Category: poetry

Dad, not Daddy – Denna Berg

I was so afraid of becoming his mom, that I became his dad.

Thinking we were subverting the norms;
because he washed the floors and I paid for the roof.
because he cooked the food and I drove the groceries home.

But the same walls were built.

We thought by trading spots we would build something new,
but we just read the same blueprint in the mirror.

We played house until the structure crumbled,
unable to hold the weight
the oven ripe with fresh cookies. 

 

 

Denna Berg was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, although her main hobby is taking long plane rides away from there. As a policy advisor during the day, she is new to embracing her creative writing abilities. When she is not coddling her words, you can also find her exploring groceries or trying to clear her schedule to make time for naps.

numb – Anna Antongiorgi

I only cried when they arrested
your killer on the tv freeway. 
In a past life the three of us 

all walked the same high school hallways.
Our Spanish was terrible
but Señora liked you and I because

we spit fire and hated all the same 
people. My mother and I are still 
fighting because she asked me 

to make this for you. She is worried I
am wooden. She is used to my melting.
Thanks for believing I could

compete with all the crimes
of the human race. I’m sorry
I couldn’t compete 

with yours. I hope you still post 
crunchy Instagram
photos that everyone worries about.

I know you were joking
for the aesthetic 
and, if you’re honest,

for the validation too. 
You have a Wikipedia page now
that, like this, I cannot un-see.

We were experts at pretending
not to care about anything.

You would be proud at 
how good I’ve gotten at it. 

 

Anna Antongiorgi is an aspiring writer, choreographer, and dancer originally from Redondo Beach, California. She graduated from Harvard in 2019, majoring in English. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. You can find her on Instagram @embodied_poetry and at https://annaantongiorgi.wixsite.com/akantongiorgi

“Please Don’t Tell the Hospital it Was the Dog; They’ll Put Him to Sleep” – Lannie Stabile

Calves plump like a shoulder roast,
adrenaline thumping in a wolfish room
Have you ever seen a fibula 
picked clean of its fat flesh and prickled skin
Teeth tore so cleanly
Teeth worn so manly
           -forks in a famine

And mother howls more over the fate of the fangs
than the wound

 

 

Lannie Stabile (she/her) was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Glass Chapbook Series and semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 Chapbook Contest. She is a three-time Best of the Net 2019 nominee. Works are published/forthcoming in Entropy, Glass Poetry, 8 Poems, Pidgeonholes, Okay Donkey, and more. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine.

Arab Spring in Berlin – Rebecca Ruth Gould

Arab Spring in Berlin

I turned down the offer of a dowry
& we hitched a ride to the airport 

at twilight from Damascus to Berlin, 
to start a new life. 

Syria started burning soon after we arrived.
First, the revolution in Egypt had to be televised.

We made love on the balcony overlooking Tiergarten
as CNN live streamed the revolution.

I was full, dreaming of the castles we would build.
Every light in the skyline was a votive candle

& then I was overtaken with fear of pregnancy, 
worrying that my hasty longing

had brought new life into the world.
Crimson trickles broke the terror—

I bled the everyday blood we (women) shed—
the reassurance that life continues 

even when death prevails—
while the shahids were martyred on Tahrir Square.

When I waved goodbye to you in the U-Bahn,
the station’s cement blending with the night,

I felt like those revolutionary fools 
who cast fear aside 

because they believed that it was right, 
opening my arms to the world.

 

Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of Cityscapes (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), and Writers and Rebels (Yale University Press, 2016). She is the translator of High Tide of the Eyes (The Operating System, 2019), After Tomorrow the Days Disappear (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and Prose of the Mountains (CEU Press, 2015). 

 

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.