In Our Own Small Bodies — Violet Mitchell

sad rainbowphoto: Dewang Gupta

your breasts hang in a fog & you can no longer see the ceiling or clouds & can no longer
feel your (   ) you do not know where they are

his jeans ripped at the knee showed hair (   ) & dried scraps he says unreasons says hair says bodies says sweat says it won’t matter once it’s done

a pear split so that you could dig out the seed to see what you’ve always wanted to rid (         )

hexagon breath turning like a wheel up your throat clunky like (          it was man-made          ) the air was yellow & glittering sharp a fast sun was it always so full-bodied

until then you had always loved yellow

it was like a side stitch after running too far it pierced that you looked to the stars & ran to find thread sew sew sew it tighter

your opening is gone it is red & songblue it wasn’t firework it wasn’t a redred balloon it was a dried puddle

set of drawers with kids’ clothing the shade of moths’ wings holes absorbing the mahogany grief this is the morning you decide your new outfit

it was late late light loose hair clinging to plastic rose petals       quiet & dry

(       ) you kept wanting to close the shades to stop the light to just know the lick of darkness to just be in it & not be talked at about pointed stars & wishes they made

if you are caught in quicksand you have to lay down flat spread your limbs hold your weight in your chest you must face palms up & open like the sky you watch who is blue & counting ( close) your eyes (think) of water (think) of the year the flood came & swept your home away

he said he found a ring it was diamonds cut from earth just like you how you were born he slipped it over your ankles, thighs, hips (   *   ) & when he reached your stomach rock after rock fell out of you & became the ring became a gift of the earth’s ground


Violet Mitchell is a Denver-based writer and artist. She earned a B.A S. in cognitive literary studies and is completing an MFA degree in creative writing poetry, both from Regis University. Her work has been published in Heavy Feather Review, The Blue Route, Sixfold, Word for Word, ANGLES, Furrow Magazine, and several other journals. She received the Robert A. O’Sullivan, S.J. Memorial Award for Excellence in Writing in 2019.

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Standing at the Edge of the World — Alyssa Jordan

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Photo: Kyle Ryan

i. In the garden, Jena thrives.

Loneliness has transformed into electric-green cacti and short, spiny plants. Anxiety raises flowers that look vibrant and oily in the daylight. Restlessness enriches the earth, coloring flora with a spill of magenta, a blaze of orange.

In the end, fear evaporates entirely under the sun. It turns into the soil caked under her nails, the wet clumps that stick to her thighs and the back of her knees.

This garden takes terrible things and puts them to good use.

At least, that’s what she tells herself.

 

ii. When Jena is eight, her father picks her up from school and drives for two days straight.

He tells her it’s for the best.

Sometimes, he says, running is the only thing a person can do.

The farther they drive, the quieter she becomes. Tears dry to salt on her skin. Beneath their feet, the thunderous rhythm has become something dangerous.

In her mind, she disappears.

Jena feels safe amongst the shrubs. She can easily envision this sanctuary, and so she builds it. Trees and plants and birds sprout from the ground. They start as feathery buds with paper-thin roots. As their bodies take shape, her father’s voice thins into the breeze, his face hardens to bedrock.

Every time fear creeps in, her hands form fists. With the garden she can outrun it, outmatch it, and she barely has to wait before it subsides in the grass.

 

iii. Jena doesn’t know it yet, but theirs will be a life on the move.

It will start with a string of motels. Each one will be indistinguishable from the next, with their jelly-lit signs, the soap slivers that cut her skin. They will turn into a monochromatic blur of vending machines and scratchy sheets and stained walls.

Soon, she won’t be able to fall asleep without barks of laughter, or the drone of a generator. It will feel unnatural to sit outside the cramped design of a car. Most of her spare time will be spent in a garden that never changes.

Years will pass before she is home again, standing in a room that no longer feels like her own.


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Alyssa Jordan is a writer living in the United States. She pens literary horoscopes for F(r)iction Series. Her stories can be found or are forthcoming in The Sunlight PressX–R-A-Y Literary MagazineReflex Fiction, and more. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her partner or watching too many movies. You can find her on Twitter @ajordan901 and Instagram @ajordanwriter.