Issue #4

I Took the Day, Entire

Barbara Lawhorn

I took the entire day.

I took the day, entire

and entirely kissed

the length of its neck,

silvered it with my saliva.

The wind galloped the leaves

of my tangled hair. I wore

clothes, but the breeze

was the day’s fingers

skating and skirting

hems, crawling up

my shirt, cooling

the sweat pooling

in my belly button.

That place of tethered birth.

I baptized my own finger there.

How wanton this age-blasted body.

My thoughts crawl in the dirt

with the fire ants and alight,

a-trembling and a-hovering--

oil-prismed coven of hummingbirds.

The wanting in me is a second mouth,

agape. The longing? I expected age

to temper it, but all my years are simply

a new and lengthened tongue, testing

a litany of words, seeking the one, the ones,

it truly hungers and has the taste for.

Barbara Lawhorn is an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University where she co-advises SITREP: Veteran Perspectives on Combat and Peace, now in its fifth year. She's into literacy activism, walking with her dog, Banjo, baking and eating pie, adventuring, and finding the wild places, within herself and outside in the world. Her most recent work can be found at Poetry South, Flash Fiction Magazine, High Shelf Poetry, and forthcoming in White Wall Review. Her favorite creative endeavors are her kids, Mars and Jack.

You can find her on Instagram @barbara.c.lawhorn and Twitter @BarbaraCLawhorn

The Things Joan of Arc said to me from the bookcase

Elizabeth Sackett

She tells me of the virgin sounds:

the holy hollow vowels

soft and bright and full of ache.

Her only portrait

was speculation. She was

the idea of flowing hair.

A sacred sword a river

of holy mother heart.

I only know the shelled whisper

of a page or two, and the strong

touch of bookcase and the statues

sitting up and down the halls

like bouncers at a garden.

She says the way wind

folds a morning curtain

is something to keep in your pocket.

Should I keep this statue inside

of me? I ask. There’s an alien

angel in my skull. I’m afraid

of loving more than lovers. I hold swords

to my mouth for the taste of blood

more than the conviction.

Joan seduced men into awe

and chastity. Her beauty gave them bricks

as they silently curled around

battles, touchless.

She was young and still

and strong as a valley, wasn’t she?

I ask this of the paper

spines and words

emboldened to the sound

of empty spaces.

I was a child, she says.

I was a child.

Elizabeth Sackett is a Long Island-based poet and performer with a special interest in theology, mythology, and perception. Her work can be found in Neon Literary Magazine, Wild Musette, Relief Journal, Subprimal Poetry Art and Visitant, among other places. 

You can find her on Instagram @changeling_fae and on her website


Caitlin Andrews

It was just five letters once, a black dot far from home

Now I unearth a world from the papery intersecting lines

Flat demarcations transmuting into shape and form

Springing up as skyscrapers and rustling palms in a curve of salty wind

Penetrating sun and monsoon sting ravages skin exposed

Hot and chilled and humid and heavy and damp

The city goes on for miles, millions in a matrix of concrete and aching heat

Flat grid Little Havana South Beach Irish bars tango and salsa and sex

But there is only one of you.

I am sweating all the time.

Under arms damp

Black is the only color that won’t stain

The birth control turns my upper lip into a dark brown line

I cut off my ponytail

I hate the clammy feeling of open pores on my neck scraping against hair

Sometimes I am more boy than woman

I trade in skirts for pants

Spreading my legs on the metro-rail seat

I want to take up more space

More of your time, without apologizing

I ask you to read my skin, find the compass

Connect the dots on the skin-speckles with the soft pads of your fingers

Share my breath in the shower steam

Sweat with me until we are slick and humming

M/I/A am I

Falling helplessly for a city that rejects my body

While I am helpless for your body

My longing curbed only by the knowledge that you are within reach

That in this moment I am enough

And the world is still and your breath is hot in my mouth and I don’t know if this feeling will

ever come back so I draw you closer

Odours buzzing in ecstasy

I never want to stop sweating.

Caitlin Andrews is a storyteller, arts educator, illustrator, and travel enthusiast from Baltimore, Maryland. Her research interests include Irish socio-political histories and explorations of gender, which have manifested in the form of mirco-fiction, essays, and two novel manuscripts. She is currently fully-funded at the University of Miami, where she is obtaining her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction. 

You can find her on Instagram @edgarallenbro_