This month we offer leftover sweetness, a triumph.
Next month we:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
Can’t tell this story without erasing part of myself, can’t tell you I went to the woods to find you and found the paths not empty but filled with oak leaves, red from Fall, like so many puddles of blood, would you still want to kiss me if you knew, kiss me there, impress upon the hurting space with the healing space, give me a year of Sundays, sunbursts, lemon mint and sea oats, the thing about the name is it tells a story, but you don’t care, French mulberries have nothing on the sweetness of your smile, hazel wine and blanketflower, I want to save you but I haven’t figured out how yet to save myself, but want you, plain, in the kitchen in your tie, maybe at the stove with your soft cotton pants, the others have left, perhaps a few mill around the gardens outside, when we near each other by the fridge all they’ll see is a pair of friends having a casual discussion about jars of milk, won’t see inner cheek bite, leap of the heart, loss of faith, pain like a bear’s tooth lodged deep in the muddy leak of my heart, it hurts a little bit to stand so close to you, I’ve always wondered about the reindeer and the hoof tricks, not enough stories in bars, not much time remains before we’ll never see each other again, so what now, little royal catchfly, are you so clever, are you going to stay after winter twists your muzzle in ink and the unforgiving small gods take away your name, your status, your bacterial culture, doesn’t matter, you don’t want me to help you, that much has been made clear, you will never call me mouse ears, you will never bow after the torches have been extinguished, there is always gasoline in the house, everything heat and heart, not about lips or touch, but what does it matter, even if I revealed to you the risk and the hickory, the sour and the wounds, little bumps from the sun, this crush is crushing, unkind, little smolder in the bonfire out back, my risk, my candle, soon they find us stooped in cold light, someone asks what you’re up to, looking for leftover sweetness, is all you say before you wink, stitch of your name oozed blue on my lungs.
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 first full-length collection, Heart Weeds, was published with Alien Buddha Press (Sept. ’22) and her second full-length collection Grief Birds was published with Bullshit Lit (Apr. ’23). Her third full-length Cicatrizing the Daughters is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press.
reminders for when:
the TV never turns off & the legs grow stiff from lack of use,
for when words cling to the back of your throat like a half-chewed wad of gum,
when the only syllables your tongue knows are stuck & choke & help
for when the pill doesn’t go down
for when you allow the pain to exist,
& it feels like punishment
for when it makes itself at home, overstays its welcome
for when you become indifferent to the grief,
when you are as far away from yourself as you can imagine
for when you call every phone number you know
& plead i need you here with me
for when the embarrassment of being held is the quilt that covers you,
your quivering lip a sign of pride & never hopelessness
for when you are the very worst version of yourself,
& forever unsatisfied with it
for when your breath is suspended, held tight, as if to exhale was a death sentence
for when you wait & wait & wait for the day to finally be over
for when you find new ways to describe loneliness
remember this, when you are under attack:
the fear of the fear of the fear loosens its grip when you learn
that to exhale is not the beginning of the end ––
to exhale, to repeat the process, is a triumph
Em Townsend (they/she) is a queer nonbinary writer and student from the Washington D.C. area. An English major and radio station nerd at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, Em enjoys watching ’80s teen movies, reading, and looking at trees. Their work is published in Fish Barrel Review, The Purposeful Mayo, Blue Marble Review, Club Plum Literary Journal, and HIKA magazine, and is forthcoming in West Trade Review. Em’s debut chapbook growing forwards / growing backwards is out now with Bottlecap Press. You can visit their website here.