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.

Transplanting | Lillian Fuglei

Image: Matt Artz

Transplanting

Prune the leaves- pluck
the crisp ones that no longer
serve her, watch them
hit the floor with a bone crunch.
Gently untangle
her vines from their previous
cage. Dislocate her
from one pot,
descending to the next.

We place her
into the soil. Pearlite
and peat moss, spilling past
the edges of her new shelter, dusting
your Pine-Sol purified floor.

Pat her down, our hands meet
under the dirt, a brush
of unearned domesticity.
Specks of soil, line
the ridges of your fingertips,
granting anonymity
to your palms.

Sitting
knee to knee, surrounding
her dwelling. I gaze
into your eyes
and wonder, will this be her final
resting place? Or will we uproot,
disrupt her growth, push her
past the point of no return?

Lillian Fuglei is a Colorado based poet. She began writing poetry in High School, after a lifetime of attending open mics thanks to her mother. She currently bounces between two of the highest paying jobs possible, substitute teaching and freelance journalism. You can find her on Instagram at literary.lillian.


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

HOMESICK | M. Palowski Moore

HOMESICK

I am dreaming of
An Alabama night-
Crickets chirping; echoing
Of sentiment, breaking
The song of the loon
Diving, strutting
Through phrases, phases
Of a honeysuckle
Milk glass moon
Whose distant sway
Ripples, pools, pulls
Pebbled ponds, precious pearls
Where locals gather
To swim, fish, skip stones
Across reflections of sky and stars.

I am. falling, failing-
Form fleeing a cold city
An asp escaping
This fruitless orchard
A moth chained by the
Candlelight of a distant beacon.

I close my eyes
See the pines, skies
White wings, fluttering
Glittering patchwork
Transforming. I am again
A small-town boy
Taking the back road,
Wooded path winding
To the Jackson-Slaughter bridge;
Racing in the pecan grove,
Chasing shadows, fireflies;
Laughing, dreaming, laying
Staring, believing- feeling
The force; the iron vein
Of a vanishing home-
Remembering more from
Windows that never close
A place I no longer belong.

M. Palowski Moore is a poet, writer and storyteller.  He has five volumes of poetry, including the Lambda Award nominee BURNING BLUE. His compositions reflect diverse themes and interpretations of prejudice, racism, socioeconomic inequality, homophobia and systemic oppression.  He is a contributing poet to the Civil Rights Memorial Center (SPLC) community poem A CIVIL COMMUNITY, a new exhibit that will be featured inside the final gallery of The Civil Rights Memorial Center. 


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

Rooms | Liza Sparks

Image: Guillaume Lorain

Rooms 

“I dwell in Possibility—”
-Emily Dickinson

Every
body has a right
 to shelter in a home.
To be safe from cold, the heat,
the storm.

///

We want a house built by the people / we want walls of justice / 
we want liberation / we want windows and doors of possibility / 
look outside / in a world where everyone has a home / 
anything is possible / how do we transform / 

///

“Home is where the heart is.” The heart is the size of your fist. 
Some things are worth fighting for.

///

Homelessness is not a choice. 

Criminalizing survival is unconstitutional.[1]

///

The body—
my body is made of rooms of memory—
The body—
my body is made of hallways—
The body—
my body does not remember—
The body—
my body remembers everything

///

Here is my skin. Imagine all of the things I have touched.
Here are my bones. 

///

I do not remember leaving the dwelling of my mother’s body.
I do not remember being born.

///

What does it mean to care for another? 


[1] Denverhomelessoutloud.org

Liza Sparks (she/her) is an intersectional feminist, writer, poet, and creative. She is a brown-multiracial-queer-woman living and working in Colorado. Her work has appeared with Ghost City Review, Bozalta Collective, Cosmonauts Avenue, and many others; and is forthcoming with Honey Literary, Split This Rock’s social justice database—The Quarry, and will be included in Nonwhite and Woman Anthology published by Woodhall Press in 2022. Liza was a semifinalist for Button Poetry’s Chapbook contest in 2018 and was a finalist for Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop Emerging Writer Fellowship in Poetry in 2020 and 2019. She is a poetry reader for The Chestnut Review. You can read more of Liza’s work at lizasparks.com, IG @sparksliza534, or TW @lizathepoet

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

Apartment | Wheeler Light

Image: Nathan Dumlao

You open the apartment door and it is just wood. Wood behind the door. You need to enter your apartment. To sleep. To work. To clean. You burrow into the wood with a small drill bore. You carve a desk inside the wood. You leave legs of the wood in each corner of the room so the wood roof doesn’t collapse on you, crushed by mahogany in the night. You wake one day and it is raining paper. A hole has split in the wood from all the paper where it was leaking from the bathtub upstairs. The paper is covered in all your upstairs neighbor’s poetry. Your upstairs neighbor is always so loud, crying for whole weeks at a time. Your neighbor is so loud the sound bleeds through the mahogany. The mahogany is now spilling into your bed, your bed you carved yourself out of the desk, the desk which appeared behind the door, the apartment which was drowned in poetry. The future that is always words.

