Corey Mesler, “Suicides We Thought We Needed”

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Suicides We Thought We Needed

Out of the bug-thick darkness,
out of our cradle,
endlessly endless, out of the
rings we draw, the
water we rise from, out of
the terrible swamps
of emotion, out of time, out of
the night’s last wail,
we move on. We move on and
we raise new flags, be-
cause we believe, because we
believe that danger, ah, is still sexy.

 


Corey Mesler has published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and Esquire/Narrative. He has published eight novels, four short story collections, numerous chapbooks, and five full-length poetry collections. His new novel, Memphis Movie, is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press. He’s been nominated for many Pushcarts, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife he runs a bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at https://coreymesler.wordpress.com.


 

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Rebecca Valley, “Silk Scarves”

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Silk Scarves

When I call this time you are in the Japan
where you are learning businessman
as an experiment in getting along.

Last month, in the Japan
where your mother fed you milk
with her thumbs, you reminded me
of budding, and delicately cycled clothes.

I am uncertain where these roses
come from. I watch for animals in the yard
because I haven’t been touched.

When I say these things to you, you are in
the Japan with silk scarves tied to tree limbs,
knotting and unknotting in the wind.

 


Originally from St. Albans, Vermont, Rebecca Valley currently attends the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, as a student of comparative literature and history. Her poems have appeared recently in Poetry Quarterly, These Fragile Lilacs Poetry Journal, and Through the Gate. In her free time, she enjoys flea markets, podcasts, and baking bread.


 

Caitlin McCrory Evans, “Penitence”

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Penitence

I’ve read accounts of women who walked into
the sea after Woolf; pockets weighed down

by small gravel and pebbles; as if the water
couldn’t swallow their guilt whole. I always

asked my students to imagine what their characters
carried in their pockets; the untucked linings

and days-old lint; empty gum wrappers or unused
panty liners; this is what makes them real, I promised.

These things will go through cycles on wash and rinse,
and, still, none will be wholly clean. I’ve failed to wash

any of your jackets in almost two years; I keep
the pockets full as you left them, now with faded

grocery receipts, lists of wines, and grit that has collected
in between the seams.

 


Caitlin McCrory Evans is an educator and writer who lives on the remote plains of Colorado. She holds an MFA from Texas State University. Her creative work has appeared in Burnt Bridge and Garden Leaf Press.


 

Tracy Mishkin, “The Thaw”

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The Thaw

A wren rises, spilling sun
from her beak. Nuns
are buying asparagus
from roadside stands
and beginning to dance.

Winter hardened us,
sidewalks slick and dark,
the wind spinning past,
late for mayhem.
We shrank.

Now we grow affable
as dandelions, cozy
at the center, smiling
like children dazzled
by sidewalk chalk.

We soak in thoughts
of summer like lovers
in a claw-foot tub scented
with clary sage. Our sleep
deepens at long last
into dreams.

 


Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014.


 

Adam King, “Objects in Mirror”

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Objects in Mirror

My mother lies long in the sun.
I am four. I play far away,
Near the shore, where seaweed tangles, stranded.
If she were awake, I would be tiny in her sight.

The white sand, the shells, the waves
I listen to. I wonder why she sleeps.
She wakes and walks down to me,
Sand caked on each sole.
Her bikini, darker blue than sky.
She loosens the clip from her long, long hair
And gives it to me.
I dig a hole and place it safely,
With a heap on top, to remember.

She disappears deep into the rolling water.
I imagine sharks
Until she emerges slick, glistening.
Her tanned thighs throw the ocean to either side.
As I look up and she looks down,
Cold saltwater drips from her face into mine.

I think of ice cream as I watch her wind wet hair
Into a white towel. She ties another around my waist
Like a skirt. I sink my feet into her prints,
Walking back behind her quickly, burning.

She sees my brick-red shoulders
And turns the skirt into a shawl.
Watch your hands, she says,
And the car door slams.
My finger underlines the words
In the mirror, as if I were reading them.
The hair clip the waves will take tonight—
Forgotten, silver.

 


Adam King lives in Silver City, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of H.D.