Thirty-eight Percent

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By Debbie Taggio

He won’t do it again
He promised
Brown petals fall from roses
Replaced by new blooms
Red.
He sees red, quick to anger
I stay quiet – do everything right
A mouse, scuttling along skirting boards
Hold still; it hurts less that way
Violet this time
Secret marks, hidden
I make sure, no walking into doors for me
He won’t do it again
He loves me
‘You’ve got a keeper there,’ they say
Broken.
Broken jaw, broken ribs, broken promises
Broken spirit.
Yellow now,
Fading bruises, fading self
Pushed too far
Silver, steel…
He won’t do it again
I love you.

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Threads

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By Dawne Zirley-Leight

You don’t realize this (probably)
But in you
I see the promise
of an infinite horizon and
that
is why
I wait.

Sometimes lately,
During quieter moments
(all-too fleeting)
I find the space to be mindful
To breathe
To choose
which warm threads will line the womb into which I crawl
And there you are
waiting also
for me.

If you see this (and
I doubt you do)
think of me
or
of anything
at all.

Plunge

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By karishmagoenka

Descending the rope

Into ever-deepening shades of blue

Releasing pressure with every foot

Leaving behind the world I come from

Dusting words and woes

Off the blackboard of my mind

Passing through the void

Into another dimension

Where silence is the norm

And sound has no source

Mind waves bend just like the light

Nothing is how it should seem

One must reforge the most basic instincts

For this is not familiar territory

Although time here is as fleeting as air

I hear the tingle in my skin whisper

Welcome home stranger

Months in and out

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By Dev Murphy

The Event of You is like a tunnel:
I walked through,
tentatively at first,
but picking up speed as my eyes got used to the dark,
and when I hit the wall at the far end,
when I realized the path was blocked after so many miles,
I,
feckless,
disoriented,
and feeling like oceans,
turned around to make my slow way back.
But to return to the entrance
and the way that I was before
is a crying and a sleepy task,
for I left my vitality
at the dead end.

     
Dev Murphy’s fiction and poetry have appeared in AshBelt Magazine and her art has been featured in The Esthetic Apostle, The Underground, and Silver Needle Press, and is forthcoming in New Ohio Review.

Back Then

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By Rickey Rivers Jr.

You wrote a bunch of poetry about me.
I don’t know why.
You’ve never once told me how you felt.
I guess it’s easier to express yourself,
in that way.
I understand,
but still,
I wish I knew.
We could have actually gotten together.
I was single,
back then.

     
Rickey Rivers Jr.’s work has previously appeared in everydayfiction and Fabula Argentea, among others.

Whatevuh

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By Michael McGibney Whelan

It’s a word that shrugs its
Shoulders throws the whole shebang
Overboard yet doesn’t actually abandon ship
Tolerates a stupidity by dethroning it
Knows what doesn’t really matter
And so it carries pins to prick
Pompous balloons and
When told they don’t
Serve wry bread
Rolls its eyes
And sighs

What-evuh

     
Michael Whelan is the author of the poetry collection After God. His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Galway Review, and Little Patuxent Review among others.