Est. 2012

 Issue Twenty-Eight-September 2014




Fatih Holsaert
The Chavurah of Women


When the chavurah of women

whose floors shake

whose limbs quake

whose hearts quail

who stand despite


who are the daughters


when they gather


each with her reason

each with her heart torn

each with her ancestral gift

of second-born resentment


we choose the corner store

we choose the red car

we choose the children

we choose the roof bolts

we guard our internal perimeters


we will begin on a street corner

with a caffe with bagel and egg

We will find a new SRO

We will buy minutes on a phone

We will take a cab


We will go where we have to go

Where we were not meant to go

Where we will pull one more day

from the synthetic coverlet


at night when we are finished crying

the mountains sing girl, come home


[chavurah is Hebrew for a small gathering of like-minded people. An SRO is a single room occupancy hotel, often home to nearly-homeless people.]




Diaspora

Our inheritance in the Diaspora is to live in this inexplicable space–Dionne Brand


if there was a curtain we didn’t notice

if there was something other than raspberries

among dusty leaves we didn’t see


we saw how the path wound up from the creek

we knew we had to carry

we knew the old man in the next town

we knew our coats smelled of pear

and our cat, we knew our cat


Maybe the portal was there all along

when we ate ramen and watched TV

not talking spent

after we had danced


we are past the curtained gateway

have passed through the membrane

this end has lost the other end


we live where our memories can not

except as clearwings in their brief season

this is an inexplicable place


we had to leave our bundled words behind


the new discount words

do not fit like our own

can someone teach us to live here


an exile is not a guided tour

the others we suspect are tourists


we grew on a soil

that fed the eyes of potatoes

that received our offered berries


Do not say we are

this place where we have fallen




Laura Wiseman
Auntie Em, My Wild Apple
          malus sylvestis

We overlapped, but never really lived
simultaneously—me a Judy Garland
always moving, looking for the man

hiding behind the curtain. Did she
ever want me to settle for anything?
She never stomached improvements:

her ten-seeded, red fruit days
as a WAC in WWII. Her sister said 
You make a good team—productive

and small, pink-tinged blossoms.
She was right, cultivated, and now dead. 
Like you, she kept her secrets. I turned

everything starry and sweet, never rotten.
Let’s say that harvest was for you.
But who was going to eat it? All that time

I grew from Midwest soil to fruit 
and never let myself think of some
loves—the last time I saw her alive

as she breathed deeply, that tube.
There never seemed to be enough air.
She must’ve been part of my scaly bark,

hairy leaves, and body of twigs.
She must’ve been why I was this height,
this diameter, this familiar crown.

In that way we were the same: wild
apples. Everybody tried to cover up
or naturalize, domesticate and breed.



​Cat Dixon
Dreaming

All day I type, fold, print and stand. Busy, I exchange greetings with the congregants and brown nose to the volunteers, but at night... at night snuggled into my black blanket in my black room, I sleep and left to its own wanderings my mind flies to Central America. A dirt floor. 10 people in one room. You naked, me naked trying to cover ourselves with my blanket on a cot made for a child. You’re against my back, your breath in my ear. We have to move again to another. Comprehension is lost in language and deed. Scrambling to the pee pot in the corner, then back to the cots, I search for you in the dark. Mosquitoes buzz so loudly your whisper is lost. Finally in your arms, you smell like the earth, like sweat, like a wet dog. Cradling my head in the crook of your arm, you pray in Spanish. I say amen. “Say it again in English,” I kiss your ear. You do. I sleep in your arms. Come morning, I am in my bed alone. The alarm. The shower. The dressing. The commuting. At dusk I stand in the backyard, watch the children play in their playhouse, teeter on the seesaw and wait for bedtime to come. 




Partina Jones
​Girls

Little girls
Wake early
For school,
Behind
The boys---
But
Even they
Know
That good
Does
Overcome evil---
all things
Come
Back full
Circle---
Like little
Red bows
Worn in
The front,
In the hair---
The winner
Now
Is not the
Same
As the
Champion
For all
Time.




Mira Desai
Come to my window


Come to my window, world, and tell me your tales.
Come when the day is young, and the trees alight with bird chatter,
in the far distance the strains of a devotional song reach out,
touch the day.
Or at night perhaps when pinpricks of light
from impossibly huddled homes
blink
past the darker outline of the trees, shushing, patterned
cradle a
A million resident crows and the green
to uneasy sleep
Or in the afternoon perhaps,
tiptoe in the quiet that settles like a cloak
bare inches from expressways of this maddening metropolis
Embroider the silence
when the sky is peach,
and a pretty hue reflects
off these white walls, past the chairs and bookcases.
Bring in the colors of trembling spring,
as the first leaves quiver to the morning sun,
and in a village somewhere, a child lisps his first word.
And tarry not,
when the icy draughts of winter
bring tales from the shikara, from the chinar, tall, sky-tipped
from snow capped mountains and frozen lands.
And
When the desert heat travels apace
And mirages shimmers with long forgotten forts and castles,
Bring me a tale of valor and a dainty princess, and vows kept
Let the clash of steel on steel resound.
Come to my window, world, and tell me your tales
A hint, just a hint, and I’ll fill in the colors, tints, shades
Link me
to the ground, root me to drink deep
link me to the skies, a kite adrift,
dancing, curtseying, reaching for
this boundary-less horizon
tell me your tales, I thirst
that I too, may dream.



Contributors


Faith S. Holsaert has published fiction in journals since the 1980s and has begun to also publish poetry. She co-edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (University of Illinois). She received her mfa from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. After many years in West Virginia, she lives in Durham, NC with her partner Vicki Smith, with whom she shares seven grandchildren.

​​

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her recent books are American Galactic (Martian Lit Books, 2014), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform(Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins. She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, andFeminist Studies. www.lauramadelinewiseman.com


Cat Dixon teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. She is the secretary of The Backwaters Press. Her work has appeared in Sugar House Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, Temenos, Coe Review, Eclectica among others. Her full length book Too Heavy to Carry will be out Spring 2014 published by Stephen F. Austin University Press.Her website is www.catdix.com. 


Patrina Jones holds a Ph.D. in English from Stony Brook University. She is an Essayist and a Poet who resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Mira Desai writes and translates. She writes short stories (mostly Mumbai-inspired) and translates fiction and non-fiction from Gujarati, her first language. This year, a book of translated verse was published and political novel awaits publication. She is a proud member of IWW, the Internet Writing Workshop. 


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