Plots

They say women are supposed to kill themselves
neatly, like good girls. Leave no mess behind
so everyone else can go on
with minimal disruptions. No lovers left
to scrub floors, pick up brains
or pour hydrogen peroxide on crusty bits.
That’s why bathtubs are so popular. Just two
slices up the wrist, flick flick.

Not me. Me,

I’d buy a gun. A big one. Put it
on credit and get a whole box
of bullets. (I imagine you get strange
looks if you ask for a single). And
I’d wear white, all white, like a bride
and a virgin. Do my hair and smear
on expensive lipstick so you couldn’t tell
where my lips began and the blood
started to lick. I’d hold that gun a long time,

my last stupid purchase. Warm it
in my palms, memorize the lines
with my fingertips. Then, I’d pull
the trigger with empty lungs, and I’d want

to think of nothing, I’d try
to think of nothing but I know—
God, I know—my mind would fill,
dark like frozen chambers
with all those heavy thoughts of you.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of four collections of poetry, including Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. Jessica is the owner of a multi-award-winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at https://jessicatynermehta.com.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

On Lovers

I’ve had many affairs, but the guilt
was scarce. A sticky, chewy sauce
that hugged my tongue too tight—
surprise! But it never ruined the deliciousness.
It was, as they say,
worth it. Like chocolate cake
is worth each calorie, good sex
worth the pregnancy worries,
your face worth all those sacrifices. I think
there’s something wrong with me,
in me, something missing
or never was. How should a person feel
when they slide with slippery ease
from one warmed-up set of sheets
to the next? Worthless, worthy?
Like a slut, or swollen with freedom?
I don’t know, I don’t know, all
I know is this: I’ve taken many of you
between my legs, between my teeth
and it was glorious, all of it,
each time, every time and I will die
legs splayed and happy, unashamed
for the crematorium to burn me up.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of four collections of poetry, including Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. Jessica is the owner of a multi-award-winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at https://jessicatynermehta.com.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

A King-Sized Ocean

Our feet still breast-
stroke towards one other. Diving
into the duvet depths, sailing against
pilled satin sheets nubbed and bubbled
from kicking, calloused feet. I’d swim
an ocean’s yawn for you,
to the darkest leagues into uncharted
wetness where the frilled sharks sleep-
circle and the wolffish prowl.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of four collections of poetry, including Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. Jessica is the owner of a multi-award-winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at https://jessicatynermehta.com.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | 1 Comment

binary

α

Turned into
whatever form it
felt like. Air-

conditioner noises
in the warm night,
a possum in a

tree. Natural &
unnatural. Man-
ichean heresy.

β

What do we take
out of it? Some
compromised

memories; & this
small poem in lieu
of severance pay.

Mark Young’s most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore & Ley Lines, both from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago. A new collection, some more strange meteorites, is due out from Meritage Press, California, in early 2017.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pastoral

I walk out to
find asemic snail tracks
on the rubber mat at
the bottom of the
backdoor steps. Two
yellow butterflies
map the yard, one
serving as a center

whilst the other
circles round it.
Broken branches
pointing in all
directions. Is the wind
singular or plural?

Mark Young’s most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore & Ley Lines, both from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago. A new collection, some more strange meteorites, is due out from Meritage Press, California, in early 2017.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Post-War

The “Vietnam Vet” on Jerry’s cap reminds you that here, among the giant kin of your giant American boyfriend, your home is just the name of a war. Too young to remember Jerry’s war, you grew up reading its handwriting, burned into a face, an arm, a hillside. It was a script that victory could not delete.

The people in this box-like small-town hall might be survivors, too, of some obscure domestic war: wheelchair, white cane, Marvin who’s doing OK but fell on the airport escalator in Denver, Knut who is master of his walker but helpless before the demands of his inscrutable smartphone.

They’ve set up the karaoke, and your boyfriend’s giant father croons “It’s Now or Never” in his oddly delicate tenor. The blind man dances with his wife, and Brenda, whose granddaughter was on American Idol, sways with her Aunt Lillian, stooped but sure-footed at ninety. In the grim fluorescent light you see the glint of water on Brenda’s cheek.

The mystery package you’ve brought for the silent auction sits between the Bierkes’ homebrew fruit wine and old photos of cousins who stayed back in Norway (that’s Oddvar wearing a saucepan for a helmet—must have been ’42 or ’43). The bidding over, Donna wheels up to unwrap her prize, which comes, it turns out, not from Vietnam but from your boyfriend’s magazine collection. Giggles and barks infect the crowd as they process the gleaming cleavage and the iconic rabbit’s head.

Their first question—Did he know?—finds an answer in your boyfriend’s blood-colored face; to their second, neither your calm social worker’s eyes nor your narrow shoulders in their embroidered silk dress, nor your elegant slippered feet give a clue that anyone here is qualified to read.

Roy White is a blind person who lives in Minnesota with a lovely woman and a handsome dog. His work has appeared, or is about to, in BOAAT Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Terrain.org and elsewhere, and he blogs at https://lippenheimer.wordpress.com.

Posted in Creative Non-fiction | Tagged | 1 Comment

Boys

vinegar boys draw chalk circles
round weightless arrangements;
fist fight over wolves & blanch purple;
collect cracks & headless fossils;
carry pocket knives soaked in stomach acid;
coat their dreams in bubble gum.

look at them now, high on lettermen jackets:
homecoming is not for coming out,
it is not for coming home it is for
calculating how many seeds it takes to grow a soul
& can I bum a cigarette?
& port-a-potty navel grazing

play in power plant kiddy pools
& be electrocuted; swallow needles
to prepare for inside out dissection;
look for constellations in the sky
& dig up lies mothers tell their sons
to bury them dead.

Jaclyn Grimm lives in Orlando, FL. Her prose and poetry have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Cheap Pop, decomP magazinE, and Teen Vogue. She currently works as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment