Nice Girls Say Please

Unicorn and Pegasus sat down with the Queen.

Unicorn’s horn went somewhere obsc –

“Cream with your scones?”

Nice girls say please.

 

Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

Mother told me not to swear.

Knock, knock?

Go away, come again another day.

Knock, knock, knock.

Go away, nasty girls who want to play.

One has a phone; one has a knife.

One’s barely clinging onto life.

 

“Raspberry jam?”

Nice girls say please,

hide the bruises on their knees.

Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

I said, who’s there?

Nobody loves you; nobody cares.

 

Too many sweets will make you sick.

Mother call the doctor, quick, quick, quick.

Nobody loves you. Nobody cares.

Let’s push Pegasus down the stairs!

 

Sticky-sticky hands, covered in jam.

Simple Simon broke her hymen.

Mother call the doctor, quick, quick, quick!

He smashed her face with a candlestick!

 

Nobody loved her. Nobody cares.

Nice girls don’t meddle in others’ affairs.

 

Megan Cartwright

Megan Cartwright is an Australian college teacher and poet. Her work has appeared in Arteidolia Press, Authora Australis, Blue Bottle Journal, Meniscus Journal, October Hill Magazine, and oddball magazine. She also has poems due to feature in upcoming issues of Fatal Flaw, Tabula Rasa Review, MONO, and Quadrant Magazine.

Featured Author: Christy Prahl

Seventh Summer

 

A not so rare November day

that impersonates June,

 

bisque of sun,

Ligurian sky

 

when Sylvia, from the mailroom,

who walks with a cane,

 

/diabetes to claim

her right foot by spring/

 

joins me outside for a forbidden smoke.

 

Beautiful day, I say.

How do we make sense of it?

says Sylvia’s face

 

before casting alarm at the glaciers

melting in Alaska

 

and I share what I’ve heard

about the snow crab season

 

Cancelled, I tell her.

95% gone.

I can’t stop thinking of the fishermen, I say,

about to lose their livelihoods.

 

And all those people just being born,

she pines,

never knowing the sweetness of crab.

 

 

Delicata

 

Leo [the farmer] will die this afternoon,

forehead damp with kisses

from Gene [the tractor supplier]

and Dusty [the grower of feed corn],

queer but summoned gestures

from sturdy men

who talk with their hands.

 

Home remedies for Leo

meant the clench of his gut

metastasized

like the summer squash

in his tomato beds.

 

Goddamn volunteers.

 

We knew Leo from his blue eggs

and spiral notepad in his chest pocket

and honor stand on the side of the road.

Take what you want.

Leave your money in the jar.

 

He stood tightwire

on wood ladders to repair the plastic

of his hoop house with duct tape

and fed composting scraps

to a blind raccoon

[who stuck around].

 

Leo will die as so many farmers die,

shallow of air,

tallying from his bed,

wondering if he should have returned to church

all those years back

[when his wife begged him to],

 

the spent soil
of hundreds of thousands of fingerling potatoes

making rich, verdant crops

of his nails.

 

 

 

Christy Prahl

Christy Prahl is the author of the collection We Are Reckless (Cornerstone Press, 2023). A Best of the Net and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her past and future publications include the Penn Review, Salt Hill Journal, Eastern Iowa Review, and others. She has held residencies at both Ragdale and the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow and is the founder of the PenRF reading series. She splits her time between Chicago and rural Michigan and appreciates subways and siloes in equal measure. More of her work can be found at christyprahl.wixsite.com/christy-prahl.

 

Just Started School

Mother didn’t talk much.

Didn’t want to fall foul

of the thought police.

There was the ugly guy with the cruel, crooked mouth

who owned the house and loved his chickens.

He believed.

 

‘Heil Hitler’.

We’d brought our blackboards.

My old teacher had a desk on a raised platform.

 

When it was all over,

Mother hung out a white sheet

from the bedroom window.

 

The new teacher taught us Russian.

Bald underneath this huge black fur hat.

His yellow teeth as large as a horse’s. Threw

that unruly boy down the school’s stone steps.

 

The wheels of tanks looming over me.

My brother made me an airplane from balsawood.

We continued to listen to AFN Europe—

my brother had crafted a crystal radio

from a cigar box.

 

The Russians changed the street names

and the portraits on the school walls.

 

Rose Mary Boehm

Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest: Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders? (Kelsay Books July 2022), Whistling in the Dark (Cyberwit July 2022), and Saudade (December 2022) are available on Amazon. www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com

Moon in Daylight

Palely the residues of evening coalesce

to form this faint ablation sailing over head,

this lustrous oculus in daybreak’s alabaster dome,

this remnant of the jeweled dark that wanly

drifts across the dawn’s triumphant light.

 

O fading psychopomp of evening’s gaudy glitter,

priestess of our midnight signs and assignations,

in morning’s scant attire you prophesy the vacancy

of noon where thought hangs heavy in the mind

and yearning looms like smoke in sunlit haze.

 

Yet how much nearer now in gauzy negligée you seem

than in the incandescent robe you wore last night,

how menacingly close do you appear and closing fast,

as though some furtive faintness hurrying after us

lay almost in our reach but too remote to grasp.

 

DB Jonas

DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. Born in California in 1951, he was raised in Japan and Mexico. His work has recently appeared in Tar River, Blue Unicorn, Whistling Shade, Neologism, Consilience Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Decadent Review, The Amphibian, Revue {R}évolution, Kairos, and others. His first collection, Tarantula Season, is scheduled for release in 2023.

A Conversation with Sophia’s Universe

I navigate this world,

kneading dough for company

as I swirl about memories

like tea

in a delicate chipped cup–

 

I move through the stars

spheres rotate between seconds

and I whisper to crystals when you are gone:

for the closets were just emptied of camping gear–

 

and when I sleep through the sleet and snow

the umbilical cord is released

before I rush into my own ravine.

 

Cosmic scissors unchain my feet:

 

I scribble secrets within the sacred box

and wait for cherubs to rush before me,

fluttering scents amongst the ripening seeds.

 

Caroline Reddy

Caroline Reddy’s work has been published in Active Muse, Calliope, Clinch, Clockwise Cat, Deep Overstock, Grey Sparrow, International Human Rights Arts Festival, Star*line and Tupelo Quarterly Review among others. In the fall of 2021, her poem “A Sacred Dance” was nominated for the Best of The Net prize by Active Muse. Caroline Reddy was born in Shiraz, Iran and participated in Mohammad Barrangi’s exhibition-Playing in Wonderland. Caroline Reddy also performed her poetry and presented an artist talk with VALA Gallery pertaining to the events in Iran womenlifefreedom-Zan-Zendegi-Azadi.

Small Histories

For Ellie

           

You say you caught yourself wondering if

the world would be

when you were gone.

 

Rumpled bed sheets rumpled bedsheets.

The sound of a small brass bell to ring for help

the sound of a small brass bell.

 

Hair comb in hand at the ready

to fix the damage from hands patting your head.

 

I wonder why

the vase of ranunculus and baby’s breath

sits on the kitchen counter.

You ask about images of a woman

floating behind me.

 

We spend the hour reciting small histories.

 

I ask about the light. What color.

Gold, you say,

pointing at the carpet of gingko leaves

falling throughout the day.

Grateful we don’t rake them up.

 

Joan M. White

Joan White lives in Vermont where she spends her time with plants and language. Her work has been published in American Journal of Poetry, Cider Press Review, Abstract Magazine, NPR’s On Being Blog, among others.

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