#MeToo: On Michigan Avenue in November by Janette Schafer

It is only three miles from
where I am and where I need to be.
Man in a black Chrysler
pulls up to my bus stop, parks
in front of me, shaded window
hums as it opens in a puff
of smoke, forced air meeting
frozen wind–a breath.
He reminds me of my grandfather
until he flashes a wad of cash
puts it in the empty passenger seat
tells me to get in.

It is only three miles from
where I am and where I need to be,
from the fancy car and wrinkled bills,
so I walk fast, legs pumping like
the pistons pounded out in the factories
here in the heart of the Mitten. My heart
is only nineteen years old and it has never
pounded so hard. The lake effect winds
cling to my coat like candles in darkness.
Here I meet the Thin Man.

It is only two miles from
where I am to where I need to be,
a weathered jacket hung on his bones
as chiffon on a wire hanger, his eyes
meet mine and we nod in that way
strangers do. He walks past me, quickly turns,
his body so close I feel his heat on the back
of my neck, a drooped ceiling threatening
to break the floor beneath it.

It is twenty-five years from
where I was to where I need to be.
In my dreams, sometimes I am caught
by the Thin Man in this body, thick with
middle age and indiscretion. But on
that night, I was young still, Turner’s
The Angel Standing in the Sun whispers to me
in the moonlight, Run girl. Run.

It is one mile from
where I am to where I need to be,
tights split as I run, his footsteps
grow faint, my ragged breath
forms clouds of exertion and fear.
This is the night where the cold
has made me different, where the season has
transitioned a child who knows that
everything will be alright to a woman
who knows otherwise.

 

 

Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, former opera singer, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh PA. She was a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship through Chatham University. Her poems and photographs have recently been included in the following: Unlikely Stories V, Event Horizons, Dear America, Reflections on Race, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology, and Anti Heroin Chic.

 

Installation Agora, Grant Park,Michigan Avenue, Chicago, artist Magdalena Abakanowicz.

 

#MeToo: Quarry by Mary McCarthy

I thought it was me.
Something about me
obvious as Red Riding Hood
moving through the dark
wood bright as a flame
just asking
to be snuffed.

Now I know none of us
can walk anywhere
and call it freedom.
We all have more than one
story
of using everything we had
just to be able
to run away.
No shame in that.
We won’t argue with
survival-
sometimes the only prize
left to win.

 

 

Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work published in many on line and print journals, including Third Wednesday, Gnarled Oak, The Ekhprastic Review, and Earth’s Daughters. She has been a Pushcart nominee, and has an e-chapbook available as a free download from Praxis magazine.

 

Art by Krakin.

 

Mending by Hazel Hall

Here are old things:
Fraying edges,
Ravelling threads;
And here are scraps of new goods,
Needles and thread,
An expectant thimble,
A pair of silver-toothed scissors.
Thimble on a finger,
New thread through an eye;
Needle, do not linger,
Hurry as you ply.
If you ever would be through
Hurry, scurry, fly!
Here are patches,
Felled edges,
Darned threads,
Strengthening old utility,
Pending the coming of the new.
Yes, I have been mending …
But also,
I have been enacting
A little travesty on life.

mrssewandsew_avatar_twitter

 

Hazel Hall, 1886-1924. 

 

Photograph “Make Do and Mend” in Britain during the Second World War
Remnants and oddments of material being sold by the pound at Kennard’s store, Croydon, London. Ministry of Information Second World War Press Agency Print Collection.

In the Fall of the Summer of Love by Trish Saunders

woman-865021_1280-e1515027897240

The year I turn 18, I meet the man who will love me
and stop loving me. This is also the summer I turn bronze.
Each morning, I drop a coin into a bowl near the bed.
Let it not be today.
If he stirs, I press my fingers over his mouth
until he falls back asleep.

One morning I begin swallowing the coins,
a penny at a time. When I try to speak, my tongue clangs
against my teeth. My hair unspools in copper coils.
Of course, this becomes too much for him.
Late September he leaves, knocking books off their shelves
with his umbrella in his rush to the door.