Wheeler Light is an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Penn Review, and Broadsided Press, among others. His work can be found at www.wheelerlight.net


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

Carrying stones | Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

Image: Tom van Hoogstraten

Erin told me her face was falling. We sat on a motel bed in downtown Anaheim, each of us with stones inside our bodies where organs used to be. Hand to her face she placed her fingers at her jaw and said, it’s sagging. Like a landslide.

Our foundations were made from the gulfs created in the void of saltwater and sun; we were grown from the melting glaciers. Skeletons shaped from every piece of rock we had once picked up from the tongue of the shore because we thought it was pretty, replacing the bone until we were both ambling monuments.

In the motel in downtown Anaheim, we cracked geodes against one another with enough force to break them open to see if our guts were quartz. The same sort of rock scientists on playgrounds smashing stones to see if there were hidden crystals, only we were older, and our shared insides didn’t carry crystals…as we found out. Sharp fragments splintered and dented the cold bedcovers, rock people applying pressure as a kind of embrace.

And her face was falling like how Venice is sinking, and the world is impermanent, so we split our skin open to find anything secreted from the soft outsides. The shells of our exteriors thawed like those candles whose wax peels away to reveal tiny gems, but really, it’s just a trinket more like trash than treasure.


Structures like bones crease into putty like how memorials fall and become their own grave markers, and on a floral smoke-smelling comforter in a strip mall in Anaheim, I ease into the rock rain of my own face and the spring that found itself seeping out of the remains of my body. Our mingled landslide faces and surfaces liquified with only the memory of boulder bodies and gritted organs left in our wake.

Tomorrow we’d go back to carrying our stones.


Jane-Rebecca Cannarella (she/her) is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. She is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, and a former genre editor at Lunch Ticket. She’s the author of Better Bones and Marrow, both published by Thirty West Publishing House, The Guessing Game published by BA Press, and Thirst and Frost forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. 

The Artist’s Prerogative | Gracie Nordgren

Image: Sergio Rodriguez

His name was Pietro Ludivicci, and he was in love with symmetry.

            Those statues of his were carved with a delicate accuracy, angels and saints poised to bless or condemn, their pale faces set in expressions of aloof piety. That marble virgin of his was housed inside the chapel, the object of awe among the townspeople. For the sculptor had rendered the stone folds of her clothing as soft-looking as fabric.

            The flawless beauty of Ludivicci’s creations was rivaled only by the appearance of the sculptor himself. With his tight curls, regal nose, cherubic lips, and mahogany eyes, it was as if he were the personification of the suppleness of youth. How lovely, this Pietro!

            Of course, the young women of the town were hopelessly taken with him. Why, even the mayor’s wife fondly referred to him as her first love! A cacophony of tokens, flowers, letters, and gifts took up permanent residence outside his door. In the marketplace, women would tarry and stare, and those bold enough to proposition him always received the same answer: a curl of the lip, and a flat “I’d rather not”. You see, Ludivicci was a paramour of human beauty- and perfection his muse. How could he settle for anything else in a lover?

            These harsh rejections were hard on the ladies of the town. Many would weep, and some would pull at their hair. Young Viola, who cleaned the sculptor’s apartment, witnessed countless of these spurnings. In the smoky bars, her father, the innkeeper, and the older townsmen would snidely remark that Ludivicci may as well wed one of his statues.

            There came a day, as the harvest-season came round, that the sculptor unexpectedly stopped accepting commissions. For seventeen days on end, he vanished from the eyes of the community. Circulating whispers suggested illness, or even his death. Viola of course knew that the artist was not dead at all. He had thrown himself into his newest project.

Ludivicci the recluse remained shut up in his apartment, his door opening only to receive the bread and wine he paid Viola to purchase for him. During these visits, the girl caught glimpses of a form standing in the center of his room- a new statue, perhaps? Alas, she could never get a good enough look, as the sculptor would pay her what was owed and then slam the door with a force that made the frame creak.

