Two Poems | Leor Feldman

Image: Jelena Ardila Vetrovec

FLESHY KIDS

pink bubbles circulate her
purple knees

–gather in my pubic hair.
Pockets burst within dark scruff

criss-crossed, my legs besiege the tub
severing our ocean in two parts

my form conquering space–
an iceberg against a buoy.

Fur sprouts with the height of puberty.

She gathers white fluff in her palms, lathering soap in dirty-blonde locks
massaging higher and higher until she forms a tin hat–

fairytales we spew as a connection to our God.

Mom thinks I’m too old to bathe with friends now–
whispered against my bed sheets before “Goodnight” rests beside me.

I refuse to be without Clementine’s soapy mane. The rest of her is still
smooth and slight–

cementing our divide.

Nightmares of spiky legs, tangled leaves–
branches spit out across my jagged edges equating adulthood or–

even an end to our songs,
our fragile world
–built on an island of hot water quickly dying without steam.

Always Alone in Grocery Stores

Leor Feldman (they/them/she/her) is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. They often write of their body as a roadmap to illustrate how they’ve grown through chronic illness, while also exploring their relationship with their Jewish culture and queer identity. With a BA in Writing & Literature from California College of the Arts, Leor is currently working towards a Masters in International & Intercultural Communication at the University of Denver. They have poetry published in Humble Pie Literary Journal, as well as articles in Hey Alma and The Colorado Sun. Find them on Instagram.

her to my own | Devin Welch

Image: Doruk Yemenici

her
to my
own.

saw a girl. she looked like you with someone who looked like me,
but taller with more weight. there were moments in the chais, rather
than this alarmed street with gum under my shoe and a ringing ear
and folks who don’t want me. the pubs with warm beer, I miss bars.
you’re a mother now. and the younger we age, two years equity and
sixty thousand exchanges they still looked like us. her less beautiful.

in the revolving barber’s chair i’m asked about my hair, but I can’t see in the passing
mirrors of the market where the drawn doors and portraits of those who’ve never been
here sleep behind the streetlamps. back to the cheap tabs and bad company where i can’t
tell love from brixton’s best. i thank god i’m not wet ‘cause i’ve floated that lido and i’m
sick of english words. i miss temperament, but can’t return to buoy in grandlake and not
course downstream. which i guess wouldn’t be so bad, not if I could stay on my back.

Originally from the front range, Devin Welch currently lives and works in London, UK where he recently finished his MFA at the University of London, Birkbeck. His prose, reviews, poetry, and films have been featured in publications across North America and Europe. 

The Nuthatches | Tricia Knoll

Image: Nikita Nikitenko

The Nuthatches

I pretend the red-breasted nuthatches
know what you might have said beneath
the plum tree last spring before your cell
phone rang and you took the call that said
your mother had only hours left
to live so you ran to your Subaru
and took off for Boston and left me
holding the thread of a message
that might have been only connection
and which I wanted to be love,
the kind of love that makes
swallows dive and nuthatches
hang upside down.

Now these little birds flit about
in winter’s snow, back and forth
above where we sat on a blue fleece
blanket, and they tweet what you haven’t,
that you miss me and will get back as soon
as you can. You have had the estate
to manage for your wayward sister
and her addictions which you feel
responsible for now that neither of you
have a parent, no one in the old house
to hold things together.

Your family tree snapped.
Your sister floated off like letters
let go into the wind. Invoices
you never intend to pay. The sketch
you made of me with my blouse
hanging off my shoulder
when the sun’s warmth gave me
hope that you felt the same
correspondence I do; we are meant
to be together. And my breast
was warm, wanting to be touched;
breast cancer took her. Maybe
your genes are faulty.

Those little birds continue our talk
in the crotch of the trees.
Bluejays push them away
from the feeder, but they return
all flibbertigibbet, so here
I’ve drawn a nuthatch
on a postcard and colored the breast pink
to say spring will come again and
I am still here for you, hearing
nuthatches tuck away what they need
for later.

Tricia Knoll is an aging poet living alone in the woods in Vermont on the unceded land of the Abenaki. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her recent collection Checkered Mates (Kelsay Books) focuses on relationships that work and those that don’t. Website: triciaknoll.com

Twitter: @triciaknollwind

The House We Build Together | Christopher Clauss

Image: Katherine Cavanaugh

Christopher Clauss

I do not ask her
if she believes
that the fairies will really come,
that they might be searching for a tiny backyard house
in which to dwell.
Even if they were,
no magical creature would choose
to live in this tangle of sticks
over which we have fussed
for far too long.
It doesn’t matter
that the bed of moss
will go un-slept in.
I will not worry myself
with exactness or proportions
of bark chair to mushroom table.
The fairies will never complain
about such things.
We busy ourselves
with flower petal carpets
and arranging decorations
of shiny quartz pebble just so.
The final product
is never quite what she envisioned.
The furnishings are rustic
and the roof keeps falling in
each time it is adjusted
by little fingers with the best of intentions.
She will remember
building everything herself.
When it is gone,
when the rain
and breeze
and rot have scattered the remnants
she will remember it
as a jeweled palace,
a luxurious home.
She will sleep comfortably
in her own bed
knowing the fairies
are well cared for,
imagining she had tucked them in herself,
kissed them gently on the forehead
the way Daddy does
before he whispers
good night.

