Finding My Footing by Monte Brogdon
And then I wake at four and five and
However, it is not time. I wake at eight and it is
Not time. At this time, in my head,
In my bed. I find my footing, walking,
I move my fingers, across the keys,
Making music with my words
Noon comes fast, I find my footing,
It comes out of nowhere, then it’s gone.
In my chest and in my head.
I find my footing,
Oh heart of darkness hear my plea by Laura Hand
Oh heart of darkness hear my plea—
Your inky blood must flow
To stir the marrow in my bones
With ardor you bestow—
Set free my words before the end—
Our final acts conferred
On paper—for all eyes to read—
My essence hence interred
The brain may falter, fade, degrade—
A feast for worms divine,
But immortality is gained
When our two fates align—
Pray grant my fountain pen your grace—
The nib so humbly bows
In gracious praise and awe enthralled
By lines your death endows—
Because of you—I feel no fear
To greet eternal night—
The vulture's beak is kept at bay
So long as I can write—
Pollen by Laura Hand
Sunlight creeps over the peaks capped with snow into the valley of sleepers. Stealing up to my windowsill, it cuts through the glass and absconds with my dreams. French roast trickles into a porcelain cup and calls me to worship. I sip salvation and watch clouds carry the last whisps of my sleepiness across a mirror of aquamarine. A breeze twirls through the almonds, caressing petals born yesterday. The bees dance and serenade the blossoms. I can hear the doves coo in their pine branch home as they greet the rays of spring. The neighborhood tabby sits watching the finches chortle and splash in pools of dew with a smile. Butterflies flit from lilac to iris to lavender exploring the yard as it yawns and stretches toward the sun. My pit bulls erupt from the dog door causing a flurry of wings and a hiss of disdain. They rampage through the grass, sending clods of dirt to greet the sky. I watch as they wrestle themselves into a panting heap with their tongues lolling out. I step outside to soak up the day, but alas, it's the pollen that takes my breath away.
Dressers by Hannah Leece
There was a time when home was
A Fresno trailer park where flamingos
Stand in the summer grass, and Tim and I
Woke up to the smell of chocolate chip pancakes.
I take my Hannah Montana hairbrush
From the tub that held my tennis shoes,
Barbie dolls, and gel pens
Since there was no room
For a dresser or nightstand.
My hands burned from the water
Dad cleaned the dishes with,
Drying them while I stood
On the step stool next to the door.
There was a time when home was
Mom met Bob from her Dell laptop,
She saw the Coast Guard cap
On his head and they caught
The Boeing 747 to Washington-Dulles,
Leaving behind parents and siblings
But not children.
I read Divergent novels in my bedroom,
Which sat next to a tv that played Friends.
I ignored my essay prompt
On my Lenovo laptop next to the tv.
Mom and Bob’s room was down the hall,
Where he kept his badge
And she kept her Live, Laugh, Love frame.
But what if Mom hadn't met Bob?
Her tiara might not have sparkled
Walking down the aisle
And she might not have lit a candle
In my grandfather’s memory.
If I had been a Viking at Kingsburg high
Instead, I might’ve driven a 1997 Toyota Camry
Whose check engine light winked
At me from the dash.
My dresser might have a college fund piggy bank,
A Japanese cherry blossom perfume,
And my medicine bottle.
Would my mom and I be best friends?
Maybe her Canon would have
More pictures of me,
Waking me up in the bed we share
With a flash of the camera.
Maybe our biggest fight
Would be about dresser space,
Who should have the space
For nail polish and makeup.
Who I Am is Not What You Want: Lines taken from Stuck in Love by Janelie Garcia
As I stood there staring I was overcome
By the oddest sensation.
I remember that it hurt.
Looking at her hurt.
Watching her with this man was
Like turning on a familiar sitcom
And realizing they had replaced one
Of the lead actors with a stranger.
I'm not jealous.
I just was…I don't know
Putting your heart on the line?
It's not that easy.
This is Kate, my friend.
Just my friend.
I can't live like this anymore.
This isn't a “phase”.
I love everything about her.
She and I
Are going to be friends.
But I don't want to be