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

Tribe – Candice Louisa Daquin

Hold still

it won’t hurt

and if it does

then it’s your fault anyway

you’re lucky to be getting anything

if it were up to me, I would leave you where they found you

hunched in a mess of splayed arms and legs, barely moving

you must have asked for it somehow

they all do

Hold still

it will hurt

because for ages women have sought

to repair their broken parts, find a way to piece together

those patches of their souls

only to be berated and shamed

hobbled, judged, vilified

burnt a second time with stronger brand

what is it within humanity, wants to further damage?

the survivor

hold on

it shouldn’t hurt

we are creatures of the fall, we are not fallen, we are good

women ride alongside men in equal canter

when one of us is hurt, it hurts us all

love heals the torn soul

in a world that does not exist, I would claim a dream

no violence, no rape, no distortion of events

but that world is far from here

hold on

some of us stand next to you, helping

as you feel you cannot go on

you can

as you feel you are going to give up

you won’t

you are a woman of us all

you share our strength

we form a circle together and hold hands

there is no damnation if you refuse permission to damn

there is only the power of sisterhood

hold on to your tribe

the only shame is when we don’t stand




woman battered

He said he loved her as her flesh received the first hit,

The slap in her ears making the world ring

And shriek -or maybe it was her, screaming,

As he kicked, repeatedly, against her soft womb,

Her stomach, her spleen, her arms and legs, he kicked,

Whilst she screamed and swallowed the blood from

Her absent teeth, push out in one single blow from

His fist -the fist that loved her to death and was

About to prove it.


Offshoots- Kristen Wood


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,





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



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




the world around her

and her mind reminds her

that the truth is scary.

It could happen




It happens




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




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.

Apocalypse Buffet- David Somerset

Apocalypse Buffet David Somerset

[Written while waiting for my order of meatloaf at the Cellar open mic]


Another meal at the Apocalypse Buffet

It could be a snack or

a meal at mid-day

But we can’t pass up

That “All you can eat!” special

Each and every day

Shock and awe in the morning

Car bombings in the afternoon

Random shootings fill the quiet

Russia Russia Russia

And then dead air

When the dishes run low

They are quickly refilled

Our hearty appetites

Always want more

Dave Somerset writes and performs poetry, stories and music at open mics and features. He likes Bansky’s idea that “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” and that truth and good writing converge. Dave’s work has been published in the Merrimac Mic Anthology, and online sites. Dave also has published a Chap Book: Among Poets Tonight.

CatastroLies- Aurora Phoenix

violence erupts

encore in gore

in restricted zones

(read: outside the ‘hood)

shocked voices


at the desecration

of their invulnerability

in “safe”


“family” neighborhoods


as if

horrific brutality

bypasses homes

with well-heeled lintels

and attached garages


as if

those who violate

personal sanctity

are never wolves

in pastors’ robes


as if

hordes of children

women (and yes, men)

don’t paint

obsequious complacency

over cuts and bruises


as if

the family is not

unit of maltreatment

grand central

damage station


as if

abject terror

wretched wriggling

into unavailable corners

is a new experience

among scores

in “safe” communities

Aurora Phoenix is a wordsmithing oxymoron. Staid suburbanite cloaks a badass warrior wielding weapon grade phrases. Read more of her confabulations at Insights from “Inside.”