Online Art Gallery, Volume 11

Submissions for the next issue are now officially OPEN and close February 13th, 2019! 

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Second Visit to a Tide Pool

Nickolas Daniel Jones

From Spring cotillions where the wine is iced

And girls in dresses laugh at boys with red faces,

She runs to the tide pool by the sand-nibbled boulders;

Tide pool—strange elixir of life; marbled ecosystem

Where bioluminescence miraged by spilt starlight

Erodes the earth she once knew by a familiar name;

She watches starfish eat—gangly arms colored rust and lilac

That liquefy around mindless mussels blooming on the rocks

And intensifies her thoughts of his smile, hunting for bravery, 

The night she was lantern fuel and he was sheets of netted tulle.

Pool water ripples push away the quilled ink of octopus

While a cephalopod beak poking through the silt smiles

Beneath the salted refraction of the moon—quivering lines—

The octopus lip is messed with a curl of clam’s tongue;

The moon glint on the watchful window of the house

Obscures the hour hand and the metronome-click of the clock,

And for a moment in a night familiar, it is any time at all.

Anachronistic memories that shaped scarlet happenings

Unseen by the timepiece standing on grey carpets;

The kiss she stole from him, while her fingers stroked the water,

The kiss between rifle powder and hyacinth flower.

But the wary dowager claps the closing ballroom tap,

Distracted by her own time, passed, in the wetness of ocean’s lick,

And by a boy wishing he could watch the starfish one sigh longer,

And by the octopus carried back into Neptunian antiquity;

For the hour of ubiquity is now one minute passed—

The hour of end and beginnings, morning and middle night,

And the trail of close knit footprints in young flight—

Her salt water touches the salt water of the infinite abyss

And with two minutes nearly spent, she simply must return.

To prevent pleats, a mannequin now models the dress she wore,

And she, in her pajamas, whispers-out the candle light

And dreams of phosphorous sparking white fabric into dust.

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Dove Song

Ava Phillips

Before, her heart hung like a bruise

between bent ribs. Breathing, quietly begging

for firm fingers to pluck her strings. Words lost

in the echo of that cage of fading

paint and birdsong. Her lungs sore

from standing still among dead whispers. 

Before, she kept only the moon’s whispers 

for comfort, a cold crow laugh to bruise

stranger’s ears. Always, there were sores 

from her plucked feathers begging

for a balm. Tucked behind her faded

calcium stars, she hid words for loves lost. 

Such second place lovers come home to loss,

at night feeding the walls their whispers

to quiet the ache of their faded

fingerprints. Theirs are worn and bruised

from years of begging

love to make a home out of bodies sore

and overflowing. This girl is a sore

wound from the waist down. Her pride lost

to the tide in her eyes, between thighs begging

to be pried open by you. On the train she whispers

about birds and silver rings—never the bruises

your hands would not allow to fade.  

She’s the one keeping them from fading

now, listening to recordings about sore

women soaring over bridges. The bruises

keep time with their colors, seasons. Loss

eats her dreams like fruitcakes, whispering

decay up that weak spine she once begged

you to kiss. Each vertebrae a pearl begging

to be unstrung. These days her voice is a faded

wail. She cries in mourning, whispering

to spiders and licking the dust your sore

form was made from off the window sills. Lost

and locked away inside a birdcage bruise.

The moon drinks her saltwater, and she begs to be sore.

A faded sea-foam tongue in tatters, a few lost

whispers eaten by thorns. What a ruse, this blooming bruise.

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