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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A soft closing of words – Candice Louisa Daquin

 

When you are younger, everything is a challenge

I will not let them break me / I will fight back / I will survive!

as you get older you see

or you hear

or maybe it’s just a sense

in the air

or a turning of

light

changing

clenching your heart

sorrow wells up

a pool from nowhere

upon which you see

no reflection

only the insubstantial flickering

of someone

trying to survive

skate even

on cracking surface

too thin for the weight of

all those doubts

shadows without names

time piled high

playing broken records

and though you skate fast

and nimbly

there is numbness in your effort

as if you wish to finally be

caught

submerged

ice leaching your hot discontent

with page turned days

and ironed nights

into a drowning

of all the pain captured and glazed

within your center

where no-one looks

because adults are not

children with sticky hands out

being picked up and comforted

they are supposed to be

warriors

haven’t you read the literature?

didn’t you attend therapy for

a number of years where

it was reiterated perpetually

between biscuit breaks and tepid coffee in plastic cups

like a long string of words

thisandthatthisandthat

not meaningful enough

for a necklace

about how we are the masters

of our fate

it is up to us to fight

the temptation to slit our

fucking throats

and watch as the deepest

red bled

on snowy white

surface

a contrast we ache for

in nights howl

just when the fangs of doubt

seethes loudest and

the pain of being truly

alone is not

comforted by

bouquets of self talk and

P.O.S.I.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

looking thin and translucent

in candle light

only reminder of

times broken hearts thought

they could be well and whole

just as plug is pulled

the doll wound down

we sag and droop

remembering the sore rub

of innocence and how

we believed then in futures

unstrung and awaiting

not yet familiar with

sore eyes from so many tears

even as we say

do not cry again you foolish person

oh how I hate the weakness of

someone who weeps even as they

should have known

(you fool! You fool!)

oh how they should have

known

we all

fall

down

only some of us

wish to

pick

ourselves

up

the rest may not and it isn’t

your place to judge us

if we’d rather

tear at our flesh

or hammer the senseless walls

of our former trust

until bruises bloom like

underwater flowers

and knives can cut

some of the pain from

proffered wrists though

water tinged with scarlet

is no welcome

as I stand not wishing to

continue this charade

of being invested in life

or its many fascinations

you see

or you would

if you had ever

meant half or quarter

of the lies tasting so good now

they are settled and dark on my

closed eyes

for when you shut yourself

in a box and the magician taps

one two three

it is then opened and you are

not revealed

for you have

crossed over

maybe where those who cannot

perform magic themselves

must go

to escape the erasure of

each day spent hoping

pain will give up her lament

no she does not

quit so easily then

it is ours to turn the volume

down as we sink

beneath weeds and lily pad

to distant place where before it all

churned a terrible hurt

there was the reprieve of

knowing nothing of life’s scythe

and our simple steps made in earnest

before it was clear

there is no strength in survival

beyond what we endure

it is surely about

the language of loss

and if for some

it takes them

with it

then so

it may

be

the end

with

a soft

closing of

words

don’t forget

to buy

flowers

Preyed

 

Whispers penetrate flesh walls,
secrets resound like a melody
within the temple of mind.

A church choir of boys
sing Latin,
a tongue they never understood,
yet made beautiful in spite.

An angelic host of innocence,
perched in perfect rows;
perverse men licking dry lips
conduct harmony, as
chorus echoes in rounds
confined by marble stone
laid by hypocritical hands.

In time holy walls stand,
coffers full and overflowing
while souls remain empty.

Yet pride crumbles the benevolent,
corrupt tongues stumble awkwardly
over the dulled ivory teeth of time.

Stained glass fragments let in truth,
rays of light stream through darkness
reflecting a shattered faith sanctuary
built upon broken bones of man.

 

©Sabrina Escorcio
September 2017

Photo Credit, Sam Webber illustration for “the Priest That Preyed” – New York Times

 

Trajectory – Candice Louisa Daquin

12bTime only haunts you once

hardened in amber the fly immortal

a draft to whisk away sorrow, in our lives we sleep on our hope

for to survive you must look to your dreams

dancing behind double glass, she turns at the sound

seeing the one whom she loves, watching her perpetual motion

until that broken moment and the dance halts on blackened soles

unexpectedly and predicted both

like the slung free fall of an arrow will surely pierce

even armor, given right trajectory

past emotions fall imprecise from curling branches

the corridor in your mind takes a step on mustard carpet

all hushed by sway of time, leaching her bounty

youthful enough to crane perfect neck against marble bath

arching, pleasure, the slow tickle of absence like a flutist

produces from silvered mouth, the breath of music

a chance of rain sound-proofing slip of movement

time only haunts you once

prisoner of the war of words said and not

til I let you go, once and for all, softly the first

forever it felt, walking out the door

steel beneath my own terms

shaking like bakers

raising their dough before it is morning

and you

never who you were

growing wings

stepping from edges

floured hands

pressed together

leaving imprint

where no scouring can chase

the outline you made

Lunacy – Aurora Phoenix

your skin should be alabaster

encapsulating the moon’s

shimmering aloof luminescence

as it does.

 

in your absence

musty tatters

of scorched indigo

shroud forlorn luna.

 

your eyes should glow amber

beaming the warmth

of a thousand equatorial suns

as they do.

 

you took your leave

and smogged tentacles

of choking umber

envelope my sol

Too Many To Count – Kristiana Reed

 

3 weeks – she nestles

deep into her mother,

into her past and future.

 

5 weeks – she swims

tail fluttering

in the amniotic wind.

 

8 weeks – she moves

with tiny fingers

and toes.

 

11 weeks – she’s kicking

and dancing,

drawing circles within.

 

13 weeks – she has fingerprints

and two million eggs,

a city of pinks.

 

16 weeks – she’s a girl

with edges and bones

with nape of the neck curls.

 

19 weeks – she’s a girl who listens,

sees, touches, tastes and smells,

who won’t be reported missing.

 

20 weeks – she’s a girl,

a prayer, a disappointment,

a loss, an appointment.

 

 

Disclaimer: This was written for our series on the exploitation of women. This week is about female infanticide. One of the common methods of carrying out this heinous act is sex selective abortion. This poem is raising awareness about this. Its purpose is not to criticise abortion or women who have had abortions.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties

letters for a certain nobody. #2- Ra’ahe Khayat

Ari 4

i miss the way your heart used to fuck mine in the middle of a crowd, as everyone looked over at us, without ever seeing how fast they slammed against our ribcages, while we tried to cage our flailing valves and aching veins that were too tired to scream, and yet too obstinate to stop fighting.

it’s all too very still now.

my body has lost it’s rebellion, and my mind has lost it’s battle, as they both stand silently over the tomb where parts of you lived within me long ago. everything that moves today, does so in denial- because acceptance hurts.

you could sew bones back into their sockets, and joints back into their folds, but the tears at the creases where you folded my breast as a keepsake cannot be joined anymore than you can reset the calendars to sail back through those months that lost their very name in the avoidance of yours.

i’m like a water molecule at the surface of silent lake- you crashed into me with a single violent kiss, and then skipped away, without ever turning around to watch me drown-

i miss the way you stole the clarity of the graceless stars that bewailed the loss of their entangled twin, with each breath.


“I’m an autumn leaf, fluttering with loneliness on a naked branch.. where I observe the world, like a specter. It’s all fleeting moments, entwined with cold mornings fading into frosted evenings. Never still, yet never moving.”

I am Ra’ahe Khayat, and let me make you fall into the rabbit hole breathing in my mind at Fallen Alone