Two Poems – Holly Day

What There Is to Lose

I pretend to be content with our conversations
because I still like having sex with him
and I am afraid that, even after all these years
that if I don’t keep him talking
don’t act interested in what he’s saying
he might decide to leave. Even after sleeping beside him 
for more than a decade
I’m afraid that if I don’t hang on every word he says
nod approvingly at all the right moments
in his ramblings about cars and work 

and the driving conditions to and from work
that he’ll decide I’m also not very interesting
wonder why he’s sitting next to me at all.

Some days, I’m afraid to even let him go outside
in case he runs into the woman he’s supposed to be with
the one who finds all these musings on 
back spasms and diarrhea attacks, 
his problems with his mother
his problems with my mother
all the ways you can use Chinese pepper salt to enhance your cooking
completely fascinating and absorbing and yes
I know she is somewhere out there

waiting in the mismatched groves of birch and pine outside our home 
hungering for what I will never let her have.

April

You wake me up to tell me 
that the snow has come back
that the garden outside is completely 
obscured in white. You say it much too loud 
for this sort of news
for this early in the morning, almost joyful.

Half-asleep, the resentful part of me believes 
perhaps you are responsible for the snow.

I drag myself out of bed and call the dog
who comes, joyful at the prospect of a morning walk.
I put on her leash and we step outside
into a world buried in white snow
the tips of new tulips, the green sprays of crocus
already shriveling and darkening in the cold.

Holly Day’s newest poetry collections are In This Place She Is Her Own, A Wall to Protect Your Eyes, Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds, Where We Went Wrong, and  Into the Cracks.

 

Candy Bowl Compassion – Hemalatha Venkataraman

My therapist told me I need to be more kind
to myself-
to take care of myself first,
asked me to pick up a laser-cut wooden heart
from what used to be a comfort candy bowl.
Imagine ‘compassion’ written on it, she said.
                                                                   I did;
ran my fingers along the burnt albeit smooth
curves of its brown body,
sat it on the insides of my palm-
                                     looked up
told her
to let me know if she needs help making more of these hearts.
You don’t have to order them from China, I said.
I have access to laser-cutters
over at the Department of Art.

Hemalatha Venkataraman is a poet and artist from Madras, India. Her poetry nests in the tangible to make sense of the intangible, with a focus on personal growth and immigration. Her latest publication can be found in the book of curated poems, I’ll Be Here When You Get There.

You can also find her on Instagram at @Hemuvenkat.

Burning – Andrea Rinard

On the night before she started high school, Katelyn set the book on the grill. A scrape. A flash of orange. A whiff of sulfur. The corner caught, and the edges of the pages glowed. Aunt Ninny had given her the diary for her thirteenth birthday, saying with a wink, “A girl needs a place for her secrets.”

She wrote in it like it was a homework assignment for the first few months, listing what she’d had for lunch, what the popular girls wore to school, what boys she liked, and how many times her dad didn’t come home for dinner. The writing tapered off to only once every week or so and then maybe once a month until May of eighth grade. She’d wanted to remember everything about those last three weeks of school, her script tightly packed into the spaces between blue lines, thick with details.

How the boy in the red baseball cap who sat in the back of the bus smiled at her. How his eyes started landing on her and sticking. How he started sitting behind her. How he went three blocks out of his way to walk her home. How it started as kissing. 

It ended with Dad coming home early, or maybe late, on a Wednesday afternoon and finding her on her knees with handfuls of the boy’s jeans in each fist. Her mouth and eyes were salty as the boy ran out the back door and Dad moved like his own shadow to the hallway, away from her. They never talked about it. Not like the boy who returned to the back seat of the bus and told the other boys things that made their lips twist and their eyes hooded and knowing. They watched her cheeks burn for those last days until summer.

The pages of the diary curled in on themselves and turned to a black square that shrank and flaked chunks of ash. Sparks flew up, and she wondered if she’d set the trees on fire. For more than a moment, she wanted to burn everything to the ground, but she just scraped the last sheets of blackened paper until they disintegrated. 

Later, her father didn’t tell her goodnight when she passed him on the stairs. She washed her hands, scrubbing at the soot that wouldn’t come off and avoiding her eyes in the mirror over the sink. The pages were gone, but she was still the girl who’d done those things with a boy because she’d wanted him to hold her hand.

 

Andrea Rinard is a Florida native, HS English teacher, graduate student in creative writing at USF and alumnus of the Yale Writer’s Workshop. Her most recent publications are in The Jellyfish Review and Spelk. You can read more of Andrea’s work at writerinard.com and follow her on Twitter @aprinard.   

 

Letter from the Editor

Dearest DDR followers, readers, writers, and lovely creatures all around,

So it’s that time again. Time to take a break so we can get our sh*t together. 

And though we won’t be publishing anything new on the site till the end of the summer we will still be reading submissions for fall so please, keep sending us all your goodies! Ladies send us your flash, poetry, art, photography… Send it all.  

Also, on a super happy note, we are going to start accepting creative nonfiction! More on that shortly but to give you an idea the guidelines will be the same as flash fiction.  Send us up to 3 creative nonfiction stories, each story no more than 1000 words.

We aren’t disappearing. We will be around reading all your fine submissions.  And as always, previous contributors, let us know if you have anything going on. A book reading, a forthcoming chapbook, etc. We would love to share the news!

Happy writing & reading friends!

Abbie Copeland
Editor-in-Chief

3 Poems – Anastasia K. Gates

 

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Feed me the stars—
if I am born of stardust, 
what I crave is the taste 
of my own making.
*


 

 

 

 

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“Peaches and cream 
warm as toast
soft as silk”
in this love, she woke me 
before i’d guess the color 
of her bra
*


 

 

 

 

*
Dear self: like a copper spoon pulled 
from fire, you melt then scoop me up
*


 

 

 

Anastasia K. Gates is an emerging poet, memoirist, and artist from Pennsylvania. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanuatu and Zambia and is a current student at Columbia University. Her work unearths the voice of global womanhood that wanders the natural landscape. She takes solace in the quietude of the forest, the fire of the sun, and the infinite universe within.

Follow her on Instagram @anastasiakgates.