Pulling up the covers feels different. Day becomes dawn earlier, peaches have been replaced by pink ladies, and the cool kitchen tiles are difficult to brave barefoot. Closets are now congested with cardigans and coats. Your corner table in your favorite coffee shop is now others’ corner table too, and your morning latte run has become a lengthier endeavor altogether (…great minds really do think alike). Toes curl and you pull your sweater sleeves down over your hands, clinging to the bunched knit.
November is here
You open the door and are greeted less gently than you were just an hour ago. The air bites into your cheeks as, simultaneously, you raise an apple to your mouth and begin nibbling. You meander slowly, kicking at cigarette butts and crunching on leaves and twigs below. A neon “OPEN” sign flickers in a shop window about a block down. Intrigued, you proceed in that direction and enter the cafe cautiously. Wafting acoustic warmth, muffled chatter, and the rich aroma of espresso fills the space. A mic stands unaccompanied ahead, and varied folding chairs are scattered loosely around it, facing it. You lean against a wooden pillar toward toward the back and watch as a daring soul rises from her seat, crinkled paper in hand, and approaches the mic.
by Christine Mananita
It all felt surreal.
I still remember that time when your eyes met mine.
Noisy people and the sound of falling dimes,
The smell of coffee in the office
Was just another thing to notice.
We soon told each other about all our fears,
Hopes, and dreams, which brought us into tears.
Suddenly you came as strong as lightning,
Like cymbals clashing.
You changed as fast as a cloud
blown by the wind above.
A high pitched voice was all I could hear.
You left, forgetting all about us.
No footsteps, no calls, no goodbyes.
Just silence. Tears falling down.
Then one day, you caught my eye.
Those blue eyes, staring back at mine.
By Brindy Francis
Under this blood moon is the yearning to paint your silhouette
Flushed upon canvas skin, the color begins to materialize
Red souls long for red minds
By Tana Smith
the windows are all cracked
cold air fills the empty space you’ve left behind
yet I still walk into living rooms
expecting you to be sitting in a rocking chair
(made of wood)
holding a beer or a baby, depending on the year
I inherited parts of you
your roots wrapped around my limbs,
cradling my body
I was raised in the trees
branches reaching towards sky
leaves turning a different shade of loss every year
I have woodchips in my lungs
splinters in my fingertips
with kindling for bones,
I’m careful not to start fires
I keep your rocking chair in the living room
made of wood and still empty, but not forgotten
maybe someday the room will be warm again
but this is not the year
By Caroline Smith
Wine stains my cheeks
Ice cubes melt into water
Blood scars your sheets
My heartbeat slows
You want to be careful
I hope it’s worthwhile
Red wine stains your shirt
Matching the bruises on your neck
One from me, another from her
I call you, and no answer
I bet you’re with that dancer
I can’t help the thoughts as they trickle in
My toes curl as I think
Of you and I
My lips smirk as I think
Of her in your bed
She has not a clue
Of our talks of dreams
The universe is ecstatic
About you and I
Forgotten, for no good reason
you dance in my mind and waste my time
blowing smoke in my ears
and writing down lies,
then you etch them into the back of my eyes.
you said that you like me,
to get a few favors,
and I am your houseplant
that wilts when you waver.
my blossoms smell sweet
like promises, you can’t keep
but I grow from your dirt,
and get crushed by the neighbors.
I wish i could learn to face towards the sun,
but I crawl back to you, while my mind begs me to run
I am blind and empty-minded,
searching for love,
and your smoke is the toxic flavor,
filling my lungs.
By Victoria Butler
Did I spend those four years in a storm?
All my memories are overcast.
Nostalgia likes to decorate, you know.
It hangs fairy lights and paintings and
makes the spaces you ran from something
you think you have to miss.
We were almost in love that summer.
I take detours to see the doorways
your silhouette used to shine through
and wonder if your bedsheets
are still blue.
My fingers are shaking.
It’s winter and I’ve had too much to drink.
Everyone has started smoking
now that they’re old enough to know
it can kill them.
Mother tells me she is ugly,
a fact she worships with
no evidence. Everyone tells
me that we are the same
and at last I can see the resemblance.
I have memorized the streets
from behind the wheel but
on foot everything is
sharper. Nothing is as safe as I thought
it was and I
forget where I am going.
My soulmate left me on a Wednesday night.
I do not hate the man who
But I resent the way this world turns
in her absence.
The girl with a coat of dust on her lashes-
Have you heard her speak?
Her words form puddles of honeycrisp apples
Rising up to my waist and dripping caramel on my carpet.
Her stories reek of wonder thrown from windows,
Discarded as it settles on the earth.
A man slumps under a rainspout, soaking, but he doesn’t move.
He has never been asked why, but she knows.
There is a tiger in her mind.
A commercial flashing on screen saying:
“Don’t support zoos!”
Bars. Everywhere. The striped beast throws himself into them.
The children laugh and stare.
When she smiles, her mouth is redder than her country’s flag,
Because her heart got too big
It grew to the size of Saturn in her chest
And one day gave way to a river that reaches out her lips.
So I ask you,
Have you heard her speak?
Her words are branches of an elm tree that hold a cradle for a swallow
Rocked back and forth in a storm.
It waits for you.