Sweaty Summer Bodies

By Ann McGriffin Each unmistakable odor unique to us all…what we ate for dinner the night before,garden onions, freshly butchered beef, strong sweet tea,an absent morning shower,it all oozes from our pores.Whispering our private novelit mingles together beside the Linton pool. Happy to escape from Mother’s gaze.Dirty words create an imagined worldof grown-ups with cigarettesContinue reading “Sweaty Summer Bodies”

Patches

By Terri Clifton Patches was born with his smile stitched on, if that is what you call being stuffed and stood upright. And even if his smile hadn’t been so carefully sewn, he couldn’t have helped having it upon seeing the sparkling eyes of the child, her curly head hanging over him as he wasContinue reading “Patches”

insecurities

By Leslie MacGillivray My inability to drown out the overwhelming authority of my inner voice has enabled it to have a choke hold around my words for most of my life.  I thought it simply must be a character trait of being a woman it certainly has been a necessity for being seen as a good daughter. A protection against thoseContinue reading “insecurities”

70th Birthday

By Bonnie Maurer Wave after wavewe leap crashing surf,let our bodies flap and flailand swallow the sea—allbut swallowed by the sea—studentsto frothing power. At 70, 10 or 21,we can know our lessons well, tossedsideways like the moon snail.You and I sit together, my love, and watch the ocean. May the percussionof wind and water never cease.Continue reading “70th Birthday”

dissonance

CW: mental illness By Jazmine M. Lampley The bed creaks as she tosses and turns. The pillows, though supposed to be fluffy and comforting, leave her head as if she is laying on bricks. Her own body is something she can’t rest in, skin prickling and crawling though nothing is there. She bats away theContinue reading “dissonance”

Waiting to Bloom

By Crystal James As a prepubescent teen, I imagined blooming like a flower by eighteen. On that day, I’d be declared a woman, and I feel differently about my appearance. Whenever I felt down on myself, I imagined this version of myself in a coming-of-age tale. It was a full-blown fantasy starring a boy fromContinue reading “Waiting to Bloom”

In Response to Myself in the Garden While Dwelling in Grief

CW: If you’re Christian, the poem is heretical. By Keira Perkins I am the god of small things.I am the god of slugs,And spiders,And bees.I rescue those that creep in the dirt from steel bladesI lift those that scuttle from deep and impassable watersAnd those that pierce my skin and draw my blood, live.They live.IContinue reading “In Response to Myself in the Garden While Dwelling in Grief”

Unsafe

TW: PTSD related to anti-black racism By Kerry Jo Bell I feel unsafeIsn’t that every black woman’s woeEvery time she opens the doorAnd enters this mediocre white mans worldThey deserve to be in a cageYet they roam the streetsIn their white sheetsDisguises as police uniforms Black. Woman. AngryThe holy trinityMakes me scaryBecause I embrace allContinue reading “Unsafe”

Someone Else’s Turn

By Erica Lee Smith It’s not eavesdropping if other people’s words find their way to you when you’re just minding your own business. At least that’s what she tells herself, as she stands by the open window above the kitchen sink, inhaling the fragrance of day lilies that she had cut earlier that morning andContinue reading “Someone Else’s Turn”