Poetry published in volume 18
“Who Will Survive in America?” by Ashley Lima
Who will survive in America? Drowning in pain, In debt, In the silence And my mind is Working overtime Just to keep swimming. I don’t know what it feels like To be winning. I’ve lost every race I’ve ever entered. I hope I’m the turtle, But when does this end?
“Revenge” by Michelle Kuras
Revenge She will always finish last When you are blurred and gagged and bound and made to be grizzly, hoarse and gruff Speak their truth, show loud and tough And soldier on, my free bird With wings sewn shut in stitching red And howl your truth with heavy eyes And locked jaw tenderness inside Your lungs are fire and she will provide The medicine to keep you whole Silk and honey weaved in intricate Patterns and layers around your form In outstretched hands she carries her cards And you can see them, cheat her charm Conquer her with glowing words And promises knotted together, ruptured Lock her up in your igloo heart Drain her to return to form: a flightless bird with feathers lost Mute and captive, pricked with gashes Imprisoned forever, laid to waste.
“Breaking Up in Four Parts” by Kathleen Bazarsky
A series of breaking up. I. We are not in love We are simply each others bad habits We fill the broken parts Patch it up the best we can And find each other In the cracks When starlight creeps through at night When sunshine peeks in the curtains As we sip our coffee And pretend we are in love. II. I do not want To be alone But i do not Want you And i think that is The best Thing i could have said. I will be Okay Despite your presence. III. We broke the universe Maybe we were the glue Holding the sun In place But it will not stop Raining now The wind is blowing My windows are creaking And There are no birds Singing We broke the universe. I am honored. IV. The universe was Screaming At us Today Thunder pouring From the Clouds Maybe— It was Love After all.
“Behind Every Great Man is His Bitch of a Wife” by Michelle Kuras
Behind every great man is his bitch of a wife I never learned how to be a woman I was taught how to not be a man I was taught sitting And talking, mostly listening How to cross my legs, plaster a smile on my face And not be too loud or forthcoming I was taught If I was delicate and sweet I would be liked And what is more important than being desired? I learned to say please and thank you When complimented So when he chased me each day(because he liked me)I gave in And let him and others after Push me into a corner I learned I was the villain In everyone’s eyes For letting it happen I must’ve provoked it I learned that playtime was not mine to be had And I was better off staying in and reading instead That I shouldn’t try throwing a ball or catching Because my chromosomes made it nearly impossible I’d fail I wasn’t taught to be angry Just sad And when the years filled me with rage and nasty thoughts I shared them And I was called names And silenced I began to see anger as violent I was taught to hide it And felt disgusted by the red in my cheeks That I caught glimpses of in my reflection I never saw the power within me I didn’t know I could reach for the stars And that defeat didn’t mark the end Instead, I learned to stand behind men who pushed Others into corners because they didn’t know how To get into the spotlight themselves As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to embrace The mean inside me, the ugly disgrace The human emotions I had learned to push down Several years of unlearning and I’ve realized that I was never actually taught how to be a woman But I certainly learned how to not be a man.