How One Leaves the Country of Her Rapist
Pain, simply, can be a journey if you believe
there are rules to finding, like desire, a dark room
inside of you where every animal nicks your throat
if provoked. At nineteen, even my clothes
were breathless. That’s how I wanted my body
to be taken, how one leaves the country of her rapist:
transfigured, pleading with air. How little one must feel
gaped open like that—a keyhole in a drought
shaped like a fish, disbelieving the survival of light.
Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick’s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Gulf Coast, Salamander Magazine, Salt Hill, Plume, The Texas Observer, PANK, Four Way Review, Harpur Palate, and Passages North, among others. Hardwick serves as the poetry editor for The Boiler Journal.
If you’re reading this it’s already too late . . .
Oh Brian, quit scaring the children.
Tell them instead the story about Andromeda,
rescued by Perseus, astride Pegasus,
a creature so divine that springs of water
gushed forth where its hooves touched the ground.
You know, the white horse with the wings,
thought a symbol of poetic genius.
Foaled by the Gorgon Medusa.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, has published over 1,900 poems internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle, and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets, An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy, Like As If, and Hearsay.
A stringy smile and button eyes as cold as your own
Every time I hurt,
you can too.
I stitched the mouth closed
Silencing you like you did me
The red pins give me the power I’ve been longing for
The power you hold
The power I deserve
I place one in your heart
Like you did to me,
Concentrating on my desires
Concentrating on my intentions
Petitioning the spirits to act on my behalf
Unbothered by karmic backlash
I’m only settling the score
I hold you tight
Caressing your cloth exterior
Before I cast the ultimate unforgivable spell
Haley Hall is a junior at Michigan State University. She has had a love for poetry ever since getting drawn in by the works of Edgar Allen Poe in sixth-grade English class. This is her first publication.
Lines for a Misfit
Resist the box,
don’t let them put you in there;
your soul is a fox,
but one without a lair.
Resist the box,
and all the petty mayhem
of those who put a pox
on everything that isn’t them.
Resist the box,
and all the narrow views
that make Fort Knox
the limit of our daily news.
Resist the box,
stay large and free
and calmly unorthodox,
in what you choose to see.
Martin Mc Carthy lives in Cork City, Ireland. He has published two collections: Lockdown Diary (2020) and Lockdown (2021). His most recent poems appear in Seventh Quarry Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, The Orchards Poetry Journal, The Road Not Taken, and Lighten Up Online.
A Clot Moved into an Artery and a Clock’s Hands Sat Still
He stared at his image in the mirror as it fell into shards on the bathroom floor.
His wife picked up the glass, each of the pieces, and placed them onto a table
where they sat, like jigsaw puzzle shapes waiting to be reintroduced to each other,
one by one, until they would become whole again.
But after hours of trying, she could not get them to fit together
within the frame from which they had fallen.
Her husband’s eyes were missing their pupils. His nose was bent,
as if he had been a boxer in a gruesome bout
left with blood across his face dripping onto his chest.
His mouth, forever smiling, was dour, as if it had bitten into rancid cheese.
In the ambulance, she asked the paramedic if he would recover his former self and was answered
with shrugged shoulders and a slight shaking of the head.
The puzzle remained incomplete,
shards missing from his daily life,
the mirror incapable of reflecting light.
The pieces of glass were placed into a box and were laid to rest under the bed
where they remained
until the house,
from years of disuse,
Barry Green is retired and lives in Ashland, Virginia, where he writes poems and short fiction and, somehow, gets by.
On that gray day, you chopped the Steinway piano with an ax.
Surrounded by yellow and red leaves on the hard earth,
you raised your arm to smash it all apart.
I could only wonder. You were a man raised to think
crying was weak. Strength and power should define you.
Men like you couldn’t voice their secrets or despair.
You shattered the instrument, exorcising its shiny veneer.
Resin-impregnated paper, dovetail joints, wooden ribs,
and polished mahogany scattered around you.
Slowly the curved outline of the piano became a ragged mess.
The soundboard heart cracked. Small planks of air-dried wood
joined the miscellany of strings, keys, and padded hammers.
I thought of my mother, the day she moved out,
how you changed the locks and emptied every closet,
destroying each vestige of your shared lives.
If I had left the window to join you outside,
I would have seen your tears,
glistening strings on the soundboard of a broken soul.
James Mulhern’s writing has appeared in literary journals over one hundred and fifty times and has been recognized with many awards. In 2015, Mr. Mulhern was granted a writing fellowship to Oxford University.
Matt Borczon is a poet and nurse from Erie, Pennsylvania. He has published 16 books of poetry so far. His latest, Saved Rounds, is available through Kung Fu Treachery press. He publishes widely in the online and small press.
David Clode on unsplash