Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

Happy spring everyone!

It’s that time of year again – time for us to take a break from posting so we can hunker down and get through all your beautiful submissions for the summer ebook edition. We will be back in May for more Dying Dahlia weekly goodness!

Though we won’t be posting in the month of April, we will still be accepting submissions for our online post as well as for the ebook. So keep submitting!

Also, we are looking for more art, so please spread the word! If you know a talented female artist, send her our way. We are looking to showcase as much art as possible, and we are still on the lookout for cover art for the ebook.

For guidelines, visit the GUIDELINES page to see how you can submit poems, flash fiction and art to Dying Dahlia.

We shall miss you all but stay tuned! We’ve got some great work coming at you shortly.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

Hive Sisters – Devon Balwit

poems

Hive Sisters

So many of us, clamoring,
          mitosis gone scarily awry,

all eager to excel, careening
          toward podia, wrestling for

trophies, the swing of our medals
          raising blue bruises

between our breasts.  Trained
          to reach high, we are

forever reaching, hands straining
          upwards like saplings

from our desks, their hectic rustle
          annoying our teachers.

Even in sleep, our arms scrabble
          the headboard. But amongst us,

we do not compete. Like hive sisters,
          one’s success is that of all,

our grins genuine, each glistening
          with royal jelly.  We know

others find us insufferable, wishing
          to smack us down,

but we are too many.  We dance
          the joy of our success

to one another, each stomp and circle
          pointing to the next.

Our procession to and fro ribbons
          our DNA like a gift.

(after Cristina Troufa’s Trophy)

Devon Balwit is a teacher/poet from Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks: how the blessed travel (Maverick Duck Press) & Forms Most Marvelous (forthcoming with dancing girl press). Her work has found many homes, some of which are: The Inflectionist Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Stillwater Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Red Earth Review, Timberline Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

*Note: The poem was inspired by Cristina Troufa’s Trophy.  You can see Cristina’s art here.

Baby’s Breath – D. Vaisius

flash fiction

Learning someone is like falling. Every moment changing, bringing you closer to something else. A cold, hard ground. But you weren’t the ground. I learned and fell but there was no end. No ground. And so I learned to fly. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Maybe I’m getting there. Maybe we are so different I’ll never make it. But you will. I look at you and a gentle smile tugs at my insides. There won’t be any yelling this time, or sadness.

You have got my smile and I have a weird thing about your hair. We have fairy lights, candles and nightlights to break up the dark. We have the space we make together through our hands and bodies and voices. We are a knotted mess of pure, experiential love. It sounds like a beautiful secret. I kissed you on the nose. Now rain hits our roof. It’s February and rain is surrounding me. I stain my ears, hoping the sound will not fade away leaving me alone. At least the rain has come. If only for a moment.

I clasped and unclasped my hands anxiously all day. Searching for an anchor in the buzzing hail of nerves that seemed to inexhaustibly fill me. This old house makes bones ache. The silence of the scream in me seems to wrap quieting fingers about my throat and squish. I can hear birds outside. They are twittering away. It’s not quite a hopeful sound yet but it’s one I’ve not heard for a while. The roar of a backhoe as it rips another tree down cuts through. Perhaps that is why the birds seem subdued. I close my eyes and lean back in the rocking chair, breathe in time with you.

D. Vaisius was eight when she first started writing. Since then it has been a quiet, reflective journey through styles and experiences. Writing is probably the only things she doesn’t over think and as such is incredibly important to her happiness.

God as Woman – Shelby Lynn Lanaro

poems

God as Woman

Trust in God – she will provide.
– Emmeline Pankhurst

In kindergarten, I pictured
God for the first time
and He was a woman.

Not because I’m a woman,
and not because
I’m a feminist. Growing up

in church, we prayed
the “Our Father,”
and I still do.

But being raised by a single
mother, who brought me
to church every week,

who taught me
The Commandments
in Sunday School,

and, when I was older,
led my youth group
and confirmation classes,

of course I picture God
as a woman.

Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a graduate student in the MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature in 2014. Currently, Shelby is completing her thesis, which is a manuscript of her poems that focuses on various types of relationships. As a narrative poet, Shelby’s work is heavily based on life’s events and strong personalities.

Unearthing Ida – Rose M. Smith

poems

Unearthing Ida
Sinai Grace Hospital, June 2014

Trained hands remove the fabric scrim
slowly, by turns, by shifts, reveal
valley of hip, sloped crag of empty
womb, uncover flesh
the color of desert sand,
landscape eroded to rift and waver,
stark, creased, rippling
where muscle once shaped the dunes.
Help me turn her, the aide requests.
We roll forward pelvic cradle, rib,
outcrop of shoulder, blade, every ridge
a bone peeking through skin, a history

written in this shell once woman.
Ida holds her stroked right arm aloft
as we prop her weight
to let the bedsore breathe.
Morning nurse, blood pressure band,
reaches for the right.
Ida gargles words
behind her stroke-stolen tongue,
over and over, flailing.

Nurse croons an it’s alright song
at strange Ida noise,
pumps the cuff, assumes dementia.
She said use the left, we tell the nurse.
Surprise. Held breath. Apology.

