by Twila Newey
Fall had just turned cold
the year I hung over you—speechless and intent—
death making an end of all
my exquisite preparations—words
stolen from my mouth.
Here, when I speak, only fireflies fly out.
Sultry and opaque I slipped
through the haze between worlds
that postcard you kept writing me
Joy was to be endured as well as sorrow
like a fountain vanishing the body flows
for a little while. A risk
to return as mist rising
in another century, another shoreline,
I trusted your impulsive hospitality
What else could I do but try
to speak again of light—
shake us both free
of father’s tongue. I’m telling you
it was a mistake to weigh my pockets
down with stones and wander into water.
Note: Italicized lines are from Virginia Woolf’s “Moments of Being.”
Twila Newey lives and writes at the confluence of poetry, local ecology, motherhood, and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in Northern California. You can find recent work at Green Mountains Review, About Place Journal, and Radar Poetry.
by Corinna Schulenburg
Then, this: that a woman made of water
or not even water, but the reflection that light
knits on top of it, that this woman might,
as any clever ghost should, lure a set of lungs
to where she could, flavored as a vape,
slip sweetly down the pipes and seize the wheel,
and what do you call an exorcism outside in,
and what do call this place, this stab of dock
where fog makes amphibians of us all,
and gives us breasts on chests that once
were smooth as cutting boards, and ferries
pronounce the birth with horns that sound
like whales in slow motion as the woman
sheathes my self in skin and shakes down
my hair, which curls around the air like vines,
and hey there, can you show me the way to town?
Corinna Schulenburg (she/her) is a queer trans artist/activist committed to ensemble practice and social justice. She’s a mother, a playwright, a poet, and a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. Poems in: Arachne Press, Beaver Magazine, Capsule Stories, Eclectica Magazine, Lost Pilots, Long Con, LUPERCALIA Press, miniskirt magazine, Moist, Moonflake Press, Moss Puppy, Oroboro, Pastel Pastoral, Poet Lore, SHIFT, The Shore, The Westchester Review, and more: https://corinnaschulenburg.com/writer/poet/
by Jennifer Funk
Brick is the color of the trunk lifting
each sequined limb aloft,
and brilliant is the color of the leaves
seen shimming from the bed
where you are taking me apart.
I would have you bury me
under your tongue. How often
I wept in girlhood for unclaimed desires.
The high, myopic whine
in the word itself was intimate
to me. What I've learned to keep to myself
is little, ever-so inclined to skin
myself open like a ripe orange. I trouble
with good things, cannot let them
just be. Like you, with your
faithful mouth. Look at me
here, splayed out in the back half
of the bloom, fizzing
with pleasure, pleasure
scurrying through the skin
like rats on fire. I would say
I want you, but the truth is hotter, worse,
is running for its life, every miserable
nerve traveling down with the same
worry-bomb: I'd rather miss you.
From your honeyed mouth
to my barbed mind, here at the edge
of our greenery, would you always
want a body so soft? So tenuous?
You say you can stay, say you're going to
for as long as I let you.
Jennifer Funk is native Californian trying to prove her mettle in New England. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers, she has been a scholarship recipient of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Frost Place. Recently awarded The Friends of Writers’ Levis Post-Graduate Stipend, Jennifer is at work on her first collection. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming at The Kenyon Review, The Cimarron Review, Four Way Review, Painted Pride Quarterly, The Boiler, Pangyrus, and elsewhere.