Poetry

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.