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

 

*
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.

Rib – Naomi Ruth Lowinsky

The long-tortured years
are flung away

in one fell swoop
and you’re my young

laughing mother
calling me “rippe”

German for rib
because I’m such

a skinny girl
as you were once

a skinny girl
before the great assault

of blood   
of breasts

 

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.

For Mom – Lourdes A. Gautier

 

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.”