She had plugged
The holes atop
Her head with hair
To keep the brains
From knowing there
Was more to life
Than dark and matted skull.
But if she’d once
Considered the cold
Bare fish tail strands
To brushes, combs,
Hot water, wind,
Men’s clutch, she’d
Maybe not have shrieked
When all the hairs
Sunk down to sub-
Skull, crowded round
Her thoughts, coiled
Tight – for warmth –
And lit a fire; set in.
The smoke, an alabaster
Hue – burnt bone?
That smoggy ouster –
Skin, and left
An airborne trail
Like bread crumbs
For the damned
Behind her head
Where all she went then on.
Rebecca White is a journalist based in New York City. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her poetry is as of yet unpublished. Rebecca’s poems reflect both her personal experiences and the experiences of those who have shared their stories with her. Much of her work focuses on protest, pain, and power.
Another of my father’s dense metal hand tools
That he’d never find or use again
once we took them from the shed.
That caught the exact size of things
by reach, touch, sight —
not needing inches and eighths
or arid calculation.
That turned perfect circles without
That had a not-so-well-oiled joint
twisting between two sharp points, important
only in how far one was from the other.
That my brother and I blunted
by spiking it into rocky dirt and tree trunks
while almost always missing the
tiny, half rotten backyard apples
we aimed to impale.
That, after an unmeasured arc,
stuck, for a moment, just above my knee.
Lee W. Potts
Lee W. Potts has an MA in creative writing from Temple University and is a former editor of the Painted Bride Quarterly. His work has appeared in The South Street Star, Gargoyle, The Sun, and The Painted Bride Quarterly. He lives just outside of Philadelphia.
When the birds and bees die off because of chemical misuse, where will procreation be, who will make love? Only the Doomsday Clock will keep moving and gasping.
Every field is being stripped. Big Dude tractors, and grain hoppers the size of two car garages. Harvest is part of mid-America; it’s what we do; it’s how we feed the world.
A slow and steady rain follows two days of harder rain, chides us for cranking up our diesel tractors and ethanol plants here in corn country, and causes this climate shift which accounts for alien-warm Midwestern winters with too little snow and too much gray. We call these downpours toad-stranglers.
It’s here where thighs turn thick as oaks in an abandoned field, where the waist takes on a tractor’s tire, and where breasts grow a valley between sagging hills. We don’t kill ourselves anymore like Karen Carpenter did because we know we must live with our choices. One too many flavored coffees and we forget how we once loved the pain, would do anything for a compliment. Now we find little shame in comforting ourselves in a weeping world where the only true love lingers along a crowded sky.
My gentleman farmer ages with the seasons. At fifty, the wear is evident. At sixty, a tractor becomes a ten-story building to scale. He wanted to climb Devil’s Tower once, but that was before his days ran together into a jumble of moments called Time.
See this mishmash of days, see it clear, this is life, this here and there. To forget to fight, to uncurl the fist, to close the lips, is not surrender. Peace comes to the quiet heart. And to pray upon the fertile land for an end to war is virtuous.
German-born Chila Woychik has bylines in journals such as Silk Road, Storm Cellar, and Soundings East, and was awarded the 2017 Loren Eiseley Creative Nonfiction Award (Red Savina Review) & the 2016 Linda Julian Creative Nonfiction Award (Emrys Foundation). She craves the beautiful and lyrical, and edits the Eastern Iowa Review.