David Ishaya Osu
Daniel M. Shapiro
Julie Brooks Barbour
THEMED PHOTO FEATURE:
IN MY OTHER LIFE I _____.
Sally Rosen Kindred
David Ishaya Osu
fit for milk and
throbbing in rain
GHOST | DEFINITION
FAITH HEALER, MANILA, 1991
His hand slides into your belly
like a knife guts a fish.
It won’t kill you.
White towels, rolled into ropes,
coil around the caldera of your abdomen
where blood pools. Cold lava.
I take photographs I will
one day burn,
tired of showing the doubters.
The hand exits your body
full of spheres hard as sheep eyes
strung with the viscera of AIDS.
This is what’s killing him,
the healer says, his voice
calm as a waiter pouring wine.
He drops them in a bedpan.
Another guardian wipes away the blood.
No sign you’ve even been touched.
You are awake. You murmur a prayer.
I stare at a navel
rosy with life for another day.
Daniel M. Shapiro
Have you ever been on fire? It’s a whole lot easier if you stick your arms out, your legs out. Under clothes you won’t need anymore,
you’ll wear a special fabric. You’ll be fine as long as it stays wet. And you mustn’t forget the gel. It goes on your eyes, your hair. It
can go on your glasses to keep them from melting into your head. Bring a couple of buddies to light you up and put you out. Make
sure they use lamp oil and gasoline. Lamp oil makes the flames a perfect orange, a photogenic orange. Once you start to feel it, hit
the ground. Don’t try to act tough. If you inhale, you’ll cook your lungs. Remember to hold your breath.
Julie Brooks Barbour
BEHIND THE DOOR THAT WILL NOT LOCK
You fill an abandoned house with pine trees. Needles spill from broken windows.
I meet a man at a house without a locking door where he grieves over his deceased sister. We locate her spirit in a doll whose eyes blink while its body rests.
You stand on a rooftop, admire your work. You do not mind looking down.
His sister’s ghost moves mechanical toys over the scuffed floor. A mouse in a yellow car. A bear in a motor boat.
You take a ladder to the ground then shove another pine through the front door.
Behind the door that will not lock, toys stop moving. The doll’s eyes no longer blink, signaling departure.
You drive to another abandoned house. You pull a tree from the truck bed and open an unlocked door.
Visit our themed photo gallery "In My Other Life I...." here.
DINER EN BLANC
White pumpkins, white lions, white china,
white jasper and white chrysoprase.
Revolting the damp dust off the mantelpiece.
Mass hysteria in white:
strangers in wedding dresses, fur and angel wings and agate,
set the tables and eat cream cheese
risotto and plump haunches
of peaches and glistening hamachi. They eat.
Once in a dream, I wore Marilyn’s white bathing suit
and released my plumes of red into water.
I rose from the white surf. No friends
waiting for me under Chinese lanterns
or Bodhi leaves to garnish me, no
one’s borrowed stoneware to serve me
jasmine tea. How exciting it was that I was eating,
blossoming, blooming, this sweet white lab rat
transforming against and out of my rosy skin.
I would like to spill salt and fat between
my breasts, sitting in the strange village,
all of us chewing with mouths closed, tucked
under the arm of a white sky, and wait for dusk,
our faces pulled in, the white lions coming up
for us as we latch to the bubbling shores.
HOW TO PAINT A SELF-PORTRAIT
After “Small Portrait” (1950) by Kay Sage, American painter shunned by her
male contemporaries despite playing in an important role in supporting
them and the Surrealist movement.
Wait until it’s 1950 again. Pick up a paintbrush
or hairbrush or just use fingers for untangling
the strands and oils. Try to remember your last
geometry lesson: this will be about arcs
and angles, their strange habit of multiplying.
Peel back the skin, go deeper. Rewrap
the head in strips of linen, but not mummy-like.
This is about grace and architecture, about
shadow and the softness a shock of red hair
can lend a robotic profile. Do you forget
where you are? Ask yourself where
the heart goes and let that gap wrench open,
empty and concave beside the basket-woven
metals and hinges of what you wanted
to call a face but come to your senses:
there are no eyes or lips or gaunt nose holes.
Call it pale, call it yellowed. Cross out the word self—
the latticework implies enough—and call it only small.
Where have you been collecting skulls to nest so high in the air? You eat and drink of the people as you have always, will
always. Your goblet, male and female of face, sloshes with wonders. From your summit of bones fall skeletal strands
reaching for soil to join you to the earth. In your shadow--which is the entire sky--who is not small, yet made vast by your
THE DINOSAUR EXHIBIT
A tooth that’s not a tooth,
a mottled clump of bone,
a pelvis chipped and warped,
a joint that wouldn’t join surely—
the model beside the fossil shows
the articulated ridge, the rounded
socket where the ball
of the femur’s meant to fit,
a shape that in the real thing
is obscure, like a replica made
of unfired clay that’s been pressed
by a palm into dirt.
