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

Www.writerraebeth.wordpress.com 

https://m.facebook.com/RachaelIkinsPoetryandBooks/

@poetreeinmoshun on Instagram
@writerraebeth on Tumblr
@nestl493 on Twitter

Temporary warmth

We’re walking on different sides of a sunlit street

The rain has ceased, everything glistens with temporary warmth

We are no longer the children of coal and sinking crafts

Who plucked our fear from our teeth like stray pieces of meat

In undigested land devoid of dental floss

I swam once

The entire length of a pool holding my breath underwater

The teachers eyes bulging, as he asked me why I didn’t drown

I could have told him, drowning wasn’t the worst fate

Nothing to lose with eyes closed, pushing against surly weight of water

Antiseptic smell in my nostrils and your voice

Catching with laughter like much played vinyl

We hung from tree limbs to forget the welt of sad places

Drifting in sunlight as long as we could, before shadows criss-crossed satsuma sun

I could have said; when you’ve nothing to lose

It’s easier to give your all

Even as you drown on dry land

But adults never understood us then, with our suitcases of pain and secrets

They stapled confessions together and told us

Don’t make up wicked lies

Sent us home, without pebbles in our pockets

To mark the way back to before we spoke

Out.

That is why

Diving deep

I would talk to you as we

Held our mutual spearmint breath

Swam fierce, then languid, until numb

Through unyielding padlocked worlds

So similar to all we knew

Save those brief moments skipping class

With the glory of a starting over day, all her unabashed radiance

Even nightmares could be beautiful

Braid their hair with pink skirted daisies

On days like those

Scarlet Lines – Candice Louisa Daquin

Water-Flowers-Photography-by-Nicolas-Senegas-e1473392893297

We were running so fast, lost our hold

on reality

it became a normal thing to

wake when darkness blotted sky with festive blackout

silence roamed halls of disapproval with tender switch

then I tasted, the purity of life

like a distilled drink, untouched by sweetness

this draft did not yield to usual fears

of becoming irrelevant as a woman

shifting weightless from one state of being to another

without permission, no discernible change

save the decisions made in our absence

by controller of who we are, when we don’t yet know

how to halt the discourse, throw stereotype and expectation

out with convention

the whip and goad of woman since

first she was brought to her knees and told

I control the discourse, your identity is shaped

and fractured by my say-so

I label your value or deem you worthless

because you are too old

beyond a date in time

there the guillotine falls

sorry you’re on this side now, without your head

sorry you can’t gain admittance into our club

we only like them fresh and mailable

any woman who thinks for herself, must be trouble

make up rules to control her, keep her cowed

give her endometrium and other punishments

it’s all rather biblical, said the atheist as he

inserted the next record of tricks

some cruelty smells like him

and his turpentine prostituted room

burning on false fuel, I was only 18 then

yesterday and a century later

we don’t oblige women with scars and fat

nor sagging breasts, nor any chin hair

if you’re greying or balding, go fuck yourself

no one else will

the seat in the waiting room is a laundry shute

out with the old, in with the new

we have voracious appetite for shiny flesh and unstrung hymens

I borrowed some platforms and sewed up my leaks

put on a negligee and three layers of peat

the bog man looked pretty good for his age too

hide behind war paint, chew through your sickness

give me succor baby, give me raspberry crush, give me voodoo

lovers who oblige the second time around and the fourth and the fifth

standing freezing outside Hotel St. Pierre

drinking your waste and glut of youth

I gained admittance on false pretense

hasn’t it always be that way?

change your name, gender, race

put on another person’s face, inherit for a day

or an hour or a life time

all the little girls want your number now

all the boys want to pray between your legs

serve me something unshaven and hot instead

there are fevers in the walls, trying to get out

we have three minutes until it’s midnight

then illusions are exposed, everyone sees the truth

middle-age never used to be a purple bruise

we made it this far

tomorrow the sun is coming out

remove the war-paint, undo divining spell

maybe the light won’t extinguish you

I want you to like me, for who I am

not the girl who tricks you with her little doll cries

was it yesterday or last century?

we lay beneath your blanket and you impregnated me

with the urge to live forever, never grow old

even the beautiful turn to grub and worm food

live fearlessly, wear yourself boldly, you said

as you eased the knife to the sweet spot

cutting upward from your pulse, in thin

traceable, scarlet lines