I have given you the alphabet
its geometry of angles and curves
its music and mouth feel
and now you want to string it
like the painted macaroni you necklace for me.
You want to set the letters in motion,
to see yourself take shape.
So again I give you your name,
the one I whispered when you arrived
brick and bruised from your passage.
You copy it in red crayon and wobbling hand,
scratch it on the driveway with chalk,
recite the letters from your car seat,
engraving them in the air with your fingertip.
Other words will come in time,
from abacus to maelstrom, melodious to zygote. I hope you pluck and savor
each one like a peach fresh from the branch.
Soon, I will teach you the carpentry,
how words hammered together hang
like doorways–how reading is an exit
and writing, a welcome mat.
Lauren Cerruto loves the taste of words, especially when they are well prepared. She has a BA in English from the University of Virginia, where she studied poetry with Greg Orr, Deborah Nystrom, and Rita Dove. Her poems have appeared in Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, The Journal of NJ Poets, The Paterson Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Cliterature, Poets Online, and in a final exam at West Point Military Academy. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook and a novel.
pushing your world into safe shapes
keeping Truth buried in a pine chest
letting you dream of frontiers beyond this house
of trails that are safe
unlike the stuffed toy in your keeping
ripped every day from your loving.
You do not catch it as it falls.
You are the one who drops it.
Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist and mother of three grown children, currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, she writes about social relations and the moral dimensions of power. Erbacce, CHEST, Ofi Literary Magazine, Transnational, and 34th Parallel are among the venues her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in, and she is the author of the weblog, Ferguson and Other Poems About Race: A Chapbook (2015). In the 1970s, Clara studied with Adrienne Rich and now studies with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.
She looks into the mirror
as she dresses for her first day
of college, unsure of the beauty
emerging in the curves
of her face, and so full of hope.
I want to take her face
in a hold that is gentle yet firm,
and tell her to keep faith, that
there is a life like she imagines,
with someone who will see her,
who will feel her,
who will know her.
I want to hold her with a fierceness
that would scare her, and tell her
to mother the babies, not the men,
and to warn her that not all
who have vision will use it
with the best intentions.
I want to make a salve
that lets her know her worth
and rub it into every pore,
into her very soul.
She draws a breath, sets
her shoulders, and for the first time
I see the grace in her arms
as in wings poised for flight.
Sharyl Collin started writing poetry about four years ago. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Mason’s Road Literary Journal, Wild Goose Poetry Review, *82 Review, The Intentional and Lummox.
We didn’t want to go home
after a month of living with our tía who fed us Hohos and Pepsi,
who let us stay up past midnight,
let us sleep in till noon,
let us walk to the pool alone,
or spend all day playing Mario Bros.
Call us traitors.
Could you blame us?
With our home so freshly haunted
by your fallopian tubes,
your ovaries, your uterus,
sliced from your youngish body
by the cold edge of a doctor’s knife,
my sister and I, at thirteen and ten,
nothing but reminders of a trick
your body by force
gave up to the Ghost.
Did we know we were cruel
when you came for us, and we wailed,
hid under our cousin’s bed?
Does any child ever comprehend
they hold their mother’s Everythingness
inside their small fists?
How they might summon
with their adolescent nerve, Medea,
from spent, half-eaten women?
In that suicide trip
back to our house on Viall Street,
you unlatched your seatbelt,
tears erasing the yellow dashed highway,
your foot like lead on the gas till the dead
hills and slight patches of green bled
color into earthen color outside our windows,
the desert flashing its mad smile.
To this day we can’t remember
what my sister said, only how
the tone of her voice, flat but superior,
urged your foot from the petal,
compelled your hand to wipe the wet
from your eyes and let us live another day
inside the stew of your multiplying regrets.
Kristy Webster is a writer, artist and mother of two. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and her Bachelor’s Degree from the Evergreen State College where she majored in creative writing, visual arts, and feminist studies. Her work has appeared in several online journals such as Lunch Ticket, Pithead Chapel, The Feminist Wire, Shark Reef Literary Magazine, Pacifica Literary Review, The Molotov Cocktail, Connotation Press, A Word With You Press, A Fly in Amber and in two print anthologies by GirlChildPress. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.