i watch women swallow swords / watch them walk on glass / my voice is polluted / i call love’s unanswered name / in liminal space / i want breathing to keep us in transit / your name is a dried-up planet / sand in my shoe is a burial mound / i have a silly wish / kiss me on the wonder wheel / savor loss before descent / erase her graffiti from your mind / stick your smell to me like ocean salt / you are chaos of summer / you are a view into an empty flask / you put this gravel in my chest / i am swallowing swords / i am walking on glass
Home in Reverse
No one can teach you how to approach a fog-lined city
with your hands open to lightning, palms raised
to storm. No one tells you how to understand
the static, hair standing on end before the strike.
They only say that change is good, that fresh air
and a new start can make all the difference.
No one tells you that the footsteps behind you
keep pace with your running, that the rainstorms
you reach for will not wash you clean. You
are a traveler of memories, always moving,
shoes worn through by a pace you keep to leave
the rest of this behind. No one teaches you how
to find room in your heart for new streets.
It’s something you find in the skylines of home
and no-longer-home, something in the blur
of steam rising from concrete.
L.M. Camiolo lives in Philadelphia and loves all things macabre. Her work has appeared in antonym and she is co-creator of Impostor, a poetry journal. You can find her at @shoresofpluto on Instagram.
Living in a Rain Shadow
His riddles are unsolvable, so I just listen to the sound of the words now as he says them, watch his eyes frisk the walls of my kitchen.
We’re sitting at my dining room table together. He’s weaving words again and I’m listening, drifting occasionally, to his past life-debate team, Latin class, the appeals he’d planned. He’s used to my blank look when he speaks, so it’s fine that I don’t really hear him.
The other day, I spoke of him in the past tense, though I knew full well he was out there on the streets somewhere holding a thin brown sign cut from his mattress, his roof.
Bored of my stoicism, he stands and walks toward the living room where the rest of our family sit in a rain shadow talking of floods, watching the barometer. I follow behind him, studying the ways his body has changed, his clothing. On the back of his neck, streams of bright violet emerge from his hairline and disappear beneath the collar of his shirt. I stare, mesmerized. Why? I want to ask him. Does he have the Nile delta in grape on the back of his neck?
But I just look out the window. Check for clouds.
B. Bilby Garton is a senior in the Creative Writing Program at Central Washington University. She lives in a small farmhouse on a native salmon stream with her husband and a cat named Mouse. She has been published in Brevity, Cleaver, and Bending Genres, and was recently nominated for Best of Small Fictions 2020. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I take furniture apart I am beyond caring
Because I like to peel the glue, not from the Ikea kind,
but the heavy furniture made in old factories
that used hard wood, hand run lathes, & dark shellac.
Because wolves circled them, looked for scraps & horse hoof glue.
Because in the middle of the room I take apart the pine dresser
at its dovetails, unscrew the brass hinges. I deconstruct the world,
including me, you, the chairs, our words.
Because I will put it all back at a time I don’t know yet.
We met in a low-ceilinged bar with red upholstered seats & green
Tiffany lamps. I didn’t take things apart then.
Because our meeting dazed me, you chose me,
I didn’t think you would.
Because I dreamed of stripped dressers with dried glue,
I ripped dresser drawers & cabinets, giant mastodon skeletons.
Because I took a thrown-away TV apart & covered our floor
in flotsam: broken seagull bones, twisted shells, things I swallowed
& couldn’t hold down, like a pelican. I break the chest, pry
sides apart held together only by old horse bones,
wisps of millipede scales.
One sharp winter night I stand on the crest near our house,
above the valley & hidden in straight pines that stretch
straight up. Wolves are in the meadow, their backs
arched, tails out, the head-tilted howl their sheen of sound,
ties me tight in the cold.
Because their wildness is their wildness & needs no more,
I put the furniture back together. I sand, & glue, & dovetail.
Now I sit on this pieced together spindle chair. My pieces all
fit together, tightly seamed, ribs to hips, hips to skull.
Lynn Finger’s writings have appeared in 8Poems, Perhappened, Book of Matches, Drunk Monkeys, and is forthcoming in Anser Journal and Wrongdoing Magazine. Lynn is an editor at Harpy Hybrid Review and works with a group that mentors writers in prison. Follow Lynn on Twitter @sweetfirefly2 and on Instagram @Lynmichf.