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Poetry by Juliette Sebock

Wintergreen

I could never drink root beer,
Which was a shame when we went to the soda shop
And everyone crossed the intersection
For a dollop of ice cream in their nearly-too-cold cup.
It tasted like it smelt,
And it smelt like walking on Pop-Pop’s back
And brushing against his psoriasis
And not asking about the scar that ran up his spine.

Years later, I tried.
But the smell still smelt like
Lying in bed, shivering from the cream
That tried to help the knots in my shoulders
And the knives in my eyes.
So I settle for a Coca-Cola float
With a hot water bottle,
Washing down a pain pill cocktail.

It doesn’t help.
The medicine, OTC, prescription,
Ice pack, hot pack,
Icy-hot in an A&W glass.
The braces just leave marks
And invite questions from those who only smell the wintergreen
Of some sort of pain-relief cream.

 

The Cure

It starts somewhere small.
Shoulder.
Elbow.
Waist.
It sneaks up, then sneaks along.
Flooding, burning, fingertips.

Doubled-over,
Palm pressed in orbit.
The pressure, the darkness,
Nothing helps.
Sleep?
Touch?
Solitude?
An endless cycle,
A never ending search.

 

This poem originally appeared in Juliette Sebock’s chapbook, Mistakes Were Made (2017).

 

Juliette Sebock is a poet and writer born in small-town Pennsylvania. She loved writing from a young age but worked a variety of other jobs before settling on it as a career path. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2018 with a B.A. in English and focuses in American and British history. After several years of undergraduate journalism and work with sources such as Her Campus Media and The Mighty, she turned her focus primarily to poetry, publishing the chapbook Mistakes Were Made in 2017. Currently, Juliette is working on lifestyle blog, For the Sake of Good Taste, as well as on a variety of poetry and prose pieces. When she isn’t writing (and sometimes when she is), she can be found with a cup of coffee and her cat, Fitz.

Poetry by Kate Garrett

Spectrum

Looking up at the sky when I was five, it seemed
to me no one else could see it. This one wasn’t falling
but it was too big and too bright blue-yellow-
white and there were too many people beneath it.

My mother dragged me out the door, chasing margaritas,
ignored my trembling goldfinch shoulders, did not
understand why I was sick on the floor of the Mexican
restaurant across the street from our apartment.

It was the summer I ate only greens. The heat
a conspiracy of elements telling me I didn’t belong,
sandpapering my fear until it was red and bleeding.

Back home, empty of tears, of bile—air-light—
I was numb to a bruise shimmering on my thigh
the same indigo as the shrinking sky.

 

First published in Now Then Manchester and Losing interest in the sound of petrichor (Black Light Engine Room Press, 2018).

 

Refuse

He strokes my hair while I
squeeze into an old dress.
It’s far too small these days,

green-sequinned, an unflattering
cut. I insist on it, need to demonstrate
what I’ve been saying, to prove

him wrong. I’m not gorgeous
and he will change his mind
about wanting to feel my laughter

from the inside. But I offer up
the edges of this moth-gnawed relic.
I hate throwing anything away.

 

First published in The names of things unseen (in Caboodle, Prolebooks, 2015).

 

 

Kate Garrett is the founding editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Bonnie’s Crew, and her own work is widely published. Her first full-length collection, The saint of milk and flames (Rhythm & Bones Press), and a seventh chapbook, To Feed My Woodland Bones [A changeling’s tale] (Animal Heart Press) are forthcoming in April and September 2019. Born in rural southern Ohio, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat.

Twitter: @mskateybellewww.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

Poetry by Ben Wright

Depression

I’ll be in the meadow
picking flowers today,
but if you call me,
I’ll come right home.

A big bouquet
of purple and blue –
I’ll gather a bunch
and bring them back.

Call me home
if I am late picking
my scorpion grasses,
sad and sweet.

If night falls
and I’m not back,
have no worries;
I’ll be on the way.

I’ll be on my way
home with flowers –
forget-me-nots,
my favorites.

 

Self-Portrait

If I could paint,
I would paint a
purple liver locked
behind rusty bars.

It is not a metaphor.
There are no metaphors.
There is only an organ
caged, bellowing fugues.

 

 

Ben is currently studying mathematics as a graduate student in Madison, Wisconsin. He loves cats, books, anti-depressants, and revolutionary political theories and practices which strive for nothing less than the total liberation of all beings.
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