Your Dress Hangs Here
after Frida Kahlo’s “My Dress Hangs There”
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
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.