This month we offer God’s helmet, something that lets your skin breathe.
Next month we want:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
God’s helmet, my beloved
Don’t break this, he says, handing
Me a crystal snowflake, glued together
At the edges, but there are so many
Things I will shatter in the coming
Weeks, including but not limited to:
Their love for me, his love for me, her
Locker, navy-blue and coated in glossy
Magnets, all snapped, the trust of a young
Custodian I lied to so he could be responsible
For cracking the lock, wonder how those
Keys might work on your heart, and my
Divinity, once baby-blue, now laying on
The bathroom floor, someone kicks me
A girl I barely know slaps me in the face
And all I can think is, I want him back, I
Want the snow, like confectioner sugar
Then crystals, granular and puffy and all
Over the music hall, we ate pop rocks
And I left everyone love letters in their
Backpacks, we got tangled in holographic
Streamers, I kiss someone I shouldn’t, you
Tell me I’ll always be alone, and I wonder
Is it true, that night I’m pretending to be
Asleep on my grandmother’s gold couch
Listening to The Beatles on a red Walkman
Why couldn’t we have worked it out, but
Would they have stayed even still if I could
Return the cigarettes and the iguana, pearls
For change, would anyone care, look I’m
Willing to turn my heart inside-out, I’ll give
Up my dreams, I am all alone and even my
Mother doesn’t understand, you may be
Unlovable but at least you have me, I imagine
Her saying. Instead, I waste electricity with
The phone cord wrapped around the kitchen
And the table, electricity leaks into the fridge
I have a new friend who writes me letters on
Torn-out pages from her science textbook but
She’s leaving soon, they always find me in packs
I can still eat my lunch in the stairwell and we
Laugh when I spill the strawberries, how they
Look like bloodied, puckered lips, does it matter
Whether or not they broke the skin, years later
We’ll find each other at karaoke and grin about
The past, but I wonder whose version he’s telling
And could you please go outside for a smoke with
Me, together we can watch the first snow fall.
Sam Moe is the recipient of a 2023 St. Joe Community Foundation Poetry Fellowship from Longleaf Writers Conference. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Whale Road Review, The Indianapolis Review, Sundog Lit, and others. Her poetry book Heart Weeds is out from Alien Buddha Press and her chapbook Grief Birds is forthcoming from Bullshit Lit in April ’23. Her full-length Cicatrizing the Daughters is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press.
When There Is Conflict With the Neighbors
Open the window in the spring
as the trees begin to cotton
and play a favorite song.
Go to one of those stores
in the square with the propped-open door
and buy something that lets your skin breathe.
On a cooler day,
shovel the muddy mulch faded by sun
and replace it with the black chips from a new bag.
Walk the lawn & garden department
for a new set of flowers for the front yard.
Buy some, but if you don’t love them, don’t.
Sit in the summer air with a beer
and see which of the kids can jump highest on the trampoline.
When the beer is empty, join them.
Take a hot bath before bed,
then slip your hot, clean skin under the sheets
next to me.
Devon Neal is a Bardstown, KY resident who received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Kentucky University and an MBA from The University of the Cumberlands. He currently works as a Human Resources Manager in Louisville, KY. His work has been featured in From the Depths.