Botticelli Magazine Number 6

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Dedicated to EDWARD LENSE

Art by Aaron Behnk

Art by Anna Noelker

The storm clouds moved across the ethereal geishas face as flashes of her fan. Whether her intentions were to seduce or warn, not many knewthey hadn’t studied the matter. They only saw the carrot roots of light splicing that strange, hollow place as tears squirmed against the meniscus of the skies. It will break. Soon enough it will. And then, you will break.

Toaster Slip

By Cate McCall

The sand from the horizon will whip the leaves from off their posts as soldiers clamored to their six foot holes. Everything you stole will be stolen from you and you’ll be left, drowning in fables and sarcastic remarks. You will be drained of color and care; no longer interested in being anyone’s muse. You will shiver at the touch of others and smoke until you cough up soot. Underwater always felt so safe and silent, but drowning in a motel bathtub was never what you’d expected. “At last”, they sigh “She’s met her demise”.

Art by Beth Duboe


By Simon Perchik This cup grows old while the table overflows, wobbles then lists –for a long time now the watermarks smell from smoke as the dim light from wood hour after hour shedding its colors though the chair pulls you closer, smoothing the way through daydreams and the mist that quiets its makeshift sea empties the Earth with your mouth kept wet to let in the waves that once had it all, were walls for a room now fallen on its back though your arms ache from lifting over and over forgetting where. What did you expect! with just its scent an old love note lights this lamp the way bats sip from flowers and darkness and though the ink has soured

it’s the night that’s draining you as the arm around her shoulders –word by word it becomes again a butterfly, is dipping into the flourish over your name lit by hers and shining. It takes stone though your breath heats by waiting for something to change the way sunlight inhales, unnoticed is floating alongside these graves in riverbeds and kisses –stone can save her now that the ground has more time to count each mourner coming by empty handed looking for someone else –stone! without the rush, left in the open in a pillow filled with mountains, not yet the one day more as a ready-made hole melting your lips for their brightness –every afternoon is blinded by a stone made from wood

as if smoke could start over and you hear a long ago name rising out the light and emptiness.

by its over and over reaching out while the tree no longer moved –a heart was being carved

Though this leaf was a child when it let go your hand the branch took a little longer, was weakened

urging it on with your initials, short for kisses, kisses and the afternoons that have no light left to offer. You weakened the paint with salt from the off-white evenings changing colors in the open misled the can by lifting it close to your arms then campfires and songs still getting together reaching out for the trails that dip into your heart are carried along as the streams wanting to rush through walls one by one –you begin with your fingers, disguised as there and back and thirst then mostly it’s the photographs and certificates whose frames were already promised spiders, moths, corners that have no other place to hide.

Art by Anna Noelker


By Robert Loss

Outside the turnpike rest stop, I drag my palm through the wet furry snow, then taste it: salty. “Hey you,” Mom says, pulling me backwards by my jacket hood. My feet scramble uselessly on the sidewalk, the heels of my sneakers worn smooth from dragging my feet across the ladies’ section of various department stores and doctors’ offices. I’m old enough to go pee by myself but she says I’m not and drags me into the women’s bathroom and tells me to sit on a toilet. Everywhere we go, she is dragging me behind her. When we were still in the car—a Gremlin, I like the name—the road was spraying dots of water on our windshield, and the wipers smudged them with a greasy, milky fluid, and the sun bounced off the snow on the side of the road, bright like water is bright, so much I had to squint. I asked her if Ohio had snow. “More than you can handle,” she told me, “but it’s April now. All this snow is melting. There won’t be very much snow until August.” “Summer?” “It was a joke, Benjamin.” When I’m done on the toilet we go back out into the lobby and Mom looks

at a map of Pennsylvania bigger than me. “This is where we started,” she says, pointing to the middle, “and now we’re here.” I know only that we are leaving behind my father in that white mass covered by tangles of red and blue veins. The whiteness could be snow instead of paper; there’s snow in Pennsylvania, too, and it can bury my father, choking him, and where will we be? Nowhere close, nowhere close enough to save him. “Come on, we’d better go,” she says, tugging on my jacket. A few stray flakes of snow hang in the air. I stop by a newspaper box and cross my arms like a pretzel. After a few steps, my mother turns around, her brown overcoat flaring. “Get in the car,” she says. “I want to go back.” “Get in the car.” “I’m not leaving my dad!” An old man in checkered pants and his wife toddle by, staring at my mother. I’ll realize years later, when she grows smaller, that my mother is a private person and doesn’t like scenes. But she’s a marble-eyed owl, too, when she’s on a mission. “We don’t have a choice, Ben.” She grabs my jacket and this time I really lunge away. Her fingers zip along its shiny surface. Still standing by the newspaper box, I look inside and pretend to read, and then actually try to read. The words are strange, though I can sound them out to a degree: Carter, Iran. “It’s not fair,” I shout. “Yeah, well, take a number.” Confused, I keep shouting. I repeat myself: I don’t want to go. My tinny voice reveals the utter futility of my rebellion, which I cannot understand, only feel by the way she stares at me through her eyeglasses. What I cannot put into words is that something will happen to my father, that he will one day be fine and the next day gone. A shiver is squeezing my heart and my brain, my stupid little brain that imagines more than it should be able to. In school the other boys and

