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.
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.
My therapist told me I need to be more kind
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.
ran my fingers along the burnt albeit smooth
curves of its brown body,
sat it on the insides of my palm-
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.
Feed me the stars—
if I am born of stardust,
what I crave is the taste
of my own making.
“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.
The long-tortured years
are flung away
in one fell swoop
and you’re my young
calling me “rippe”
German for rib
because I’m such
a skinny girl
as you were once
a skinny girl
before the great assault
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky’s poems have been widely published, most recently in Serving House Journal, Ginosko and Stickman. Her poem “Madelyn Dunham, Passing On” won first prize in the Obama Millennium Contest. She has also won the Blue Light Poetry Chapbook Contest. Lowinsky’s fourth poetry collection is The Faust Woman Poems.
When I wear a color other than black, brown, tan or grey,
it is my mother’s love of all things bright and beautiful
that influences those choices.
When I dance and sway to some Latin beat,
it is my mother’s love of all things music
that stirs the same in me.
When I love my children more than I can express,
it is my mother’s unconditional love
that she taught me to give.
When I long for a place to call home
it is because my mother gave up
and left me with none.
Lourdes A. Gautier resides in Bergen County, NJ. Her short story, 1952, was published in Acentos Review. Her poems have appeared in Calliope and in the Silver Birch Press. She is also a contributor to the award-winning anthology, “These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project.”