by Sara Malott
I’ve never hurt so badly for someone I didn’t know.
I am working to rehumanize you, to turn your name
back into a feeling, to recover it from passing dinner
conversations. When I was younger, I used to hate
when my parents talked around me. I gathered snippets
like dandelions, but it was never enough to make sense.
I’ll explain when you’re older: worthy of little eye-rolls
and balled fists. Now, I am older and I don’t want
an explanation. I want to hold your children and cry
with them, I want to plaster your face around town
Your candle didn’t just burn out it was snuffed.
In explaining your story, my mother
started by calling you an alcoholic, but I know that yours
was not a simple tale. You are not a problem I need to
solve. I still don’t know how you ended things,
but that has not stopped me from inventing
that night in my mind. I do not want to turn you into
an example. In this poem there is only you and I
don’t believe we go anywhere after earth, but I would
try if it meant getting the chance to meet you. Yes, it
would be easy to say you got dealt a shitty hand, but
this isn’t a game and I’m sorry it was treated as such.
I found out that you liked to write, but I can’t say we would
have sat in a coffee shop scribbling about life together.
I think about it sometimes. To be honest,
I don’t know what any of this means. Processing you
is like trying to churn rock hard cement and somehow
I am always the fool expecting it to soften again. All I can
see is your skeleton hanging in my father’s closet, buried
so far in the back because I think he is trying to forget and
sometimes he exceeds.
But I never will.
by Heaven Angleberger
My mother is a seed.
Life grows from her,
springing up into the open air
as if reaching for the Heavens.
My mother is a wave.
A beautiful blend of blue and greens,
a blanket covering the sand.
My mother is the sky.
So much discovered,
but many things yet to unravel.
She is a planet,
orbiting around me as if
I were her World.
My mother is a blade of grass.
Pointy and sharp, but if you take the
time to know her, you’ll see
a blade of grass soft to the touch.
A blade of grass that can
make a mark on your life, just as
grass stains your jeans.
My mother is Camille.
Courageous and outgoing,
A mile that runs on forever, but never tires you,
Mellow as a mother should be,
Immune to nonsense–
Life is too short for that,
Even though she may not be loved back.
by Gabriella Ganoe
Fall has always felt like a wake to me. A preview, a screening of the death to come, a way to see what living without the Sun will feel like, before its official. The falling leaves are like our heavy tears, the shriveling plants are the words we regret not saying. The wind is the coffin. It’s come to take the life away.
Winter is the funeral. Cold, the tears turned to rain or snow, the grass letting everyone walk right over it. There is no color, only gray. There is no Sun. The Moon has taken over, and even it seems tired. Winter lasts the longest too. They say it’s supposed to last a few months, but the time bleeds into itself, and before you know it, the whole year has been winter. Coats and hats and gloves appear on every street corner, like eulogies or wishful stories. But nothing can keep the frigid chill from seeping into your bones, the ice from frosting over your chest. This is where you lose hope. This is where you’re buried.
Spring comes as the reception. Not everyone has one, and they’re not always what they should be. Sometimes the foods bad, and sometimes, no ones in the mood to talk. Words are stuffed down throats by the cold that lingers under doorways or in corners. Regardless, this is where hope is nurtured. Words are exchanged like thank you cards, hugs are given in all directions. The color begins to return, and your heart begins to thaw. Spring is a promise.
Summer is the car ride home. Company and heat and unanswered questions. You can feel better, but still ache. Whole, but not completed. Around you are the reminders of the things you still have to lose, and the silence reminds you that you will. Summer is a distraction. It causes you to be too busy with the Sun in your eyes to notice the wind beginning to settle over the Earth. It’ll take life as easily as it has all the other times winter has won.
by Aevin Mayman
The world is ending.
The sun slides across the sky,
a smudge like a sick child wiping their hand across the blue behind it as it goes.
The ground pulls, now.
The grass is a wet carpet of quicksand
that yawns wide like a starved child
reaching for food.
A moss covers everything, a sickly green thing
like a tired bar sign, promising only despair and endings and decay.
The world is ending.
When the sun rises it is a fight, like a mangled bird pulling itself away from the road,
the trail of its heartbeats a smear in its wake.
The forests scream, now.
and they echo around the buildings still standing,
a tidal force of primal fear slamming against the crumbling bricks.
The world is ending— but so am I.
I can feel myself dragging along with the sun,
leaving behind a bloody, tired trail like leaves ground against pavement —
I can feel the suffering of the Earth,
of that tired sun,
of that yawning ground,
and I spread my arms — the doors of a funeral parlor — and say
“come here, don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
by Heaven Angleberger
I am from my grandparent’s house. From the little swing on the front porch and the lilac trees out back. I am from my mother dropping me off for sleepovers at their house every weekend. Her picking me up on Thursday afternoons with stories of losing track of the time. I am from disappointment.
I am from arguing with my mother. From telling her that I hated her. Telling her that I wanted to go back to Grandma’s house. That night she had me fill up bags with all of my things. Three bags sat by the door filled with stuffed animals, dora figurines, and size 4T clothes. I am from hopping into the front seat of my mother’s beat up volkswagen. From her slapping my fingers away as I fly through the different channels on the radio.
I am from driving like a bat out of hell down the highway. My mother pulling into a McDonald’s parking lot. I am from my mother ordering a Big Mac and me chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. I am from asking her when we’d go to Grandma’s. From reminding her that she had promised. I am from my mother’s silence.
I am from my dad walking through the glass doors of McDonalds. From his blotchy red cheeks as he tries to pull me from my meal. I am from “It’s okay, dad. We’re going to Grandma’s.” I am from loud voices and being ushered out the restaurant. From my hands fitting into my father’s hands. I am from greeting my dad’s girlfriend in the car. From her hello’s as my dad gets in the car. I am from watching in the rearview mirror. From watching my mother disappear into nothingness. I am from mistakes and new beginnings.
by Gabriella Ganoe
I can feel the power coursing through my veins. It burns, and tugs at the insides of my veins, a beast clawing its way out of my body. But I’m in pain. There is something about it that feels normal, like it’s was working with me. This power is mine. And I don’t have to contain it anymore.
There’s a series of shouts that crowd the air, thick and staggering voices that hit the air behind me. Dad’s probably already called the police; he’s done everything he can to keep me locked away. But now that I know, now that my body is radiating what I was always meant to be, they can’t stop me. Nothing can. Not the years of lies, the constant physiological torture. Not the hand pressing against my chest. It all feels so far away, despite the fact I’ve only run a few meters. The binding is gone. I’m free.
I suddenly feel weightless, an untethered balloon ready to set off to space. The pounding of my feet on the pavement is replaced by the rush of wind against my ears, the ground becoming nothing but a distant memory. The electricity stuck in my veins explodes out through my hands, encircling my fingers like a moth to a flame. I’m the flame. I’m on fire. And I’m burning through the clouds.