I Knew My Worth (originally published on Blood Into Ink)- Kindra M. Austin

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
boys all lined up to
pet my cleft at the blind side of the playground—
dirty fingers
mercifully uneducated in the intricacies of
female anatomy

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck in
middle school, despite my flat chest and
highly guarded cleft—
face of Helen and an ass that wouldn’t quit,
by the gods, I knew my worth

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
high school boys poorly educated in the delicacies of
female anatomy
petted my cleft with excavating fingers—
I sang hymns for my molested hymen

I knew my worth when I gave birth
two weeks before graduation, and I was in love;
my sweet babe, my savior—
she taught me the truth of my worth

Offshoots- Kristen Wood

ap-parkland-school-shooting-vigil

My 9-year old daughter

is shaking,

unable to sleep.

Panic overtakes her.

I clasp her hands

and remind her

to focus on what’s real,

repeating

breathe

breathe

breathe.

It is hard to quell

a panic attack

by focusing on reality

when the reality is

she found out

why the flags are at half-mast.

But what if it happens here

what if

what if

what if?

I offer unassured assurances.

I breathe

breathe

breathe.

She knows

her uniformed, conservative school

on lock-down.

She knows

police swarming

her brother’s junior high.

Reports of guns

and danger

and crouching out of sight

and staying in the bathroom

if that’s where you are when the shooter comes

and dark paper on windows

and teachers who will

bar the door,

human shields.

My daughter suffers from anxiety

because she cannot

ignore

dismiss

accept

the world around her

and her mind reminds her

that the truth is scary.

It could happen

here

here

here.

It happens

here

here

here.

They need their guns

and they fly their flags proudly,

even if they have to be at half-mast

too often.

My hand would only cover my heart

at that flag

if there were a shooter coming

and I had to protect it

or her.

My child is not your collateral damage.

No more teacher-heroes.

No more kindergarten casualties.

I want my daughter to

breathe

breathe

breathe.


Kristen Wood is a mother of five, a writer, a reader, a student, and an aspiring librarian. She has had her work published on Mothers Always Write, and is an ongoing contributor to the online magazine, Still Standing. She is also a proud pop culture geek and a champion napper. She loves to make people laugh and make people think, and if she can do both at the same time, even better.

Hours- Samantha Lucero

Hours clem-onojeghuo-192729

I see those mottled photos, ornate albums

of yesterdays yellow sun

Of swollen women, dream-like, in a lavender field.

They leash their arms around an oval-shape

becoming empty; the shape deflates, the air comes out like water.

It starts to breathe it’s own small breath in the shape of a person,

someday a man, a woman, sometimes swollen, sometimes

stiff, stark, or bleeding.

Seeing those photos one day,

your nose has memorized leather and tobacco flower.

for her, it’s dr.pepper, Disney on ice

the cotty musk she never knew she had just inside the pi of bone.

samantha lucero 2017 ©


Samantha Lucero likes… uhhh… cats, and can never think of what to say about herself, she writes at Samantha Lucero, sometimes and is a managing editor at the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

Snippet- Megha Sood

Snippet Megha
I got a snippet, a sneak preview
a short glance at you
in the snapshot they took
floating away in the warm embrace of my body
sleeping in the deepness of my soul
It was an overwhelming feeling
of having a soul
entwined in another
and making it grow.
Your existence and presence
has given me two heartbeats
as it’s overwhelming
to contain your love with just one alone.
You are a part of my existence
and soon you will define me too
You take shape inside me and
I shape my life around you.
Growing little fingers and feet
my world is embraced around you
I’m creating a life inside me
or Are you weaving a universe around me too?
I just can’t fathom that I have the magical
powers of the mother’s nature inside me.
That I have been blessed by the creator’s touch
My whole world has been overjoyed
since I saw that snippet.
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash


I’m an avid reader, loves to sing, an ardent lover of poetry and sometimes can scribble few lines too. Loves to dance in the rain, have an undying love for nature, can watch the beautiful sunset for hours. I have worked in the IT field for almost a decade as a manager, worked crazy hours and traveled around the world. In that busy schedule, I never got the time to creatively express my thoughts. Now every time I finish a poem, free verse anything it fills me with so much happiness and excitement and a feeling to have created something of my own.  I blog at Megha’s World – A potpourri of emotions.

Summer is Over-Stacey’s Mum- K. Barratt

Staceys Mom KB

When Summer was at its heights,

And my life was still mine,

I had a name, I had a voice, I was

A girl with a plan.

With bridges to build and castles to conquer.

But Summer is over and I’m just

Stacey’s mum.

I am dear, I am babe,

I am Mrs Whoever, Lady X.

I am the invisible woman in the second

Lane, at the front of the queue, catching

A glimpse of herself

In the reflection of the vending machine.

And I know why the caged bird sings,

And the lonely teenager rips her skin

With a razor, and the town’s weirdo

Put his life at risk doing an impossible feat,

And the cat lady screams in the middle

of the night, like crazy.

They do it to feel.

To convince ourselves that we are real, here, still,

Ugly, fat, slim, old, grey, faded, strange,

Still here, our beating hearts still playing

The summer song that gave us flight,

That made us reckless, that made us dance

And dance, until that dance and we were one,

The dance still dancing inside of Stacey’s mum.

