“Watering Flowers” by Cecilia Martinez.
Meet the poets of Issue Seven!
I was sixteen, over-medicated,
too stoned to remember
what it was I said that morning
that my father took offense to,
probably something like:
It helps with my appetite
and you’re the one who said
I looked too skinny. Did you not?… READ MORE.
You say there is no Heaven.
Fly with me now across the world
to a breast in one country,
as long as the people are starving.
It does not matter where.
A desiccated breast. Sere.
Clinging, an infant, boy or girl?
Doesn’t matter… READ MORE.
My Mother’s Body
I dreaded seeing it, but seen, I saw in a stroke
it wasn’t hers. Alive, her mere presence was rock
to my flint: when struck I’d spark. In the end I
blazed and burned. Now: no presence no fire.
Her body, like all inanimates, was only stuff,
human outside, yet oddly neutral, cool to touch,
slack, disconnected. Death’s surprise… READ MORE.
I split the afternoon
with my girlish body to find God in a garden
rubber soles grazed plush grass, hills awestruck
near the sky. I touched my knees to the soil, barely stirring
yet sprinting across a history into a future unknown. I longed for nothing
but God, the way He made things again—I wanted
to be a thing made again… READ MORE.
Linda McCullough Moore
Garden of Eden | Sacrifice | What Faith | Muddy Water
The serpent—snake, when he’s at home—
devil of a guy, slender/slim, nice suit, good haircut,
selling pomegranates door-to-door,
a Jesuit, a Pharisee, his mother said he’d make a lawyer.
Up right–snakes walked the earth—but hardly upright.
Be upstanding, as they say at the Old Bailey.
But posture isn’t everything… READ MORE.
Nithya Mariam John
My prayers are unclothed; quite contrary to the pompous Pharisaic garments.
There are no frilled, ornamental words to aid the supplementation. Like the woman
at Simon’s house, whose tears were worth more than her alabaster jar,
my incoherent tongue lies dormant many a night, my heaving chest
wrapped tightly in sighs. I wish I could address the One above properly—
Rabboni, Almighty, Elohim—but stripped off all glorious titles, I lean
on to the pillow and talk to it… READ MORE.
Mary Eileen Ball
Your face a walled fortress,
A tongue tasting ash and whiskey
the soft fragrance of avocado from the yard
and the gentle puttering of chickens.
Each night the rented kisses—
knife wounds, gashes—
leak the last of your innocence
onto the petate… READ MORE.
The woman I counsel asks me if I will pray with her
That’s it. She just wants prayer. I ask if
she wants anything else. No, she says,
just prayer. So we pray. Her hands are
as prevalent as the walls. That is all
the room is: hands and walls. Her
fingers cling to her fingers, as if she
is trying to hold an angel cupped in
her hands. We delve into prayer… READ MORE.
Mary Grace van der Kroef
Presence wrapped in particles.
Within an atom’s womb.
Cradled in creation’s sum.
What does it mean to confess our sins?
Bring them to God again and again,
“sorry, this is a thing I did,”
toss it at Him, “handle that wouldya,”
and disappear, guilty feelings cleared
off we go on our way… READ MORE.
Mary Hills Kuck
Early Sunday morning in Jamaica
rays of sunlight slipped through crannies
in the chancel of the church I loved,
sending shifting halos on the heads of priests
who preached and prayed and praised… READ MORE.
Rachel Michelle Collier
LUCY CHALLENGES THE SUN
A little girl, standing, double-twisted ponytails expanding by the millisecond in the gross humidity of Mother Mississippi’s breath. Five barrettes are gone, three barrettes are barely hanging on; her tiny rubber bands are slowly starting to lose hope. Let’s call her Lucy. Lucy chomps a piece of gum determinedly, switching it from side to side, counting all the minutes, blowing bubbles, building up her jaws to make them strong for yet more gum. She is six years old, and as she presses bubblegum she sets her eyes upon the sun, sees another challenge, sees another way to build her strength. My eyes have lots of melanin, she scoffs, I can take you on. And this is how it starts… READ MORE.
Holyday in Zurich
A holyday in Zürich
can be known by the stigmata
of teenaged beer spilled
along sidewalks astride the papery
shells of old Ronald’s farmless edibles,
revealed as the sun rises
to meet only the ghosts
of suited creditors and racewalking Bahnhof-hoppers… READ MORE.
Rust and Tears
First came the miracle. Madonna wept with us, or perhaps
because we had forgotten her. Blood against stone. Tears
like the Volga, flowing tidal, no time to brim. The prayers
we had not spoken aloud were finally answered. A renewal.
This open wound of a woman, come back to life. Come back
to awaken us like the gentle stirring of a cold broth, a warming… READ MORE.
Tiffany Nicole Fletcher
The Woman with the Issue
Did she experience the lifting?
The lifting of the chains that happens
when the affliction is no longer there—
when that part of you has evaporated
in the healing touch of the Risen One;
when it is no longer a part of you;
when you are no longer a walking wound… READ MORE.
I would have preferred snow
Obliterating mud and gravel with intimate forgetful beauty
Like love covering a multitude of sins.
Instead ice pellets bombard
The frozen accusing dirt
Bitter on the weedy path of wanderings left behind… READ MORE.
The Light in the Nightclub
We thought the lights had come on
but it was just her illuminating the hall,
rays refracting through the sweat on the walls,
through our glasses and into our eyes.
Like food at a shrine, we offered her pills
of all colours: the red ones made her wings
swirl then twitch; she munched on white ones
like dried apple pieces; the blue ones made her
speak in tongues through tears… READ MORE.
Donna Kathryn Kelly
Things the Internet has Ruined (Modesty)
in dresses to ankles
the sun is perfect
the river praises them
these spirits who blush
If I Could Tell You, I Would
Please don’t ask me where to find him, for locations of fire and cloud pillar
and gap-mouthed riverbeds. Would you believe me
anyway? What if I said look at my hands, the callouses on my fingertips
from sliding them across the pages of my red leatherbound Bible, would you say
God was there? Beneath my palm centuries pass, the Jordan is crossed,
I feel the cartography of milk and honey, consult prophets, sit in the shade… READ MORE.
Heart of Gold
Built like a fullback
he patrols the outdoor
mental rehab facility
like a football is in-hand,
a tree trunk of a man
uprooted by the tug-
of-war he came home
to in every conversation… READ MORE.
I scroll to distract from thighs that wail
as I pedal—struggling to sustain 100 watts.
Tethered to tedium—rake, hammer, hoe—
I seek solace from the static scenery
of my garage. Then I spy
100 churches singing a blessing over New York City
so I click, hoping that this five-borough band
will escort me into fullness of joy… READ MORE.
Vanity and Dust
Vanity and dust,
Dust and vanity—
Is that all we are?
Taking and getting
Only to lose all to
That cheater Death?… READ MORE.
soft warm breeze
rustles the bevy of volunteer calla lilies
on late winter’s bare branch… READ MORE.
Bleary eyes, sinews, joints,
I wash away
the day’s remains.
And I think:
I want to di(v)e... READ MORE.
Through each wrist, nails burst
into sanguine tears
that fall on the dust
made sterile by sweat
and serpents’ tongues… READ MORE.
Consider the Lily
Lambent petals unfold
their cool fragrance
like angelic hands
cupped to hold
the pistil and stamen’s
sacred flame… READ MORE.
The Problem with Dreams
In my dream the cottage
was topped with thatch.
The sound of the ocean
was all around,
but I knew it was really it was the Lord
reciting a poem
over my shoulder… READ MORE.