The longer Pietro Ludivicci was in isolation, the more fanciful the rumors about him became. He had certainly lost his sanity, most agreed. Signora Columbo swore she had spotted him at the temple, worshipping the pagan gods! How could he have fallen so far? Poor Pietro! A red-cheeked and mortified Viola confessed to her sister as they lay in bed one night that she had caught the sculptor cradling what seemed to be the face of his passion project and kissing its lips!

Months passed before Ludivicci was spotted in public again. He looked certainly worse for wear, with dark shadows underneath his eyes, an unkempt beard, and his shoulder-length hair hanging in an unruly tangle.

His sculpting seemed to be abandoned as a thing of the past, as he had emerged from his isolation with nothing to show for it. If one would catch him walking about in town or marketplace and inquire about his work, he would stare back with haunted, glassy eyes and mutter something about having more important matters to pursue.

No one quite knew where the woman had come from. The way the innkeeper told it, she had knocked upon the inn’s door late one night (the night before Ludivicci returned to society) and requested residence. Said her name was Giana Aldi. She had paid him handsomely for room and board from a fine leather coin purse that hung from her waist. She was a painter, this woman, who wished to work undisturbed within the rooms. Why is it that this town is the place of so many fussy artists? The innkeeper bemoaned to his wife and daughters as they, dazed and recently roused from sleep, stumbled to prepare a room.

Soon enough, the town forgot their fascination with Ludivicci in favor of the mysterious Giana Aldi. It was if she had been carved from marble, as such flawlessness seemed unnatural. Smooth dark locks flowed down her back to her waist, and large black eyes were framed by heavy lashes. They seemed to see into one’s heart, and one couldn’t help but feel naked and exposed under her gaze.

She was stern and dedicated to her art with a borderline religious fervour. Her neighbors took notice, with news of her traveling within hours. Who was she? Perhaps she and Ludivicci would be the perfect match for one another. Two kindred spirits, parallel in looks and practice.

Evidently, Ludivicci was enthralled by her as well. Every evening, he would stand at her balcony, wildly waving bouquets of flowers, imploring her to come down and speak to him. No one ever saw Giana Aldi do so much as open her window. Late into the night, the sculptor would cry, shout, and even sing love poetry! Poor Ludivicci was in such a state of ruin by the seventh night, yet he persisted. Having enough of this, the innkeeper accosted him on the street, ordering him to give it up at once! Ludivicci, likely emboldened by the wine running through his body, declared that he would never stop his pursuit until he heard word from the lady herself.

It is said, and there have been several witnesses to this, that Giana Aldi appeared on the balcony then. Leaning over its edge, raven hair spilling over her shoulders, her disdainful shout could be heard by all:

“I’d rather not!”


Gracie Nordgren is a Creative Writing student at the University of Colorado Boulder. She enjoys daydreaming and pomegranates, and would very much like to travel to Venus. Her work has appeared in Kalopsia Literary Journal, The University of Colorado Boulder Honors Journal, and Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine, among others. 

Outrageous as Flowers | Amy Wray Irish

Image: Ida Andersen Lang

Oh poets and their peonies!
“As big as human heads”
Jane Kenyon exalts, her pen
heavy with extravagant
language, enormous
metaphors as big as life.

The perfume of such heady
description smothers me,
face-first in the reproduction
of perfumed pistol and stamen.
Yet it keeps the real makings
of this craft at a distance.

Amongst poets, there’s a secret
censorship of creation
surrounding their beloved peonies—
afraid too close they’ll catch
the inner workings of such art.

Aware they’ll see, let’s be honest,
the ants. Mary Oliver admits
they exist. That something dark
and alien spiders
across this beauty.

She knows that a necessity for budding
is this cutting, this eating.
Knows that the cataract
of leaves covering the bud
must feed the hungry
just enough. Must just
hold back the swarm
to unlock the flower’s form.

These thousand tiny bites
release a poem as well.
The flowering depends on it
yet can also kill.
So we unleash the ants
but prevent such furtive legs
from going too far within.
Allow the justice of devouring
so that the exquisite sweetness
opens.

Inside any creation
is a little taste
of destruction.
To pretend
otherwise would be
outrageous.


Amy Wray Irish (she/her/hers) grew up near Chicago, received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame, then fled the Midwest for Colorado sunshine.  She has been published in Spit Poet Zine and Thought for Food; she has work upcoming in Progenitor and Chiaroscuro.  Her third chapbook, Breathing Fire, won the 2020 Fledge Competition and is now available from MiddleCreek Publishing.  For more information go to amywrayirish.com.