Issue 1.32


Reaping

Today may be the last
good day to pull the lemongrass.
But where are my gloves, shears—
the tall reeds are razors
that lay tiny cuts upon my
cheek. I did not know ‘til now
how sharp a thing I’d grown.

Anna E. Fullmer is a Library Assistant at Cleveland Public Library in the Youth Department, slinging story times and songs about the ABCs. She sings in a band and misses playing shows. She writes songs, poems, and to-do lists. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rat’s Ass ReviewVersificaiton, and Dreams Walking.

Fruitbearing

At this point the juice of pomegranates & blueberries have stained my innards, dyed them the black of congealation. The grazed sheep falls half-starved after a diet of madder leaves. Come the mid winter rot, the brief thawing, that reveals the corpses with bright red bones.

Like the farmer does not plan for a thaw, I did not plan what my body would look like the next morning, Would they have noticed the juices staining my fingers? Taken their own drink from the bottle of concentrate & the echo of desperation? Or would the world have been impossible to describe. Not dissimilar from the way one would paint a blueberry in its impossibility. The way it in no way resembles its; name purple on the outside, green on the inside &

What then of the pomegranate? Persephone, a god never having known hunger, lifted the rubied fruit up to examine them in what little light followed her descent. Her downward spiral. & declares them to be her final choice. Of course this elixir was the best choice to wash down the pills. Make this the final escort for did humanity not create Charon & the Grim Reaper because we are afraid to be lonely?

Persephone was not thinking of her mother when she put herself below & how the flowers would later shrivel & die. When I chose an end, the middle winter was raging & the carefully tended garden was blanketed. How easy it is to forget about the bloom when it is so far behind us.

Rachael Gay is a poet and artist from Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, The Laurel Review, Rogue Agent, Ghost City Review, Gramma Poetry, FreezeRay Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review, and others as well as the anthology What Keeps Us Here.

The Pulse

has its origin in a beating heart.
            The azalea blossoms: purple
                 vines ensnare the metal feeder

near the evergreen hedge; the wind warning
            this morning begins its rustle and stir.
                 We have raised the blinds out back

and we take care to pack what is fragile
            in the garage. The desire to protect
                 what is ours flares in us like a wildfire

on the Diablo Range outside Salinas.
            I’ve heard the Santa Anas sweep their brooms
                 over creosote and manzanita as we sang song

after song of forgetfulness over the cursed howls.
            Who wrote you don’t know what you’ve got
                 till it’s gone? We do not lie in bed all morning

chalking our wistful desires on the walls of our memories
           but wake to batten the hatch, only to discover in the act
                 itself the flow and the force of the rush and hum.

The blood right now is quick to circulate. Caffeine
            and a good night’s sleep, maybe, or perhaps
                 it is that I notice the cardinal’s flurry of wing today.

Years ago, we climbed into the empty vessel
            of a slot canyon in Arizona. In this way, we too
                are here. Wind carving memory into the clay.

Synonyms for Emptiness

Vessel. Shell. Container. Pit. Valve. Corrugated Iron. Husk. Space. Air. The ethereal. A flute. A flu. Glass pane. Tree no longer standing. Exercise without action. Sprout never gone sapling. What you don’t know. Or did. Or maybe. A swift vacillation. No station playing. Static. Omnibus with no riders. A vacant pool. A projector’s cut cord. Wormwood. The overthunk. The trunk of an elephant sans body. Gnat with nowhere to go. In between, the back and forth, the side angle. The shimmy and dive. The loop upon loop. Wave with no crest. Inside the atom’s insides. Telescope with no image. Phone sans receiver. Between you and me, the great field, clearing. Spotted fawn with no mother. The mouth’s slow opening. An oval. For miles. Only clover.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. Recent poems have appeared in Radar Poetry, Glass: A Poetry Journal, Typishly, The Shore, The West Review, Journal Nine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, SOFTBLOW, The Penn Review, and elsewhere. Her new book, ANIMAL, is coming out in May 2021 from Futurecycle Press. Find out more at: https://www.aliciamariehoffman.com/.