By Sarah Wood
Heart in my lungs,
The anatomy of a
No one ever told me that
Relying on oxygen
From another person, was
No way to breathe.
Canary in the coal mine,
The girl without a spine,
No worries, all good.
Of course, I’m happy to.
That’s okay, I don’t mind.
An honest child, I cried
At what age, did I become agreeable?
Weeping willow woman.
Only asking for what is
Folding in on myself,
This nonexistent ribcage is no home for a
No oxygen to feed, the
Spark of yellow.
Reaching for another person
To breathe, love into me,
So I might breathe myself.
But now I’m cracking open,
Take up space.
Only now am I growing a spine.
Sarah Wood is a writer, TEDx speaker and mindfulness facilitator from Michigan, currently living in New York City. She is the founder of Joy Soldier™, a community and toolkit to help people lead more joyful lives. She loves finding new books, hummus, and good questions. Sarah has previously been published in the Huffington Post and Thrive Global.
By Felicia Zuniga
Coloured fountains sparkled
at the Stampede that year to
commemorate some event or
another. You peered up from behind
the trickle of pink green water
to tip your cowboy hat before
retreating into the blur of broken
In the swimming scenes you
tugged your bottoms so up high that
your belly button was lost inside.
Skinny arms gripped your body when
you ran from the edge to the
board and pretended you knew how
to dive. I see how the story of you
falling and smacking your hard
head upon the deck came about.
Ripples of cousins, neighbors
and friends, singing through birthdays
at your cramped duplex and laughing as your
brother pinched your ears or that
one little girl with flipped-out pigtails
blinked her lashes for the camera.
The film is fuzzy in some spots around the
edges and shaky too. Lots of sleek old cars,
well-groomed houses and scenery shots when Tata
must have gotten bored of filming all of you
standing around, hands in
high pants pockets.
The dancing scenes at the annual Italian picnic
are my favorite though. The camera weaving in and out of
mismatched couples with beehive hairdos,
tight white pants, thick glasses and bowling shoes.
It’s how people met back then
sharing runny watermelon and
offbeat moves with future spouses.
Everything seemed simpler then,
viewed from vintage lenses.
Felicia Zuniga is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young sons. She has been writing poetry for over a decade and has been published in a variety of journals including Contemporary Verse 2 – The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, The Antigonish Review, Montreal Writes, Existere – Journal of Arts & Literature and FreeFall Magazine. She has a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Honours with a Creative Writing Concentration from the University of Calgary. Learn more at www.feliciazuniga.com.
By Matthew J. Andrews
When he shows up at my door –
face smeared into a devilish grin,
one hand gripping a wine bottle,
the other hand pushing his way inside –
his spirit fills the room like incense
and I take him into my nostrils.
When it gets dark, he puts his hands
around my neck and kisses me
until I shrivel on his acidic lips.
He takes me down into the bed,
where his restless hands melt
and reshape me like a skilled potter,
and where he advances inside me
like a tumor until I whisper his name
into the empty corners of the room.
Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes, and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He can be contacted at matthewjandrews.com.
By John Sweet
faded blue november sky with
contrails and silence
up on burnt hill road and
what if god is nothing more than the
ability to tell the truth and what if truth
is nothing more than the road to beauty?
will you offer
your churches to the homeless or
give your wealth to the starving or
will you continue to preach
the gospel of ignorance and hatred?
will you stop raping the children?
there is no end to the ways we can
disguise our lies as luminous truths
John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications) and A DEAD MAN, EITHER WAY (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press).
By John Maurer
Painters paint the paintings that they should paint
Because they are the paintings that they do paint
The worth of the doing is found in the doing
Transcendence is shovel-gripped, cerebral labor
My bones sharpen through the cloth of my bleeding visage
If you are a vault, you must also be the key
What is sagacious gifted bullion without
Its scriptural prodigious tailwind
Eating words with an open mouth
The crumbs of preciously bled stones fall to my lap
This is what I sing to you and you don’t hear
This is what you want me to sing, and I am too shy to
British scholars would say we don’t share the table
Cloudy guru would say you sit at his table
Pull out your chair when you approach plated lawn trimmings
The lawn being your responsibility to water
Do not shun the thornier blades
Growing an apology is not pleasant horticulture
Her smile this is a rooting of veins
Drink it in and the ice cubes of her with it
My bones are certainly metallic with their screws
But I keep chewing on all more expanded than I
John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than fifty others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)