refused to eat? Besides congratulating me for 

“finally taking care of myself”

F           A                T

Fat can be healthy, if taken care of correctly

Fat can be beautiful, if allowed to be seen as such

Fat can be powerful, a statement against the grain

My fatness shaped me, taught me how to navigate

This society that wasn’t made, for Fat people like me

 

The Tides of Desire

Jack Sossner

When I think of you my mind runs clear. 

   Still draining any negativity from my being.

     Your eyes come in to my mind 

with the morning tide.

     Lingering for a moment, 

          giving me a sense of peace.

Enough that I could die.

                Happiness I never knew existed.

          I want you to stay and embrace me.

                       with open arms I see you smile,

in my dreams you face me

But something calls you back

       It brings you away from me 

as quick you came you left.

  I hope you’ll be back

             That this is not forever

I’m still waiting.

 

The Word It. (Love) 

Josephine Lamica

It sneaks up from behind. You really get no warning.

You shouldn’t fall or stumble, but rather walk when it arrives.

It doesn’t appreciate half-assed commitment,

it’s life long. 

Many people 

refuse to acknowledge it, or even feel it.

These people believe it’s going to hurt them.

It doesn’t do anything

but give you courage.

It can hurt and break someone.

Destroy a person’s self-esteem. Embarrass 

people. Anger people.

That isn’t its fault, that’s fate.

It should always give you

the courage to pick yourself up 

and go find another it.

Wallowing in misery

is hurting you and hurting 

your chances of happiness.

Do not let fear prevent you from walking home to it.

It’s a warm hug. Home.