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Contributors in this issue

Tell me



photo

Antoinette Brim




 

 

 

Tell me

 

The gas is off

our children are cold.

Do you love me?

I heat water in the microwave to fill

the sink to wash their faces and hands.

Do you love me?

 I sit up with the space heater

watching for sparks.  Our children

are barely lumps under layers of quilts.

Your love leaves me cold

leaves me hungry

leaves me.

Enough becomes less when divided

into three small mouths.  I've gro wn

too old, too practical for promises.

Sing sweet songs that rise on the steam

of pots of boiling potatoes.  Look at me

with soft eyes as the furnace awakens with a roar.

When our children run past me in bare feet, 

white cotton t-shirts grazing their thighs. 

Then I will know you love me.

 

 

 

Postcards from an Ambient Life



I.

 

My pen broke just now and the sticky and oh so black ink has affixed my fingers to it but I don't want to stop writing because I'm outside and the sky is this turquoise blue as if the night can't drive out a hopeful day and fireflies are playing hide and seek with me — one moment glowing green to my right and phosphorescent to my left — far off above my head, they play visual tag.  The male cicadas are loud and we female cicadas are silent but my pen is still writing — broken and bleeding sticky black ink.  I know as long as I don't move from this spot and I don't stop writing, I won't fear the messiness of being broken.

 

II.

 

We do things for the damnedest reasons — like go off to be alone — because we don't want be alone.  We want to be missed and followed — to be sought after and longed for.  It would make so much more sense simply to shout out:  find me for God's sake! If we fell into a well, we would shout.  We wouldn't sulk expecting someone to just know we needed a hand out of the darkness.

 

III.

 

Our photography teacher told us to 'see the light.'  I'm a poet, so I thought it would be easy.  But it wasn't.  Until one day at the bus stop, I looked up to see the streetlight still on in the early morning hours.  Its light shattered the early morning rain into a curtain of crystal shards that pooled onto the black asphalt street.  I saw the light for the very first time.  Is it that difficult to see love?  Is it so subtly hidden in plain sight?  Have I looked past it because I expected an overwhelming 4th of July explosion of whistle and color?  The 4th of July only comes once a year.  But the streetlight comes on everyday to light the school children's way to the yellow and black bus. It backlights the rain and shines my way home. Yeah.  I think that's love.