Summer shines in me, summer rises in me,

Flowers bloom in me, working their way up

To the cracks of my casing, to break the

Cloak of venerability, like dandelions

Pushing pavements apart,

The cement of the years, of Lady X and little dear,

Of the names given, imposed, baptized,

The mask I am told to wear, ripping at the sides.

But inside, I’m getting high, darling; stoned darling;

Intoxicated darling, with guitars and moonshine and life.

Singing in a red dress on the top of the bar,

In a smoky club to the notes of jazz, blues, a few

Suede shoes twisting and tapping in my heart.

And I’m not over yet.

I’m not done yet.

I’m not broken nor wrecked nor cracked nor shattered, yet.

I am older,  wiser, perhaps, but not obsolete,

There are still rainbows forming beneath

My cape of invisibility.

Summer is over, true, and outside autumn has

Painted the world red. But strawberries roll

Down my throat, and mead, and cheese on bread,

The green grass growing inside my oxford pumps,

Not just Stacey’s mum, but me, the me who had

A name, who had a plan, who had a game,

The me who held the sun in her hands and made it shine.

In aisle three I may walk, Lady X, looking for butter and eggs,

But inside I am surfing, writing my name on the sand,

Listening to the sea trapped in a shell, my shell,

This what you see, a fraction of myself.

Outside, the breeze is chilly, the autumn leaves

Whirling in the air, like a dreaming dervish waiting for death.

And I sit still, stand still, make myself still, in this role, still,

Pretending summer has come and gone,

And I’m just babe, dear, woman in aisle one.

Stacey’s mum. Still. Non-person with no name. Still.

But it’s fake news, darling, because in this half-world

I have been put in, like a mute extra in a play,

There is another side yet, another place yet, a time behind yet

Where Summer neve ever ends and the roses know my name

And on my motor bike I ride and I ride and ride, a bit of wild of

Sex on the side. A few blues, a little jazz. The crackling

Song of bonfires calling the early morning light.

And me. And I. Still breathing. Still being. Still alive. Here.

Ready to take flight, darling; to be, darling.

To birth a second summer from the depth of my heart,

My inner fire much more than meets the eye,

A person with a name, a woman with a game,

Stacey’s mum piling away all the crap, and making it burn.


I can’t say I follow any particular tendency or style. I pretty much let my heart sings and copy the notes into the computer, and then play with the sounds and meanings until I feel the poem, idea or musing have taken their own shape and personality. I am originally from Venezuela and have been in the UK for 14 years. I am a writer, poet, blogger, life coach, interfaith-minister, celebrant, language teacher, Domestic Goddess with an edge,  Tarot reader, mother to a girl (light of my eyes), a dog, a Guinea pig and five plants, and wife to the most patient man in the world, who sometimes appears in my poetry. I feel very lucky to be multi-racial: Spanish, Nigerian, Native American, Jewish, Italian, Arabic and Finnish. Somehow I think that influences my eclectic style, which flourishes in almost everything I do, from my writing to my cooking. Like everyone I have had my ups and downs. I have experience domestic violence (first hubby) and ridiculously sweet loving (second hubby). I am immigrant and right now I am witnessing the loss of my country (long story) and yet I have been very much welcomed in the UK and have grown to love it very much. I am bipolar, psychotic, suicidal and suffer from psychosomatic epilepsy, which can make life a challenge at times, and, at others, weirdly fun.

I blog at Singing Heart

 

The Beginning- Aurora Phoenix

IMG_20170402_181041614
Art and poem by Aurora Phoenix
It felt like miscarriage.
There was the requisite agony and attendant
gore – absent the maternal oxytocin glow. This being
erupted from her unbidden, extruding through
dry constricted orifices.
It wracked her – a clamped
down silent caterwauling black hole
wrenching her skinside in and curdling
the yolk of the skies.
This thing was a raw bloody
mangled mess, confounding hope of life.
Expecting putrefaction
it squirmed and whimpered
inexplicably birthed in desolate
Siberian confinement.

At the end of all that was known
she bore a poetess self

Aurora Phoenix is a writer who is in the process of authoring a new life following a shocking incarceration. She was previously a clinical psychologist and suburban mom. Writing found her in captivity and has been an inescapable conduit to process her experience and reclaim her voice.

The Beginning-Introducing Aurora Pheonix

IMG_20170402_181041614
[Art and poem by Aurora Pheonix]
It felt like miscarriage.
There was the requisite agony and attendant
gore – absent the maternal oxytocin glow. This being
erupted from her unbidden, extruding through
dry constricted orifices.
It wracked her – a clamped
down silent caterwauling black hole
wrenching her skinside in and curdling
the yolk of the skies.
This thing was a raw bloody
mangled mess, confounding hope of life.
Expecting putrefaction
it squirmed and whimpered
inexplicably birthed in desolate
Siberian confinement.

At the end of all that was known
she bore a poetess self

[Aurora Pheonix is a fledgling writer who is in the process of authoring a new life following a shocking incarceration. She was previously a clinical psychologist and suburban mom. Writing found her in captivity and has been an inescapable conduit to process her experience and reclaim her voice.]