Issue #25

Your Dress Hangs Here

after Frida Kahlo’s “My Dress Hangs There”

Jessica Kim

there is only one woman left & that

is not you, the city submerged in the flames

of her bouffant gown. this air of nonchalance

pollutes every crack on concrete-coated

rubble, pixelated splinters of ambition

muddled in asphalt. even the telephone rings

in clumsy wheezes & no one answers.

forget how america promised to call

back. how dollars coil themselves around

a crucifix, unrelenting. in another corner, a

half-eaten ship puffs at the skyscrapers

in unfiltered disapproval, leaving lady liberty

behind. the garbage bin also a vessel for

everything abandoned: something resembling

a boiling flask, tickseeds, hands. confess,

how those hands undid the ticks of the analog

clock on the wall. time stretching like

lifelines across the clotheslines, Tehuana dress

as the centerpiece. the dress on a noose, without

a neck to hold. you are not in this frame,

perhaps hiding from the decay. & the wreckage

shows nothing of satisfaction, drowning

your heritage somewhere other than here.

Jessica Kim is a writer based in California. Her works have been recognized by the National Poetry Quarterly and Pulitzer Center, and can be found in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Eunoia Review, Minute Magazine, and many more. She loves all things historical and sour. She can be found on Instagram at @jessiicable

Letters Painted on the Boulder

Cento from Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Aura Martin

Hazel liked the clear light of day. She liked to see things. After a few minutes a woman with a mop opened the door. She was a big woman with very yellow hair and white skin that glistened with a greasy preparation. She had on a pink nightgown that would better have fit a smaller figure. Somebody is going to want to get by you. Hazel seemed to at once to have to balance her face so that her expression would be the same on both sides. The women had finished eating and were smoking cigarettes. How long you been here? Nothing’s going to happen. This is one more hard place to make friends in. Something on your mind? The sky was like a piece of thin polished silver with a dark sour-looking sun in one corner of it. There was a small, oval mirror. The wooden frame continued again over the mirror and ended in a crowned, thorned headpiece, showing that the artist had not lost faith in his work. I can smell the sin on your breath. Hazel recognized the voice without looking. The fake blind man leaned forward and smiled. I don’t believe in sin, Hazel said. Take your hand off me. But he kept wrapping it tighter. I don’t have to run from anything because I don’t believe in anything. There’s only one truth, and that is that there’s no truth. There used to be a fire-escape.

Aura Martin is a graduate of Truman State University. She is the author of the forthcoming chapbookThose Embroidered Suns(Lazy Adventurer Publishing) and the micro-chapbookThumbprint Lizards(Maverick Duck Press). She is a 2020 Sundress Publications Best of the Net nominee. Her work has appeared in3 Moon Magazine,ang(st) zine, andVariant Literature, among others. In Aura’s free time, she likes to run and take road trips. Find her on Twitter @instamartin17

To My Nephew’s BB Gun

Beck Guerra Carter

He holds you in small hands, scrawny

arms. Points you across the lawn

at a tiny red target. He keeps his eyes

open. Pulls the trigger. Turns the target

into red shards hidden in the grass. When

he asked for you for his birthday,

it made perfect sense for a Texas boy

to want a toy gun. It made sense for you

to come into this house filled with Transformers

and Marvel characters. American childhood

is shaped by heroes making things go BOOM. Tell me,

when does a toy become a weapon? When does

a boy become a man? Become a threat?

When he plays with you it is the back yard

not the front, you are allowed in. His father

says never point that at anybody. Not even

to be funny. His father says other boys can do things

he cannot do. It’s just the way things are. I know

it isn’t fair. When you arrive in his hands

for the first time it is 2014. Tamir Rice is

gone. I don't like your presence. You feel

like the worst waiting

to happen. When the target breaks, his grin

is wide. I never want that smile to shatter.

Beck Guerra Carter is a queer poet from Austin, Texas. She is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Texas State University. She has been published in Persona and the forthcoming anthology Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast. Beck currently resides in San Marcos with a tiny dachshund named Cookie. Her pronouns are she/they.