girls will imagine pretty things and happy adventures and I will imagine climbers falling to their deaths and tall angels with no faces. Sighing, my mother collapses onto the bench beside the newspaper box. She is so young—I don’t know how old; I can hardly think of her as she—, too young to have had the bad luck to marry a man who drinks like it’s his job. I am on the cusp on knowing the word: alcoholic. We left once and went back because she doesn’t like to quit, but she finally quit because she’s a marble-eyed owl and no fool. She wipes a clip of wet brown hair from her forehead and puts her purse between her ankles. “He could succotash in the snow,” I murmur. She laughs harshly. She puts her hand out to me, flat, as if to feed a horse. I don’t take it. “Suffocate,” she says. “The word is ‘suffocate,’ and he’s not going to suffocate in the snow. Succotash is your favorite food, remember?” “I don’t know.” “You’re a smart boy. Too smart, probably. But you need a good school.” “I don’t want to go to school.” “And Grandma and Grandpa can watch you.” “I want Dad to watch me.” “He can barely watch himself.” I ask her what she means and she says to forget it, and since she seems to have given up on forcing me back to the car, I leave the newspaper box and sit next to her on the bench. Maybe she’s rethinking. Maybe we’ll turn back. And if we don’t turn back—and we won’t—I’ll blame her for putting me in harm’s way, for taking me to a place where I grow up lonely and spend afternoons conjuring wars with my toys and kicking a soccer ball against the rock under the flagpole at the south end of my grandparents’ house, and it will be a long time before I realize that there’s nothing she could have done to keep me from despair. I will look at the day like it’s a curse and put a knife on my skin. Here, on the bench beside the newspaper box, the danger is already in my blood and out there in the world. Around us are mountains, high and brown like giant walls, and the traffic on the highway shushes, and it’s getting darker. We are sitting in the cold, and my mother has been explaining all I have to look forward to in Ohio. I don’t know

how long we’ve been sitting here. A peach stroke of light is brushed over the edge of the mountains and melts upwards into a dark blue sky, and around us the snow is popping as it melts. A man in a black uniform approaches us from where an ugly, babyish woman with neon red hair in a trailer is giving out steaming cups of coffee to the travelers. The man’s shoes click on the wet sidewalk; his face is lean and the cleft in his chin is like a wound. “Everything all right here, ma’am?” he says in a slippery voice. Mom stutters that it is. She calls him officer. “My son and I are moving back home.” “Having a little dispute, huh?” “I guess you could call it that,” she says, her face blushed. The man bends over me, close to my face, and my mother shifts her bottom. Her hand graces mine. His cap is tight on his head and low, his eyes in shadow. Tufts of hair stick out over his ears like wings. “What’s your name, little guy?” I whisper it. “You need to listen to your pretty mommy here, Ben.” I guess he doesn’t need to tell me his name, but I can see it on his badge: Sgt. P. Neal. He looks at my mother and smiles, all shade and teeth. “My son listens,” she says. He straightens up, his shoulders broad and righteous. “Do you need a hand? With anything? Patrol station’s just a few miles east of here.” “Aren’t we allowed to sit here?” His smile actually widens, like tone grinding into a new shape. “The lady over there, giving out the coffee? She said you’ve been sitting here awhile. That your son was screaming.” “He was not screaming.” “She said you grabbed him.” “What? I didn’t—” “If there’s a problem, I can make a call. Family Services.” He shrugs,