 

Rose M. Smith‘s work has appeared in The Examined Life Journal, Mom Egg Review, pluck! Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, Naugatuck River Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Main Street Rag, The Pedestal Magazine, A Narrow Fellow and other journals and anthologies. She is a Senior Editor with Pudding Magazine, is a Cave Canem fellow, and serves as a contest judge and coach with Ohio Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud program.

 

Why We Don’t Call – Rebekah Keaton

poems

Why We Don’t Call

This evening after a quick whiskey following the wake
of a colleague (one must shake off death—don’t let
it follow you home, our mother once hissed) you might
revisit the old haunts, sift through the rubble,
divide facts from memory, like glass from paper.

Where we grew up, folks blew open and rattled
against each other. Fights on the front stoops,
neighbors sometimes playing referee, and a little brother
found once kneeling on a back window’s shards of glass.
When you could, you left.  Took the Greyhound
to California, cushioned yourself in the warm lights
of a movie theater and a movie screen kiss, later
slumbered beneath the line drawings your daughter drew:
square house and triangle roof, which your wife framed.

But, this year, even there in the land of milk and honey,
ice blusters in. Harsh, and under the weather, the gutters loosen,
shingles begin to buckle. The industry of keeping a house,
is the same everywhere:

panes sliver palms, blood pulses warm, and the morning asks,
what good does softness do?

Rebekah Keaton’s poetry has appeared in various journals, including PoemMemoirStory, Common Ground Review, Rust + Moth, Blueline, and The Stonecoast Review. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University and is associate professor of English at Niagara County Community College, just outside of Niagara Falls. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband and twin boys, lots of snow, and very active puppy.

2 Poems – Jessica Mehta

poems

Recipe for an Indian

How much Indian are you? All of it,
red velvet proofs deep in my solar plexus.
Fry bread thighs undercooked, whipped
merengue cheekbone peaks
and a blackened cut of feather
tattoo marinating over childhood
scars, biopsy stitches and mole seasonings
from a life of willing the cake
burning inside to rise, rise, rise.

 

Look at All the Beautiful

Kept private like our genitals
are supposed to be,
you’ll find the good
trails. The ones nobody
talks about, where blackberry brambles
shoot through old bark chips
like zombie hands and spiders weave
wet threads that lick your face
come dawn. It’s not easy,

keeping quiet. Cradling secrets.
Like children,
they get loud and heavy. They squirm
and you want to drop them, see
their little heads explode like watermelons.

I wanted
to show you, look—

how the trail spread her legs
like a woman unashamed. Choose
your fork and trust. Look
how the creeks and rivers bore
their own way, not giving a damn
for the carnage. See me
here, grinding through the morning
light. And once more, just look, look,

look at all the beautiful.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is the author of the forthcoming novel The Wrong Kind of Indian by Wyatt-MacKenzie Press. She’s also the author of three collections of poetry by Tayen Lane Publishing including OrygunWhat Makes an Alwaysand The Last Exotic Petting Zoowww.JessicaTynerMehta.com

Blue Water – Natalie Crick

poems

Blue Water

When my Mother dragged me out
I wasn’t cold.

My breath was blued
By the light, seeping through

Trees, black as night
With all that nothing in-between,

Mother already grieving
For the other who drowned.

Tonight the storm broke,
Clouding the colour of

Mother’s necklace with the broken clasp.
The wind whittles your apologies

To blue bone beads
Small enough to swallow.

Natalie Crick from Newcastle in the UK has poetry published in a range of journals including The Lake, Ink Sweat and TearsPoetry PacificInterpreters House and Jet Fuel Review. This year her poem “Sunday School” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

2 Poems – Barbara Black

poems

Faith in a Nordic Country, 1935

In church the Virgin sweats
some portent
that never arrives

The plate is passed
she drops her coin
like a letter hesitantly mailed

Once her ancestors ate
brittle pages
from their hymnals
to survive

She thinks she’d like
to be reborn as a swan

even if the pond
were iced over.

 

The Killing Fields, Cambodia

I stand on bones
of poets. Gone the
bleeding drops of red.
“Somemoney!” child beggars screech
behind the metal fence.
Ghosts, don’t listen. Your
fearful trip is done.

Barbara Black was a 2015 Canadian Authors Association Vancouver Short Story Contest finalist, and semi-finalist for a 2014 Disquiet International Literature scholarship. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, and Poems from Planet Earth. Other publications include non-fiction in Island Writer, and fiction in The New Quarterly and Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. She lives in Victoria, BC.

Two Liner Contest

flash fiction, poems

Our birthday is coming up on February 22! (We much prefer birthday rather than “anniversary”.) And we want to celebrate with a little contest! Send us your two line story/poem and win a copy of the Dying Dahlia Review: Winter 2017 ebook.

Rules? There are none. Just send us your very best two lines. We’ll choose the best three and feature them in our upcoming Summer 2017 ebook.

Winners will be announced on (you guessed it) February 22nd. No time to lose! Send us your two line poem/story to DyingDahliaReview@gmail.com or simply #DyingDahlia on Facebook or Twitter. 

Happy Writing!