Issue 1.33


thoughts on a bus from Montreal

I am thinking about the warehouse that lights up like a carnival ride at night. About your head on my shoulder, soft and fragile. The rabbit pulse of your blood underneath my fingers, trying to run away from me. The way our necks fit in other people’s hands as neatly as fingers lacing together. How I could’ve killed you if I wanted to. How I wanted to.

I am thinking about how the only way to make something stay the same is to kill it. I am thinking about the calculus I’d need to decide if that’s worth it, and how I don’t know any calculus.

I am thinking about love. How it edges too close to violence.

How I put my hand around my neck as a form of comfort, and whether I’d let you do it instead.

Joyce Liu is a teenage poet from Ottawa, Canada. When she’s not writing, she can be found taking long walks in the woods and watching Formula 1 races. More of her work can be found in released and upcoming issues of The Hearth, Anser Journal, and Burning Jade Literary & Arts Magazine, as well as at https://colourofinfinity.tumblr.com/.

Rind

After he was scooped
out of me
like the most delicious red
of a watermelon
I wanted to flee
still splayed open
so that what was left
swimming inside
could slink out
onto the operating room floor.
I did not want to remain
a bowl for tragedy
pouring itself daily
into my son’s rooting mouth.

Megan Nichols works as a copywriter and lives with her son in the Ozark Mountains. Her poetry is forthcoming with Pretty Owl Poetry, Autofocus, Cold Mountain Review, and Versification, among others.

haibun for her

                  —after chrysanthemums&ink

there is a saying that goes—once old, there is no younger.

the sky strokes my forehead, a whisper of faceless boughs. half-bitten leaf underfoot. yesterday’s soot on our fingertips. and—above us, an arc of rubble suspended mid-transit.

negative tropism tugs my feet off asphalt, enveloping her hand in mine. i shouldn’t want this, but i do. this, here, is what i opened my sticky mouth to wail for all those years ago. motherland be damned. all that i write about, red lanterns and the road back home—what good does it do if i have no one to confide it to? the rabbit in the moon understands me. and yet—it is silent. an open throat to stick my finger down.

this girl carves pretty words on her fingertips and revives ivory keys with a touch. she’s inky and smeared and faceted. but she isn’t mine. not mine to hold. this girl laughs, sometimes—rubbing alcohol on skin. it stings and it is pure. and it revives. she shines so brilliantly that sometimes i forget to close my eyes, and they burn of something i do not know yet. i think i might, in time.

tonight there is stillness in the eves of my body, a placidity i forgot i knew. leave it all here with me, in my arms. leave it here. when the sun slips out of our fingers in rivulets, i want you to remember this place, the promise of it.

there is a saying, and i forget how it goes. it doesn’t matter. tonight i am younger, and the shifting wind whispers

                  did i meet you like
                  i never knew your face and i
                  think i want to like
                  strangers

Naomi Ling is a Sino-American student on the East Coast, USA. The founder and EIC of Gossamer Lit, she also serves on the editorial team of four other journals. Her works have been recognized nationally by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and Top Ten Poetry and are forthcoming in Eunoia Review, TYWI, all guts no glory, and elsewhere. She tweets unprofessionally @naomilingwrites.