#MeToo: Evening Prayer by Melissa Weiss

You want to know how I spend
my time? Remembering
pink panties around ankles, scent
of petroleum jelly, scent of
Vaseline on fingers on–
Toonie to cup breasts in prepubescent
palms. Taste of Don’t talk
about it, she doesn’t know
what she did crammed down
windpipe, twenty-five
years, slowly
starting
to slip

free.

Melissa Weiss studies Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Recently, her work has appeared in Prairie Fire, The Maynard, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere, and placed second in Into the Void‘s 2017 Poetry Contest. Melissa co-edits One Button Press in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her most recent chapbook, Don’t Fall in Love with a Poet, was released by JK Publishing in 2018. Visit her at https://twitter.com/melsince93.

 

Original photograph by Jorge Royan. 

#MeToo: Title IX Case Dismissed For Lack Of Evidence by Sandra Hunter

Mattress_Performance_rules_of_engagement

Plaintiff did not indicate that she withheld consent

We are lost in our nervous system
You are sobbing
We have lost our language
We can only make sounds
I am here
I am her

We are in a wind tunnel
You are sobbing
You are a semaphore I cannot read
You are a small disappearing flag
I am here
I am he

We are in a shipwreck
You are sobbing
Call me from inside your wounds
Call me from your unwords
I am here
I am h

We are falling from an airplane
You are sobbing
I am pulling the ripcord
You are failing to open
I am
I

 

 

Sandra Hunter’s stories have won the 2017 Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, 2016 Gold Line Press Chapbook Prize, and three Pushcart nominations. She is a 2018 Hawthornden Fellow and the 2017 Charlotte Sheedy Fellow at the MacDowell Colony.

#MeToo: A Wolf Girl Enters the World by Wren Tuatha

Monstorium Historia

A wolf girl enters the world
through a slice in the air
that catches eyes all around.
Is her name ordinary, Maria,
or pedestaled, Dulcinea?

The air in the village square
tells the story of the pie
she carries. Younger wolf sister
stays close, dropping mental
breadcrumbs through
the forest of eyes.

To be a wolf girl and to be
a girl are redundant. Everyone
is entitled to look at will,
on the sly or not.

At court, brocade
flowers on her gown
fit in, but she will always
be queer.

Her Italian language is
baroque with syllables,
civilized. She has written
a poem. It feels natural
to choose the attention
of others.

She will recite her poem
now.

 

First published in Danse Macabre.

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Pirene’s Fountain, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at JUMP, International Journal of Modern Poetry.  Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

#MeToo: Dear Med Guy by Melissa Weiss

The devil drives a Mustang. Sinks crooked teeth
into Coach Purses and Haagen Dazs. Pinkie
swears and Snapchat filters. You
are an octopus tentacle on grease-stained
linoleum. The unnamed image in front
of a Polaroid. Your loafers are square
and geometric. Onyx. Glazed
in stringy bits and aphid innards.

I saw them yesterday
when you trampled on my me too.
Picked it back up and combed it
through the oily prickle on your chin.
Your breathy clouds spoke: slut. Tossed
the word through the air like an emerald.
Like you owned it.

You are a pine needle among matchsticks.
Eclipsed. Concealed. I don’t know how
to say fuck you any more eloquently.

 

Melissa Weiss studies Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Recently, her work has appeared in Prairie Fire, The Maynard, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere, and placed second in Into the Void‘s 2017 Poetry Contest. Melissa co-edits One Button Press in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her most recent chapbook, Don’t Fall in Love with a Poet, was released by JK Publishing in 2018. Visit her at https://twitter.com/melsince93.

#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.

 

#MeToo; #GunViolence: Sara by Karen Silverstrim

She opened the door to the end. She could hear her son
splashing in the tub down the hall. She could see the intent
in his eyes, and she only thought, “hush” to her son.
“Don’t let him hear you.” She backed away from the door
and the gun, trying to placate, offering to talk. He had already
made up his mind though, the standard, “if I can’t have you,
no one will.” The shots rang out and stung her face like a bee,
as part of her jaw flew across the room. The end was quick,
but her final thought was her son. She didn’t close her eyes,
until she saw him turn the gun on himself. Her son would be safe.

 

 

Karen Silverstrim lives in western New York, spending her time hiking around the Niagara Gorge and teaching history.  Karen has been writing for forty-seven years, with publications in newspapers and literary journals in New York, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Canada.

 

Photograph by Ian D. Keating.