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Online Art Gallery, Volume 8

Submissions for the next print issue are now OPEN and close Wednesday, January 30th, 2019!  

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Deva (A Sestina)

Jessamyn Duckwall

O your flushed cheeks, mouth like a desert blossom

opening slow, shy like midnight. White-hot stars

freckle in our eyes as answered prayers. We bend

like saplings ‘neath the honey-sweet weight

of God’s purple ecstasy. Let’s dance, dip & turn,

our bodies like rolling waves. Here, take my hand.

Rain-scented riddles dripping from your open hand.

If we drink them down will our eyes blossom

outward as little suns? Will our bellies turn

‘round on some hidden axis like fluorescent flesh-bound stars?

Who’s to say? All I know now is I love the weight

of your palm in mine as we dance, bow, bend,

again. Far off, a coyote’s ghost-light song. The sound bends

the strings of my heart to play in tune. Let us lift our hands

in thanks for the wild hymn of the world. A weight,

I feel it in my knees, weeping for its passing. The blossom

wilts & withers even as seeds unborn fly through night air; stars

fizzle, crack & burn out even as we turn and turn

as if our dance never ends. Twirl me like ribbon, turn

me like pages in a novel; how we collide, glide, bend

and cross—the shapes we make. A star

here, a spiral there. Our steps trace the lines of our hands.

Laughing, kissing, melting, weeping, we blossom

into one another, a living poem, spilling the weight

of world-weary angels, burgeoning weight

of dying butterflies and laboring mothers. Turn

around again. Listen closely for early spring blossoms

humming along with Coyote’s sad song; bend

‘round the melodies caressing our faces like the hand

of a lover. Lift your sibylline & fiery eyes to the stars.

O the desert-dusty dewdrops of sweat like little stars

on your brow. The old words you chant are weighted,

breathing, sacred life falling from your lips and hands.

They flutter into starlight as we dance, dip & turn

our weary bodies, ascending to heaven,

bowing, bending,

floating, swirling, and our lips unfurl their petals

            as desert blossoms.

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Star-speckled sky. We turn & bend, a rhapsody.

Weight of your hand warm on my heart—

O your flushed cheeks, mouth like a desert blossom.

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Gesture

Margo Craig

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Mama’s Got a Migraine

Brandon Romo

Mama is not a rhino

It’s just that sometimes the elephant wakes in her head

Stomping around, breaking china cabinets

Sending splintered shards about her brain

And our house is the size of a pen

Just one bathroom for the five of us

And my two sisters and I can’t play outside

because mama’s window faces the street

So, we hush what stirs within us

tiptoeing about, lights off, curtains closed, and TV near mute

but it’s the weekend and we can’t sit still

We stack things until a book falls from our fort

Mama’s feet hit the floor in full charge

Her bedroom door flies open

She reaches the bathroom, falling to her knees

and we watch her wretch into the toilet.

She lightly plods along her worn path back to bed

and my sisters and I finally unfasten

to become children again

temporary guilt flowing through us 

We’ve caused this episode.

And we would cause the next.

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