I forget who I am. Not silk or glow like the skin I was born into.
Not evening song swishing over sleepy bodies. They’re too old
to remember cradle sway, my hands sea breeze wafting them into reverie,
too young to understand how memories can splinter under the crack of unmeasured words.
Not human but sea holly, I crave the hush and breadth of sand dunes but they storm into the room
I am tidying, tossing toys far and wide. Their laughter catches on my thorns, falls in flakes at my feet.
Not human but stargazer, an uglier version of my blue groper nature. There are times they bury me
up to my face in complaints and my scream leaps at them, shocking them into compliance.
There are times I am rock, deaf to their demands, tumbling over the cliff of my sanity. They climb
and climb, seeking the peak of my love. Rock, engulfed in a rising sea, holding their hands as I count to three.
Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly’s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review’s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.
Early autumn, we emerge from our shared sleep haze,
drive Ohio backroads to the orchard for Galas,
delicata, dough doused in sugar so thick it sticks
to our teeth. We pick apples, palm-sized and sun-warmed,
wandering the rows until all we see is September sky,
a choir of trees, and each other: a specific universe,
both familiar and new, briefly ours alone.
Emily Patterson is a writer and editor in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was awarded the Marie Drennan Prize for Poetry, and an MA in Education from Ohio State University. Her work has been published in Spry Literary Journal, Better Than Starbucks, catheXis Northwest Press, The Pinkley Press, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere.
You call me into the playroom where you’ve stacked blocks on the floor, words tumbling off
your tongue as you try to explain the grandeur of the castle you built. Nice I say and turn back
to the jumble of images abandoned on my desk. I was describing the day we climbed a real castle to the top.
Rocks crumbled under your feet, the descent into the valley below steep enough to snatch the breath
from a dream dropped over a wall. Fear cracked in my chest every time you neared the edge
and I played the imperious queen to your unruly subject, my arms locked, unforgiving as iron.
There were no poems towering between us, no silences you needed to scale in order to reach me,
only mother and son, entwined under the sky´s shimmering kingdom. Now, I grapple with intangibles,
how to stack word after word of love on a piece of paper too flimsy to withstand the weight
when you emerge, translucent, a phantom haunting the halls of my mind. Mommy, come see
what I built, you say, face flickering, a slip of a voice falling, falling into a hollow.
Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.
I am grateful for you, my littlest love– for your arresting smile with its row of baby teeth– those newly budded pearls, the sweet orange blossom soap smell in your wispy curls, the nape of your neck, your tiny earlobes, your infectious laughter like a rolling wave, again and again, your soft hand that grazes my chest while you nurse, that finds my hand and interlocks fingers, as if to say, “stay close,” your sweet “muah” kisses on my cheek with your puckered baby lips. your hi’s and bye’s and corresponding gestures, your mini voice speaking two-syllable words with stress at the end for “mom-MY,” “dad-DY,” an unlimited vocabulary– with more sounds acquired every day.
I am grateful for you, my littlest love– for your persistent personality, for your toddler attitude, for your sweet and sour, for the reckless way you play, with wild abandon, with a heart so full, with a love so big, for your obsession with the same nursery rhyme again and again, the wheels going round and round and round and round, for your silliness, for soaking up song and dance, for glances in the rearview mirror, for a car littered with crackers and a seat–sticky and stained, for the endless repetition, for the cycle– nap, bath, bed, repeat.
Morgan Dancy is a full-time working mom who teaches English at a local university. Her husband, 2.5 year old son, and she loves nature walks, playing outside, exploring, and riding bikes. They have a dog, kitten, and three backyard chickens.