My Uncles - Kimo Armitage

 

My uncles

 

heave the sea turtle onto

the makeshift plywood table and

sharpen their knives on a wet stone.

 

By the time they are done

the turtle’s bones and carapace

are cast aside in a pile.

 

I put my hands in,

feel the force 

that it once was,

and understand its majesty,

this life that swam oceans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

KIMO ARMITAGE draws upon the rich stories of his childhood, spent in Haleiwa, HI, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents.

Armitage published his first novel, The Healers, with the University of Hawaii Press in April 2016.

Wrinkles - Amy Kotthaus

 

People stare at the wrinkles on my hands.

I’m pretty sure they do.

These hands shouldn’t look this old;

I’m not. 

It’s the constant washing.

Change diapers- wash.

Go to the bathroom- wash.

The moisture is gone,

and the skin puckers,

especially at those knobs

of bone at the wrist.

The soap triggers a rash 

along with tiny cuts that sting 

under scalding water.

 

Making chicken soup leaves a mark.

Start with clean hands- wash.

Rinse and peel carrots- wash.

Repeat with celery- wash.

Cut ends off and peel onion- wash.

Dice onion with new knife- wash.

Rinse and cut chicken- wash twice.

Cook soup- wash.

Eat.

The lines on my knuckles deepen

like so many hash marks

keeping track of how many times 

I’ve cleaned them today.

 

I wonder if people question why

there are so many bandaids

on my fingers.

I once told a phlebotomist

that I got attacked by a rooster;

to explain the bandages, I mean.

Really, I didn’t want to chance

getting blood from the last patient

in my cuts. 

It seemed more polite 

than questioning her methods. 

 

Cleaning bathrooms is a process.

Start with clean hands- wash.

Place clean hands in gloves.

Spray vanity with bleach cleaner.

Wipe faucet, 

then countertop,

then sink.

Throw out gloves- wash.

Don new gloves.

Apply toilet bowl cleaner.

Throw out gloves- wash.

Don new gloves.

Spray toilet and seat with bleach cleaner.

Wipe down.

Scrub toilet bowl gently

so as to avoid splashing 

toilet water up towards face.

Throw out gloves- wash twice.

 

I don’t touch buttons with my finger tips

but with the knuckle on my pointer finger.

Too late I forgot there was a cut there,

and I pressed the elevator button.

I called my primary care physician

to see if I should get tested for…something.

No? 

I called my OB to be sure.

They’re in the same system.

Did I just call my regular doctor? 

Yes, but the OB would want to know, 

like when I shook that moth

off my belly and thought,

perhaps, I shook the baby too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

AMY KOTTHAUS is a writer, translator, and photographer. Her poetry has been published in Ink in Thirds, Yellow Chair Review, Haiku Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Gnarled Oak, and Section 8. Her photography has been published in Storm Cellar, Ground Fresh Thursday, Crab Fat Magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Digging Through the Fat.

You can also find her here - Twitter: @amy_kotthaus

One Thing - Hayden Bergman

The one thing I think I know

About mythology is that Apollo

Pulls the sun across the sky.

With a job like that

His house must be amazing…

But it must be gloomy when he’s gone

Me, I’d like to take my pitchfork

And break in while he’s working,

Use my star to light it up again.

I’d rearrange the furniture

Give it that mortal feng shui

And get drunk on his head-splitting wine.

Also (If I know me) I’d jerk

Off cause from that view

You’d look damn good.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

HAYDEN BERGMAN is a writer living in Abilene, TX. He is currently enrolled in the M.F.A. program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Tues Morn / Irreverent Y - Shareen K. Murayama

Tues Morn

i threw a big dinner party

w chicken bones on

plates in the sink leftovers.

i slept w a girl w short hair

who loaned me her art

for tues wed n thursday.

but i didnt see thm.

i was trying to explain,

whn the sound of wheels

of my husband's suitcase rolled

down the hallway.

i wanted to hide the beautiful

girl w short hair.


Irreverent Y

On the occasion of my partner C’s autopsy

 

They cut you from each shoulder joint

to the middle of your chest

where my head would vibrate to your deep, deep voice:

  a sighing of a hundred bees

beneath a white cotton sheet

 

 

 

 

Shareen Murayama.jpg

About the Author

SHAREEN K. MURAYAMA received a Master's in creative writing at OSU Cascades. Her poems have been published in Bamboo Ridge, The Gambler Mag, Toegood Poetry, Phoebe and Inter|rupture. She’s the recipient of the NEH Asian American Film and Literature in NY & Spring Creek Project Collaborative Retreat.

You can find her stalking her #poetcrushes @AmBusyPoeming, unless, she's uhm, you know, po-eming.

Winter Must Come for I Must Fall Out of Love - Madison Nanney

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

MADISON NANNEY is a 19-year-old college student living in Mississippi with her mom, dad, and little fur child, Bella (a feisty black cat who hates almost every human being she has ever met). Madison attends Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS, majoring in English.

She has recently been published in the 2017 edition of Itawamba Community College’s literary magazine, The Calliope. 

