the images I took are of the things that I have left of her.
Memory is liminal and to remember is to reconstruct. In reconstruction we often discover new wounds and fictions.
This month we have a photography series by Yanina May called “Milagro.” In Spanish, milagro means miracle; Milagro is the photographer’s grandmother.
From Ireland Steve Denehan offers clouds along the shoulders. Nnadi Samuel places dementia as a race in a sandstorm. Joan Kwon Glass asks how they plan to save us.
Next month we are in conversation with Susan Stryker.
January’s theme is:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
until next year,
she always either had her red lipstick or her orange-red lipstick. same for her nails. they were usually always bright.
When I was eleven my youth pastor gave me
a booklet called: Can My Soul Be Saved?
On the cover: a lone wheat stalk stood bravely in a field.
I shared it with you, wanting heaven for us both someday.
Your mother wrote to mine that if I tried that again
you would not be allowed to see me.
I imagined her penning furiously at the kitchen table
in your house next door to mine,
her cursive bent hard against the paper:
how dare you assume my child needs to be saved?
One afternoon, before your first hospital stay for anorexia,
I pushed my bicycle to the top of the hill and descended.
I didn’t see you at the bottom as you rode in small circles,
and when I did I was pedaling too fast to stop.
Later, my mom took a photo of us: me in my cast
pointing at your band-aid, giggling about how
you’d gotten away practically unharmed.
Who knew that at 43 your heart would stop
or that I would discard Jesus for uncertainty?
After all these years I would be the lucky one?
Tonight I take my evening walk down an autumn street
where leaves spin themselves in circles
and inside the houses children lie safely in their beds.
In a few weeks, I’ll leave the porch light on and wait
until they knock on my door, dressed as superheroes.
Each time I swing the door open, I’ll smile, lean in,
ask them how they plan to save us.
Joan Kwon Glass is a public educator who holds a B.A. & M.A. from Smith College. She is a biracial Korean American with ties to Seoul, Detroit and New Haven. Her poems have recently been published or are upcoming in Rust & Moth, Rattle, SWWIM, Rogue Agent, Barnstorm, Poets Reading the News, South Florida Poetry Journal, Persephone’s Daughters, West Trestle Review, The Mantle Poetry Journal, and others, and her poems have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. Joan tweets @joanpglass and you may read her previously published work at www.joankwonglass.com.
she always either had her hair half up or tied in a bun, never all the way down. I remember always making sure to be so gentle and her always telling me she wasn’t going to break.
Dementia as my Race in a Sandstorm
tell a black man to think his country is one word,
& he looks for an imagery to new scams.
it takes a passive PayPal to mourn the youths in my
country uncharming their voice to claim white.
same site updating my app do not recycle the cookies my eye kneads as
tears, when I read my race as a new web-bug.
In Badagry, the clouds fold in agreement with the beach.
every house wears a sandstorm,
& hands the fashion over to the wind.
headphones & bridges rebending by day,
having a chance on history,
reshuffling our potholes with horns & screeches.
the beggars are teens who should be crazy with luck
pursuing bees across the length of a newly found mosque.
half-moon, like sown cross eats the star from the tip,
you’d bet we were as religious.
today, the Isis would wear their turbans like land mines,
& a kid will stray past them safely:
like, without his body to bury.
like, without a parent to worry
because the government has a budget for these
things. they have their budgets for everything,
including the suicide belts in bronze hook.
here, you see a girl white her garment,
& you’d know she loves boom:
that sudden want for a country where guns have richer
taste. not this one filled with blood stain.
I wish for love— the length of traffic.
for road peddlers to have it all in kiosk.
for dementia that swap boundaries with this place:
a race well known for nothing.
Nnadi Samuel holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, PORT Magazine, The Cordite Poetry Review, Gordon Square Review, Rough Cut press, Rigorous Magazine, Blue Nib journal, Stonecrop Review, The Elephant Magazine, Lunaris Review, Inverse Journal, Canyon Voices, The Collidescope, Journal Nine, Liquid Imagination, Subterranean blue poetry, The Quills, Eunoia Review & elsewhere. He won the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020. He won the Splendor of Dawn Poetry Contest April 2020, got shortlisted in the annual Poet’s Choice award & was the second-prize winner of the EOPP 2019 contest. A longlist of the NSPP 2020 prize, & Pushcart Nominee. He is the author of “Reopening of Wounds”. He reads for U-Right Magazine. He tweets @Samuelsamba10.
she would just put a tiny dab on before leaving the house. even if it was just for an errand.
She was worried about losing a memory
worried it would leave her
leave her soon
the memory of her first Christmas
her first real one
when no snow fell
but magic did
dusting our roof
when she lay in the middle of our bed
a trembling stretch of warmth
between my wife and I
she wore a little jumpsuit
with ponies and a castle and clouds along the shoulders
it had a zip
a zip that she pulled up and down
up and down
up and down
all the way ‘til morning
not long after sunrise
she led us up the hall
led us to the sitting-room door
the image is freezeframed
on the inside of me
her, frozen in the air
high off the ground
her eyes closed
her head thrown back
her mouth a smile
this memory is slipping from her
its grip loosening
its colour fading
she asked me to write a poem about it
that it might not be forgotten
Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and two poetry collections. Twice winner of Irish Times’ New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Prairie Fire, Westerly and Into the Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet and The Pushcart Prize.
This is a drawing of my equine soulmate, Babe. This was inspired by a photograph I took of her when I walked up to her paddock and saw how beautiful and happy she was to see me. She is forever in my heart. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge 11 years ago and I miss her everyday.
jenna marie townsend