This is what the body retains,
pinned up on display
and neatly labeled: combat,
fall, and daily wear,
fractured elbow, broken
patella, slightly comminuted,
meaning crushed. Something to show,
yes, but none of this,
this standing—being here,
this stillness before
the once-bones in the museum,
friends already passed
through the exhibit, this marking
what the markers most mark—
the absence around them,
this being that absence.
Sally Rosen Kindred
Then spoon, then knife—
some crooked grief
tells its story to your table. At the plate
for your starvation,
the mutter of dun sheets: shreds
of her voice
girl must enough
dropped from your brother’s gloves
to find your way back
to her heels. Yes,
the loaf was your mother.
for the bread to heat, for its heft to salt
the kitchen’s breath.
You lift it with a cloth.
Drop it on the plate.
O how the loaf would moan:
her face like a cracked stone
a starved moon
in their straw bed
This is our plan.
It’s us or them.
Now you sit at the hot crust.
Now, you tell your mouth.
Take and eat
your unspeakable strength, your name.
Your whole life,
Sister, you must
the plate, star-white
and piled with pink meat
like your brother’s mouth
like the eyes
of crows in a November wood
turning to bone
cold and again.
like blue frost
icing the pane
between your ribs—glass
or bread, your brother filled
with your undoing—
like a cracked white cup,
a fattening up.
Then moon’s rise, then meal’s end:
your story’s claws
scrape crumbs from the cloth
and want to reveal
your mother’s face—
the path to it erased
by the hundred tongues
that rose and withered the yard
taking with them
the family name, leaving the plot
where you buried a witch—
and bones in your mother’s oven.
Issue Four Contributors
Nashville native Hannah Baggott recently received her MFA in poetry from Oregon State University. She is a regular contributor with PDXX Collective and winner of the 2015 Marcia and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry with Bellevue Literary Review. She is working on a full-length manuscript about her experience with Multiple Sclerosis. Her work can be found or forthcoming in [PANK], Passages North, HOBART, Ninth Letter, and through her website hannahbaggott.com.
Stacey Balkun received her MFA from Fresno State and her work has appeared or will appear in Gargoyle, Muzzle, THRUSH, Bayou, and others. She is a contributing writer for The California Journal of Women Writers at www.tcjww.org. A 2015 Hambidge Fellow, Stacey served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013. Her chapbook, Lost City Museum, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications.
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and two chapbooks: Earth Lust (2014) and Come To Me and Drink (2012), both from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Four Way Review, diode, storySouth, UCity Review, Prime Number Magazine, burntdistrict, The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University.
Matthew Broaddus is a PhD student in English at UNC Chapel Hill, where he also teaches writing. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU. His poetry has recently appeared in The Offing, Baltimore Review, and Barnstorm.
Katie Herman is a poet and freelance book editor. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry Northwest, B O D Y, LEVELER, The Medical Journal of Australia, and the Mississippi Review. A native of New Orleans, she currently lives in Brooklyn. You can find her online at www.katieherman.com.
Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, No Eden (2011) and Book of Asters (2014), and a chapbook, Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). She has received fellowships from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and her poems have appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, Quarterly West, Linebreak, and other journals. She teaches writing to middle and high school students on-line for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth.
Debra McQueen’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Legendary, Undertow, The Lake, NEON, and RoguePoetry Review. WORK Literary Magazine published one of her many scathing resignation letters, and in spite of this, she still has a job teaching special education in Soda City, South Carolina. Her first collection of poems, Born to Die, will be out from Singing Bone Press in 2015.
David Ishaya Osu (b. 1991) writes from Nigeria. He has had poems featured in literary publications such as: Atlas Poetica: A Journal ofWorld Tanka, Birmingham Arts Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, Watershed Review, The Missing Slate, and The Kalahari Review, among numerous others. David is a board member of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, and he is currently polishing his debut poetry book. He is obsessed about poems, pictures and plays; and he is in love.
Daniel M. Shapiro is a special education teacher who lives in Pittsburgh. His book of celebrity-oriented poems, How the Potato Chip Was Invented, was published by sunnyoutside press on the last day of 2013.
Caroline Wilson is a poet from Western North Carolina. She holds her B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from UNC Asheville, and is also a graduate of their Creative Writing Program. She has had work previously published in Spitjaw Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Your One Phone Call, and Yellow Chair Review. She co-curates the quarterly Juniper Bends Reading Series in Asheville, which brings together established and emerging writers.