The Separation

How could I leave her there

I saw the bruises on her neck

and the underside of her chin

As soon as I landed

& when I departed

I held her hair back

As she vomited shaking

& clung to me bawling

As her monster jeered

“You act like your whole family is dying

She’s just going back to America

Now stop it.”

What could I do?

She begged me not to hurt him

& I offered up a thousand solutions

Even a citizenship marriage

But she was too sick to see clearly

Now she writes to me:

I’m so happy and so proud

You got out of your abusive relationship

I’m just so sorry I couldn’t do it

Then she doesn’t write anything

 

by Georgia Park

Silent Forest – by Rachael Ikins

Prelude:
I’ve had the rending grief,
chopped-off hair, bloody scratches.
Nausea, insomnia. Yes.
I have visited that forest.
This one is silent.

1.
Grief is a young woman on her horse. Shadowing me through trees. No matter how fast I snap my head around, I cannot see her.

Yoked to Summer, garden weeds, pests, harvest, I plod through July.
Huzzah each blossom—bud to husk. My heart isn’t in it.
I flinch beneath sun’s
relentless brilliance.

I want Autumn, leaf piles to hush highway’s yawn as it stretches and pops, Monday mornings.
Leave me alone
in the woods
to listen for those muffled hoofbeats.

I want cold and snow, a trail to follow early evenings.
When I can sneak out of the house, into birdless quiet.

Snow, so I can find those footprints,
See her profile, shout some soundless plea. “Go away!”
See

her turn her head.
She says, “I haven’t
forgotten you.”

2.
My kettle screams,
the dogs bark at squirrels.
Rush-hour streams the highway. Grief is a shadow,
a girl, her horse,
following
me.

Copyright Rachael Ikins. 2019. Read more by Rachael here

Rachael Ikins is a powerhouse of creativity as well as Associate Editor at Clare Songbirds Publishing House in Auburn NY https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/featured-authors/rachael-ikins/2018 Ikins is an Independent Book Award winner (poetry), 2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee, 2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee

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She has grown out of herself – Candice Louisa Daquin

 

The girl, the gash, the glory
she was once even referred to as happy whore
sinister slut, fake good girl
the girl of multifaces
is no longer a girl
she has grown out of herself
the sharp thorns of her virginity
long bled
she is now a woman of dubious age
standing on the hemmed periphery of other girls with elastic limbs
their body language leans away, saying; she is no longer their sister
(they whisper, they whisper)
an aging divide
four and five, divide by nine
long multiplication
she has been subtracted out
something about the lines in her eyes
she’s not one of us, they say in collective pollen count
coming together like a quilt
leaving her to wade out into flat water
only five years ago, only less than that
when she had a full head of bright hair and nimble back
she somersaulted in their field
picking irises
and they did not bat an eye
she was under the radar
nar, nar, nar!
old enough to be mother to some
those angry girls with tight biceps and lungful of words
but they did not detect
the softening of her cleavage
the jello in her thighs singing its spring bulb
they only saw her pretending
thought her good enough and one of them
til the sickness left its indelible mark
a red hand print covering her left eye
the one she could not see well from
(Premature macular degeneration, you may lose your sight, the optician gleefully sung)
turning her with its yellow dusted baptism
honest to her guilt of years lived
I am four and five not divided by nine
I smell different to you
this is what men sense when they sniff around us like
wolves come from rain storm
instinctively keening toward the coltish and fawn
as we who are older turn like wine
another vintage they have no taste for
she could fool them well but did not, after her visit to Hades
wish to pretend to be a girl anymore
only a woman could have survived
and it was stamped as surely as Ash Wednesday
a third eye
the slow drain of life began
she saw it first in her hands, then her mouth
it did not so easily tell stories
when Spring came, they knew her truth
without saying anything, left her out
of their Mayday circle
all the light-footed snow rabbits and their daisy chains
now when she tried to join in
they circumvented her, like
she was a parent, a teacher, an elder
with respect, but no thought given
of her pattered exclusion
maybe she did the same, when she
had such halo radiance
just as boys turn to men and wish
to scoop up girls and remain
ever held in youthfulness
she saw her own extinction
in their slow passing over her gaze
she was becoming invisible
first her hair, then her arms, then her feet
gone into deep water and not returned
she swam out to the lighthouse
where piercing rays caught
undulated water like a lovers stroke
and by fevered spray of waves against rock
stared at her future like chain and ball
why does a woman have?
first the pummeling of her elders
constraining her flight?
then reigned condemnation of those
wishing to corset and divide
and finally, as she ages
the talisman of wisdom enveloping her
an unspoken rejection by her own sisters
who think themselves invulnerable
far removed, not tainted yet by
her approaching wither
til the only one left to speak
is her own voice
and in unblemished muslin sky
she becomes a single long tail bird
seeing everything
from on high
that lonely place
of insight and exile
how she longs still
to be pulled into the sewn circle
embraced by her daughters and shimmering girls
given the crown of daisies
led whirling and laughing
around mosaic may pole
like a girl who has remembered
her life before she was born
again clasping the soft hands
of future
fearful of nothing
in the rawboned bosom of her sisterhood

Seize the female – Candice Louisa Daquin

You’re just a little thing, a flim flam thing

something of no consequence if you choose to see it that way

and if you do, you’ll walk into rooms, drooping head, sagging shoulders

nobody will even see

that’s the gait of defeat baby and it’s yours for the taking

as nobody, I mean nobody, wants to inherit that dried up mantle

so tell yourself you’re not going to be a cliché

the girl with no self-esteem

who picks herself apart the way some will eat paper and others scabs

even if it’s true you didn’t have the calcium back then

you’re here now and you’re among the fray

nobody likes a debbie downer

remember the girl you were at ten

who wore a smart ass comment any time someone

tried to knock them to the floor?

she was a bad ass warrior and you can be too

it’s in there somewhere, lost among the ‘what if’s’ and other fears

so you don’t like what you see in the mirror and you think that gives you

special privileges to hate yourself?

many women wear their scars, many women do not possess the art

of beauty and despite this they apologize for nothing

and pursue what they want with single-mindedness

you were brought up to think the only power you had was a pair of long legs

and big eyes but they’ll only get you so far

the rest comes from a place that isn’t written down

it’s the seat of the female and all her power

that’s why we lose ourselves in plastic moments and forget

the real allure isn’t a small waist it’s a large brain

conquer your self loathing and come out of your shell

whether you’re whole or incomplete nobody can tell

give yourself over to the riot of it all

you only live once make it count

chase the dream

chase the girl

damn them all