darkly perfect in his power. “I’m just going off what Faye over there said—” “You’re lying!” I blurt. “Benjamin!” The man calmly and violently gazes down at me. It’s the look of someone who sees an obstacle in his way. Years from now I’ll know it as the look of a man who believes unerringly that his cause is worthy, who never wonders if what he wants is the right thing, the best thing. “Back home we’d say that boy needs a good whipping.” He grins and tips back the hard brim of his cap, finally revealing the entirety of his face in the sunset’s burning light. My throat tightens; I am thinking of a whip smacking my flesh like the paddle at the kindergarten I went to. “’Course, where I come from, my daddy taught us boys to wrestle, too. To have some spirit. All in good fun, you know.” My mother stands, having gripped my arm in one smooth motion. “Well, we don’t come from there,” she says. “We’re leaving, right, Ben? Right?” My mother clutches my arm tight and I wish she could grab it tighter; I wish she could put me in her coat and tie it and hide me. I’ve forgotten why we were sitting, why I was angry. We are so small and we need to get away. The man follows as we pass the little trailer and the red-haired woman handing out coffee. She has pale, pale skin, as if all of her color has been soaked up by her inflamed hair. “Whereabouts you headed?” he says. “Perry,” the woman calls with a chuckle, “leave ‘em alone now!” But the man is still behind us. “You’ll want to drive safe,” he says. “It’s slick out there.” “We will.” “And make sure you got your ticket for the toll booth. Don’t wanna forget that, or you gotta pay full price.” Mom throws open the passenger door and tells me to buckle in. Her coat flaps across her chest as she rushes across the front of the car. The hood rocks, she winces and

emits a tiny howl. When she sits next to me, she rubs her thigh close to her knee. I hear the man say through the windows, “Have a blessed night!” “We don’t need your damn blessing,” she mutters, turning the engine and reaching across me to lock the door. We lurch backwards and a car horn blares. She slams our horn. It’s like giant geese are screaming. Up on the sidewalk the policeman has his arms spread out, angry, yelling at us—but then he cracks a grin, laughs, because it’s funny, because he was just having some fun and we weren’t. We speed under mountains whose faces are jagged and shift in the shadows. They loom, threatening to break apart, to descend on us without any warning. Behind us, keeping a steady distance, is a highway patrol car. My mother keeps checking the rearview and she turns on the radio even though it’s half static. After the mountains have flattened out, the car comes up behind us, close enough that I can see the shadow-form of P. Neal, and then he pulls off and his car curls around the exit off-ramp, swooping up the incline like a bird peeling off into the sky. “Are you okay?” says Mom. I shrug and nod. The sour pit in my stomach has gone away. She sighs like she did on the park bench. “We’re moving along, at any rate.” The road hisses underneath the car like an alive thing, angry that it has to carry us along, that it has to carry along the other cars and the people inside them, who I watch. They look nervous, and sometimes hypnotized, like they don’t know where they’re going and can only hope they’re getting there. I look back at my mother and she looks the same way. But when we approach the toll booths on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania, she turns down the radio and pulls us over on the berm. The Gremlin skids on the gravel. She looks at me sternly and says, “You know I will never, never let anything bad happen to you, right?” Her hand is on my knee, and she shakes it, clutching the muscles and bone and ligaments. I nod. I remember my father and wonder if his mother made the promise.

Originally published in Filigree, Vol. S

Art by Charla Mayhew

Art by Charla Mayhew

Art by Mellisa Stepp

Art by Tamara Chevlen

Art by Geoffrey Blasiman

Art by Kat Skaff

Art by Kat Skaff

Art by Tamara Chevlan

Art by Brianna Parrish

Art by Brandan Leathead

Art by Mia Funk

Art by Sarah Brevick

How To Poem for Absorbing the Shock Wave By Kathrine Wright

First, know the physics of absorbing energy. Understand impact mechanics. Know from fracture and fragmentation. From perforation, propogation. Don’t forget spallation, impact of a projectile, what the body ejects when the meteor hits. You’ll feel that your ears will burst. This may subside. You’ll feel your heart enlarge, chest constrict, your organs convex while your skeleton concaves. Don’t worry, it’s just stress. It’s terrible about the collision, but the change from motion to heat, sound – wasn’t it beautiful? Did anyone get that on video? When you near the ring galaxy, look for the hot blue stars. Steer clear the spiral galaxy, its want to suck you in. Wrap its meathook around you, seduce you into the dark matter and bulge. It’s tempting to make yourself a star, though we highly advise against it. None of this will help your Southern hemisphere orientation. None of this will help you if you’re used to breathing water. Wasn’t it winter when you left? Weren’t you just out for a quick swim in the circumpolar sky? The good news: your gills and fins seem intact. Nothing appears asymmetrical. You can’t tell what you’ve been through. Made it through this time. Your color has returned. (Love the subtle so-manyblues of your skin. And your silvery scales…) More lovely for the adventure. In the future, please calculate the jump. At least wear your safety goggles. We can replace a limb, but there’s nothing to replace the eyes.

Art by Alix Ayoub

Art by Hannah Ross

Art by Brianna Parrish

Art by Geoffrey Blasiman

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