I race to the bathroom mirror. I’m still breathing.
When I turn on the faucet, my late mother’s voice gushes out,
Now you can buy anything you want.
Love is yours.
Adjusting the folds of my robe:
Thank you, Mother, I am ready now.

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Photograph by Foundry, via Pixabay, CC0, Creative Commons.

Soundless by Martin Willitts, Jr.

There has to be a word for the unexplained —
a word for the sound of a nightingale
changing to whatever that bird heard last.

We have better words to describe a chasm
eating all sound dropping in
or a trellis of roses wrapping upwards.
When unobscured light reaches its destination,
it does not make a noise. I never heard
a spider tiptoe on its web as it gives or sways,
nor when dawn congeals into greying darkness.

We can hear despair, the accumulation of sparrows,
the blinds opening their clatter, the blink of traffic lights,
the hizz of florescent bulbs.
But not once, did I hear a sound
the minute after people died, separating out
of their body, into a final silence, not even an Ah.

 

 

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY.  He is a poetry editor for Comstock Review, and a judge for the New York State Fair Poetry Contest. He won the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award and Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June, 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed (FutureCycle Press, 2017), Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Editions, 2017).

Sixth Mass Extinction Event by Theric Jepson

Beautiful-dandelion-puff-in-the-wind-HD-spring-wallpaper_1920x1080

I haven’t seen a bee in over a month.
I don’t know how many other local pollinators
I would even recognize but
I I I I I I I I I

I was born in 1976 when models suggested
global cooling as the next big threat
existential in nature by which we meant us
and not Javan tigers or 24-rayed sunstars
or golden toads or dusky seaside sparrows
or Saint Croix racers or Levuana moths
or Pyrenean ibex or baiji dolphins
or Japanese river otters or Scioto madtoms
or the Bermuda saw-whet owl.

The ongoing resurrection of the coelacanth
serves only to mock our own newness and fragility.
Sure we’ve peopled every clime, but
but but but but but intestines threaded through
a steering wheel—a steering wheel that will
last 10thousand years—10 million—long enough for
the next intelligent race to dig up as they
theorize re the Plasticene Era and drop
cigarette butts in their fresh dirt—

/

The deer and turkey are less shy these days,
crowding our suburban streets like retired biker gangs.
Or no, the turkeys, yes, but the deer are just
worried about what ole Tom will do if the cops show up,
so they look the other way and pretend not to—

This morning, up early, waiting for my ride,
I pulled dandelions from the lawn. Just buds
and flowers. I enjoy our little race as the plants try to bloom
and go to seed before I can toss them to the sidewalk.
I appreciate how, the better I do, the lower grow
the flowers, hidden under their canopy of grass.

This species only grows in lawns—
as reliant on us as soybeans or cannabis
for world domination.

The entire plant is edible. Every bit of it.
Scientists are now, today, running tires made
of dandelion rubber on the road, to see
if our weeds can drive us further down down down
down

I look at the heads scattered across cement.
& the bees are dying.
I I I I I

Dandelion_Puff_(1_of_1)

 

Theric Jepson’s poetry has appeared in a number of publications, most of which have never claimed regret for their decision. His chapbook After Chadwick was released in 2015. If you wish to visit him online, alas, thmazing.com is currently crippled by corrupted code, but googling thmazing and seeing what comes up is probably more fun anyway.

Work by Laura S. Marshall

Work:vacuum

She brings me home
a brand-new vacuum cleaner,
and it clatters hard

on the wide plank floors.
The back-and-forth pass (and pass
and push) plasters pink

and sweat on my skin,
under my shirt. My back hurts,
but there’s just one room

left to bluster through.
I do this every week, and
every week it’s new.

Every week I ask
the space behind my eyes, “Why?”
And it says, “For her.”

 

 

Laura S. Marshall is a writer and editor who lives in New England. She studied linguistics as an undergraduate at Queen’s University in Canada and as a grad student at the University of British Columbia. She has studied writing at the Ashbery Home School, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at UMass Amherst, and the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Her work appears or is forthcoming in literary publications including Epigraph Magazine, Lavender Review, Junoesq, and the Queen’s Feminist Review, as well as newspapers and trade magazines.