Lies in the Dark / Moon's Truth / Tidal Love - Jessica Simpkiss

 

Lies in the Dark

The taste of their sin still lingered on her lips, his scent still etched into her skin

In the shadow and safety of their late night love affair, he whispered words that squeezed her soul 

There would be a price to pay in the end, and the currency would be her pain

Lie to me again, she begged

And so he told her that he loved her

And it was the most beautiful lie he had ever told


Moon's Truth

We laid silent, sweat-stained skin pressed against the others as we listened to the rain fall above our whirling heads.  Upon my grand exit, my love-struck eyes were greeted by the sight of the yellow-Cheshire moon hanging over the dew-rinsed meadow.  Always such a beautiful sight to end our love-crazed nights; I stood in awe of the passion of the evening.  Memorized by its beauty, I almost missed the sound the gun made.  I turned as the pain struck my back to see blond hair in a tangled twirl; my last earthly memory, the moon’s grin upon my sinful ways.


Tidal Love

His love for her was like the tide 

A constant ebb and flow 

Powered by the controlling moon

So jealous of their love, the heavenly body never let them touch too long 

But sometimes when the moon loomed heavy in the midnight sky, his wave embraced her long enough for him to whisper his love for her

In the salt that splashed against his skin 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

JESSICA SIMPKISS lives and works in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her four-year-old daughter. She has a degree in Art History from George Mason University. While she has always loved writing, she is returning to the art form after a ten-year hiatus, in hopes of finding her voice again.

The Autumn Wedding - Danny P. Barbare

 

Such

an

autumn

wedding

 

I’m

reminded

by

the

trees

 

driving

home

 

the

color

of

the

gas

heater

flames

 

warm

like

the

crowd

 

the

tasty

wine.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

DANNY P. BARBARE has recently appeared in Humanities Education Research Association and Hollow and The Santa Clara Review. He lives in Greenville, SC with his family and dog Miley and works as a janitor.

5 Snapshots in the Rain - Michael Estabrook

 

in the rain - 1

 

blonde in a green parka

eating a banana

walking

beneath an umbrella staring

at the ground

 

in the rain - 2

 

blonde eating a banana

in a green parka

walking

beneath an umbrella staring

at the ground

 

in the rain - 3

 

blonde in a green parka

staring at the ground

eating a banana

walking

beneath an umbrella

 

in the rain - 4

 

blonde staring at the ground

walking

beneath an umbrella

in a green parka

eating a banana

 

in the rain - 5

 

blonde in a green parka

walking

beneath an umbrella staring

at the ground

eating a banana

 

 

 

 

 

Michael_Estabrook.JPG

About the Author

MICHAEL ESTABROOK is a recently retired baby boomer child-of-the-sixties poet freed finally after working 40 years for “The Man” and sometimes “The Woman.” No more useless meetings under fluorescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he’s able to devote serious time to making better poems when he’s not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.

Don't Go Vinyl on Me / It's Hard / Too Much to Drink? - J. H. Johns

 

Don't Go Vinyl on Me

You sound like a broken record,

saying the same things every day,

so, now- 

 

Baby-

 

let me put it another way-

 

whatever you do, make sure you

 

“…don’t go vinyl on me…”


It's Hard

It’s hard to have

city street-smarts

 

when you grow up

in the country

 

on a dirt road.


Too Much to Drink?

If you scribble

something down-

 

a thought, an idea-

an insight-

 

when you’ve had

too much to drink;

 

will the indecipherable script

that you try-

but can’t-

read when you’re sober,

 

suddenly become

“clear as day”

 

when you try again

after having

 

too much to drink?

 

 

 

 

About the Author

J. H. JOHNS “grew up and came of age” while living in East Tennessee and Middle Georgia. Specifically, the two places “responsible” for the writer that he has become are Knoxville, TN and Milledgeville, GA. 
Since then, he has moved on to Chicago- for a brief stint- and New York City- for a significantly longer stay. Currently, he is “holed up” in a small town where when he is not writing, he tends to his “nature preserve” and his “back forty.” His goal is to surround his house with all sorts of vegetation so as to obscure it from the gaze of the “locals.” He is assisted in this task by his coonhound buddy and companion, Roma. 

Most recently, J. H. Johns has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch; Parody Poetry (2); Syndic Literary Journal (8); Ygdrasil (Canada); The Poetry Super Highway E-Book (Chapbook) Free-For-All; The Rain; Party & Disaster Society; Poetry Super Highway (2); Pour Vida Zine; The Potomac (2); Foam:e (Australia); Literary Juice; The Lost Coast Review; Syndic Literary Journal- Publisher’s Favorites; FishFood Magazine; ken*again; The East Coast Literary Review; Exercise Bowler; Four and Twenty; Commonline; Danse Macabre Du Jour (2); The West Wind Review; Smokebox; Word Slaw; Wizards of the Wind; Alura; and is forthcoming in Torrid Literature Journal and The Five-Two.

I Want to Cup the Sunrise in My Hands - Kathrine Yets

 

Pallid Sundays without him.

Cerise sunrise pools outside my window

into amber, drips of sun gem’s gusto

in a rippleless puddle.

I enjoy none of it.

But once he’s here,

my mind fractures into kaleidoscope—

chapel stained-glass windows

at 6 in the morning

when only the pastor is praying.

I am yellow. I am cerulean. I am silver.

I am orange with crimson blotches, burning

his retinas.

                            Why are you mixing every color in the clouds? he asks.

My dear, our world is a crystal’s aura.

Don’t close your eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

KATHRINE YETS lives in West Allis, WI.

She spends her nights as a closing librarian, who hides behind her desk reading and writing.