What Have I Done?

By Cameron Calonzo

On the plane to America there was a child
stuffed in the overhead compartment.
I heard it—the soft cries echoing hollowly
through the plastic above my head.
I stared out the window for a while. I stared at my hands.
The flight attendant came by with water and peanuts
but I let them fall off my lap. Felt the ice burn through my sock.
Wished on a star through the glass
but it turned out to be a bird and fell out of frame.
I think I’ve had enough of this life; I want to move on.

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Cameron Calonzo is a high school student from Southern California. She writes “because she is a poor conversationalist.”

Lost Dog

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By Holly Day
(Originally published November 21, 2017)

The parts of my childhood I can remember
are disjointed, unsuited for a house
or a school or a world
made of the stable things I read about
all the time in good books.

I got lost. I am, even now, certain that each new home
won’t be comfortable for long,
clinging to the hope
that we are suitable hosts for each other’s misery. I tell you
home is more than the back seat of a car.
Even leaves separate from trees

before curling up to die.

           
Holly Day’s poetry has appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.

Saccharine Sentiment

By Saturn Guo

often,
on cold summer nights,
i’m tethered
only by moonlight
and saccharine sentiment.
but she whispers,
“don’t go,”

so i
stay.

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“(I write) to put fire in my veins, feel its warmth burn brightly until I implode.” – the poet

The Curtain

By Phyllis Souza

Presser foot down. Sewing machine stitches on linen blend fabric.
A beautiful chocolate-brown curtain covers a picture window.
Six months later.
Swish. Swish. Swish.
Curtain is washing.
Spin. Spin. Spin.
Brown water goes down a drain.
Curtain twists, then huddles to one side of the tub.
Washing machine jumps and stops. Jumps and stops. One final hiccup. Done.
Curtain goes into dryer.
Hot air blows. Lint collects on mesh.
Tumbling. Shrinking. Wrinkling.
Iron slides and glides.
Forward. Backward. Sideways.
Days later, on the front window of a thrift store, gathered on goldenrod, a sad-looking, paper bag-brown curtain.

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“I write not to forget.” – the poet

She Sighed

By Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S

touching the morning’s cold windowpane
she could see the tufts of spring
on her spindly rose bushes 
among the small islands of snow 

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“Why I write.  Because I can.” – the poet

Promise

By Stevieslaw

When I was 10
my dad gave me
a number 2 pencil—
brand new,

with a finely
chiseled point.
“Promise,”
he said

is like this
pencil.
“The eraser
is always

the first
to go—
worn out
or broken off.

After that,
you can only
chew
on your mistakes.

And that dime store
sharpener is,
like father time,
a false friend.”

But I was 10.
what would
you have me know
of nubs

and time’s unappeasable
appetite?
I took the pencil—
another gift.

At ten,
the whole
world
is a gift.

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“I write because I love to tell stories and sometimes I’m astonished at what I’ve written.” – the writer

Tideline

By Sandy Wilson

A sweeping arc of human flotsam
entwined with leavings of nature
abandoned by the ebbing sea.
The immutable, the perishable.

A vivid tapestry of nylon netting,
orange, blue, green. A corked
ocean bottle bearing tidings
of past victories, or defeats.
A plastic bottle, a portent
of future unseen catastrophes
Fragile shells, carapace of crab.
Sea scoured root and branch
washed from African shores
Feathered wing, storm-ripped
on a futile sea crossing.

The immutable, the perishable.
The pulse line of a dying planet.

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“I write to empty my head of stuff.” – the writer

The Future’s Past

By Lynn White

I feel no nostalgia
no longing
to go back
to be part of my past
I don’t look behind me.
I feel no fear either
no concern
that one day
it will catch me to up.
I know that it’s already here
part of my present
with me
waiting
for the future.

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“I write to let the words escape.” – the poet

11/9, America

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By Anonymous
(Originally published 11.9.2016)

I envy
my fellow countrymen, violently so,
these disenfranchised, war-less warriors with a meanness forged in faith
and hammered rock hard by life’s insults, delighting
in the shock—the horror—
of watching
the stinking black abstraction they created,
The “Other,”
made nothing
with nothing:
An amputee scratching at limbs
that are no longer there.

This morning a cold, strange voice
whispered in my ear
Liberty fell last night,
it said,
Broke
her hip, died in the ambulance
of a heart attack.

We thought
you should know.

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“(I wrote this) to process my disbelief.” – the poet

Alone

By Anushka Kulkarni

She didn’t have to date that married man
She would’ve been fine on her own
She didn’t have to put up with the bruises
She would’ve been better off alone
Because alone is not lonely
No matter how many
Say otherwise.

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“I write to drown out the voice in my head.” – the writer