Christopher Clauss (he/him) is an introvert, Ravenclaw, father, poet, photographer, and middle school science teacher in rural New Hampshire.  His mother believes his poetry is “just wonderful.” Both of his daughters declare that he is the “best daddy they have,” and his pre-teen science students rave that he is “Fine, I guess.  Whatever.”

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

The Stars | Zack Kopp

Image: Zoltan Tasi

The Stars

The cold stars clicking their claws together like crabs in a tank. History changes and runs off the page like butter. The world has been dragged through me, and I’ve been dragged through the world. We’re even. Stars twirl over stinking trenches, beginning a subtle magnetic resurrection that will take all time and never end. The mind is a machine to move matter. The scenes are super modern. The earth has us, and we multiply. Founded in an impulse of wild lonely need, not serious planning. The stars dissolve in my mouth not my hand. Let this life not be a torment. Let the stars stop shaking. Please, God. I will turn my greatest tricks for you.

Zack Kopp is a freelance writer, editor, photographer, graphic artist, and literary agent currently living in Denver, Colorado. His informal history of the Beat Generation’s connections with Denver was published by The History Press in 2015. Kopp’s books are available at Amazon, and you can find his blog at the website for his indie hybrid press at www.campelasticity.com featuring interviews and articles and links to other websites. His improvised novel, Public Hair, was described by one critic as “simultaneously the best and worst book ever.” The latest chapter of Kopp’s “fantastic biography” (Cf. Billy Childish), Henry Crank’s History of Wonders is expected in 2022.

And if / Şi dacă | Mihai Eminescu

Image: Birmingham Museums Trust

And if

And if the branches touch the window
And the poplar trees quake
That is how you are on my mind
And I slowly get closer to you

And if the stars touch the lake
Lighting it up, deeply
That is how I make peace with my pain
Illuminating the thought

And if the clouds though leave
They exit towards the glistening moon
That is how my memories return to me
Of you forever

Şi dacă

Şi dacă ramuri bat în geam
Şi se cutremur plopii,
E ca în minte să te am
Şi-ncet să te apropii.

Şi dacă stele bat în lac
Adâncu-i luminându-l,
E ca durerea mea s-o-mpac
Înseninându-mi gândul.

Şi dacă norii deşi se duc
De iese-n luciu luna,
E ca aminte să-mi aduc
De tine-ntotdeauna.

About the Poet

Mihai Eminescu (born Mihail Eminovici; 15 January 1850 – 15 June 1889) was a Romanian Romantic poet from Moldavia, novelist, and journalist, generally regarded as the most famous and influential Romanian poet.

About the Translator

Cristina A. Bejan is an award-winning Romanian-American historian, theatre artist, and poet. A Rhodes and Fulbright scholar, she is a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Bejan received her DPhil (PhD) in Modern History from the University of Oxford. A playwright and spoken word poet (her stage name is Lady Godiva), her creative work has appeared in the US, UK, Romania, and Vanuatu. In addition to many scholarly articles, she has published a poetry book (Green Horses on the Walls), history book (Intellectuals and Fascism in Interwar Romania), and a play in Voices on the Move (eds. Radulescu and Cazan).

Lover’s Kaddish | David Estringel

Image: Noah Silliman

Lover’s Kaddish

Come,
again,
and walk beside me
down the verdant path,
‘cross this deathly sprawl,
reading poetry from tombstones
and the yellowed pages
of your tattered Lorca.
How sweet the ballads
and laments on the breeze
that sift through soft yews—
just yonder—
that shake
like fists
at wrought-iron gates—
at Heaven—
clutching their red burdens (in clusters)
like beating hearts
to breasts of evergreen.
Dance with me
to the whispers of cypress trees—
so tall
they cut the sky,
bloodying
what God painted blue,
and the laughter of boys and girls,
as they duck and dart
from behind the pale bounty
of this garden of stone,
reveling
in perpetual games
of tag and Hide & Seek.
Will you find me
at dewy dawn
amongst sprays of grocery store bouquets
in cellophane wrappings
that cry silent tears?
Or in the cold of a moonrise,
contemplating our stars
and the gossip of earthworms?
When…o when,
will I see you, again?
Will memory outlast the letters
of my name?
Loneliness the promise?
There is no end
(so it seems)
to this longing, our endless game
(Who hides?
Who seeks?),

just a stone on my pillow
and the endless promise
of evergreen.

