Full and Plum-Colored Velvet | Anne Graue

I never saw The Electric Horseman.
I was making out in the back with Mark,
my first real boyfriend, in the velvety
rocking seats in the expensive Glenwood
theatre in Overland Park; I never saw
the lighted cowboy suit or Robert Redford
kiss Jane Fonda. If he did, I didn’t care.

I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show
with him. He showed me what to do
and where to shout “No shit, Sherlock!”
and when to ask about the symptom
in antici—say it!—pation of Frankie’s
answer. The Bijou in Kansas City
reeked of dried semen and stale beer,
but I smelled Old Spice and wintergreen. Continue reading “Full and Plum-Colored Velvet | Anne Graue”

2 Poems | Olivia Libowitz

She Hems

Her long, bent fingers pull relentless. She holds the suede skirt
against her knees. “Everything you ever tear, bring to your Grandma.”

Grandma learned to knit outside Brookside coalmine, the men inside
the tunnels, bringing her worn slacks, and socks, and she obliged.

Obligingly she takes my split seams between arthritic knuckles
And mends them patiently, pausing to brush my hair before bed, a hundred times.

A hundred times she sat beneath the mountain, and toiled smoky hours
with a needle and thread, singing Jean Ritchie and sewing tarry trousers and cotton. Continue reading “2 Poems | Olivia Libowitz”

Starfish | Kate Garrett

Every day I sit on the rocks and wait for the tide to come in and chase me inland. Clara says it’s because of the stars and where they were when I was born. Today she starts again, before I’ve even gone.

I think you’re actually a crab, Sunny. You skulk around at the edge of the water looking interesting, then you pinch people when they try to touch you.

She’s got a point, but I argue anyway. Why do you play with mud and fire, Clara, if you’re supposed to be a fish, little mermaid? Why not come down to the beach with me and let the tide carry you off?
Continue reading “Starfish | Kate Garrett”

2 Poems | Amal Rana

the taste of freedom
(for my father, for all muslim fathers)

this morning a father sits in jail
I sit in the garden
this morning a father is put into solitary confinement
darkness his shroud before death
I lie back
bathe in the endlessness of blue skies
this morning a father is tortured with water
skin breaking over damaged bones from too much pressure
I turn on the garden hose
luxuriate in escaping sprays of coolness on sun-heated toes
water gold orange red tomatoes
this morning a father has tubes shoved down an already shredded throat
breakfast forced into a brown body
like tiny serrated blades catching on flesh not meant to be pulled from itself
I sit down to the first meal of the day
savour each bite of eggs Continue reading “2 Poems | Amal Rana”

Faith in a Folder: Words and the Savage Search for Motherhood | Robin L. Flanigan

I wrote it all down. The procedures, the pregnancies, the losses. It’s all on torn notebook sheets and the back of to-do lists, between receipts for fertility drugs and an article about the miraculous power of holy water from Lourdes. In a plastic folder I keep in my desk drawer, there are tens of thousands of words. Begging words. Optimistic words. Defeated words.

I’m a journalist, so I document things, even off the clock, wanting to create a record that my memory will inadvertently alter or discard over time. I savor the mundane details—the brown boots I wore while doctors investigated my fallopian tubes, the smile I faked when a colleague shared she was nearly four months along—because they root me. To write that I questioned and overanalyzed would have been too vague. Continue reading “Faith in a Folder: Words and the Savage Search for Motherhood | Robin L. Flanigan”