David Estringel is a Xicanx writer/poet with works published in literary publications, such as The Opiate, Azahares, Cephalorpress, Lahar, Poetry Ni, DREICH, Somos En Escrito, Ethel, The Milk House, Beir Bua Journal, and The Blue Nib. His first collection of poetry and short fiction Indelible Fingerprints was published April 2019, followed Blood Honey and Cold Comfort House in 2022. David has written five poetry chapbooks, Punctures, PeripherieS, Eating Pears on the Rooftop, as well as Golden Calves and Blue (coming 2023). His new book of micro poetry little punctures will be released in December 2022. Connect with David on Twitter @The_Booky_Man and his website www.davidaestringel.com

Delayed Homecoming | Jayati Das

Image: Philip Myrtorp

Delayed Homecoming

For Tina and Ra

There are quite a few miles that crevice you from home,

Like the zip of your suitcase that flies between hope and not-hope.

I can only imagine how the fridge door must be slamming, unlike the one back here—

Extended supplies shunting faster than Turner’s baby,

The one that cries but never comes.

Do you wake each day to a finite line

And trace back the rhino’s trail 

You had smiled about the other day?

Does Bishop speak clearer now

And blur your vocabulary?

I am afraid I will forget your smiling hair

And the exact shade of your red lipstick

(The traces are already starting to drift).

Lie to me when I ask about happiness

Or perhaps halt the track of my question

(‘Are you home yet?’)

With a whistle or a red flag,

For then I can at least begin to unmemorise

Your face greeting me in some departure lounge.

Jayati Das is a research scholar from Tezpur University, India, and holds a Master’s degrees in English Literature frotm the University of Delhi. Her areas of research include representations of the Vietnam War, masculinity studies, and queer cinema. She has won over a dozen prizes in creative writing at the college and university levels. Several of her poems and stories have been published in The Assam Tribune, The Sentinel, and e-magazines like The Golden Line, including a story in an anthology titled DU Love. Her published research includes essays on the Mizo poet, Mona Zote, race in Othello, and on Pedro Almodóvar’s cinema.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

The Idukki Dam | Anu Lal

Image: Tobias Keller

The Idukki Dam

The British built it, upon our home,
In Idukki, amidst the feral mountains Of Western Ghats*,
This structure—a leviathan of construction,
Which they said was
The symbol of modernity,
An accomplishment of human effort,
This sterile, dark, tearing off the heart,
Of the Western Ghats,
The dam with which they also ruled,
Nature with alacrity.
For two hundred years, the empire governed
Our desires and hopes, destinies and dreams.
Our home enchained,
Under the hoof of the emperor’s horse,
Dying, rising, dying again, rising again,
Like an old creature heaving for its last breath.
But the old and spent
Doesn’t impress the empire,
And it left this land, its nature,
And the people, with a tale
Of condescending kindness,
Letting the “young” nation self-govern,
With warnings of possible schisms.
But with general consolations
At the possible victories gained:
Like the railways, the dams, the roads,
And the democratic spirit.
The siren of the train is bearable,
And so is the sluggishness
Of the democratic system,
And bureaucracy, but the dam—
A silent monstrosity of Idukki,
Governing the Ghats with its grey bosom,
Serving mostly electric power-supplies.
It’s old, with dark lines of age growing
On the ramparts of the reservoirs,
Mossy, slippery wall, waiting—
For its final fall, every Monsoon,
Drowning our dwelling places
Underneath the dammed up spirit
Of the wild and tortured river,
Surpassing human alacrity.
So when the rains ravage,
We hear the echoes, of death—
Riding the horse of the old emperor,
Upon the ramparts of the old walls,
With the fear of death,
Still governing us.

[1] Idukki is one of the southern restrictions in Kerala state,
India, which is situated in the Western Ghats.

[2] Western Ghats is a chain of mountains bordering
Kerala’s western side, which is known as ecologically fragile.

Anu Lal is a writer from India. He has written extensively about his homeland, the South Indian State named Kerala. His works include poetry, short stories, novella, novel, and nonfiction. His major works include: The Notions of Living, The Notions of Healing (anthologies), Stories We Live, Thalassery Biryani (Short story collections) and Life After the Floods (nonfiction). Instagram: @authorlal

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Portrait of a Bedroom Wall | Andrew Walker

Image: Zoltan Kovacs

Portrait of a Bedroom Wall

We do not push the walls out
but instead pull the room in, drink
our already small space. My clothes,
washed and bagged, are still too big
for this disappearing body—it’s like
a magic trick: blink and you’ll miss
me. I’m not tangible anymore, these
bed bugs eating away more than just
our bedspread. Touch this translucent skin
and maybe you’ll find something
stronger than the body I see before me
in tinted windows, in tagged pictures.
I think about House of Leaves, the home
that did not know what size it was,
about the men who found themselves
less than they thought they knew, the codes
hidden, dark filled with whatever meaning
the reader can pour from themselves

            I mistakenly called this place a home
            I walled myself in
            there are no doors here
            this is not an entrance. 

Andrew Walker is a writer living and working in Denver, Colorado. His work has appeared in HAD, Crack the Spine, Eckleburg, paperplates, Apricity Press and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @druwalker94 or on his website at druwalker.com.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.