Voice of Eve ISSUE FIVE - MARCH 2019
Contents Catori Sarmiento 4 Colleen Moyne 11 Dawn Cunningham 15 Emily Strauss 20 Frances Koziar 23 Gilberte Oâ€™Sullivan 29 Jacqueline Jules 35 Jay Berghuis 39 Karen Horsley 43 Kate LaDew 48 Lauren Scharhag 53
Lisa Zimmerman 60 Sam B. 67 Suzanne Nielsen 72 Yong Takahashi 77 Anahit Arustamyan 80
Me ni irete mo itai kunai It does not hurt, even if it is put in the eye A blue morning greets me with Trilling uguisu. Baby rustling, mouthing for a breast. Cracking eggs into a fry pan with one hand, chubby hands grip my shirt. Scrambling yolks, folding tamagoyaki. Walking Onechyan to the station. She patters, red backpack bobbing. Baby in the carrier, fussing, drooling, gnawing on my jacket collar. Okaeri home. Nursing in bed and I say a prayer that he will sleep. Napping together on futon. I don’t want to rise, but daughter’s uniform needs washing, dishes cleaning. Chores tended to, I sit, resting with eyes closed, and a cry sends me dashing. Picking him up reveals the mess he left behind. Changing his soiled clothes and diaper, I sing to him and he laughs. When I smell my breath, I realize I haven’t brushed my teeth since last night. Baby nuzzles for my breast. I sit to feed him, falling asleep as he suckles. I wake to his whining, to a full bladder, to the clock that shouts lunchtime. Putting him down, he cries, so I hold him while I use the toilet.
Outside to the park by the station, I take him out to lie on the grass. He coos at the wide maple leaves sashaying in the breeze. We play inai-inai-baa and laugh together. I nearly cry from happiness. Swaying train arrives, clacking slowly to the platform. Daughter meets us at the park. Walking home, she chats about her day and sings baby a song she learned at school. My back is sore from holding him. By sunset we sit together, eating niku-jaga. The quiet reprieve of smacking lips.
The End of Maturing Sun
She walks with her back bowed forward. The weight of too many summers settled on her spine.
Harvest Moon on Mirror Pond
Where surface is sky, brightness burning through paper is a persimmon.
Goat Milk in Toyama
The orange sun wakes me and then Okaasan rocking my shoulder with sour smelling hands when I refuse to rise. Milk and miso is my breakfast. In a brown bowl, I mix leftover miso soup with rice bran, which I feed to the goat.
About Catori Sarmiento
After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Catori Sarmiento’s world travels have often inspired her unique writing style. When not exploring the many cracks and crags in Japan, Catori Sarmiento spends her time writing poetry and prose. As an author, her works have appeared in numerous literary publications.
I don’t remember love, only eye-rolling impatience and folded-arm frustration at my attempts to connect I can’t recall laughter, only tight-jawed tolerance and foot-tapping fury at every timid approach There was no conversation, only sullen silence and brutal brushing-off and long, lonely hours But I remember that day... your face all stiff-lipped stuffiness and stern-eyed judgement wrapped in scowling folds The day I finally walked away taking only a suitcase and a silent promise of unconditional self love.
I was little but absorbed much in the curious days of childhood. The essence of adventure born of hunger for this large world. But days turned the months into years... and curiosity dissolved. ***** I cared little but harboured much in the innocent days of my youth. Facade of bravado born of peer pressure or ‘fear’ pressure. Shape-shifting to fit with friends... and innocence dissolved. ***** We spoke little but conveyed much in the passionate days of new love. But time tamed us, apathy claimed us, silence reigned Days turned the months into years... and passion dissolved.
About Colleen Moyne
Colleen Moyne is a published freelance writer living in the lovely riverside town of Mannum in South Australia. She has won several awards for her poetry and has had poems and short stories published in a number of anthologies. Her first solo collection will be launched in early 2019.
I’ve been eating honey right from the spoon --Marie Ponsot after Marie Ponsot
after (as she, as her, as female, remembers) bees hum & swarm to collect pollen & local smells, honey hums the air full like cicadas and, having hummed clean gorgeous blooms aroma sweet language of wild taste does fill the tea mug uncoupled of love; it stings the want to sing a language from ancient Egypt of knowing how to speak bee. Such honey expands as if a gold pot color all from the rainbow and sun stores much more than thirst to enrich, engulf the tongue of drinker till it enacts a need as it calls out: TAKE (as she asks her who of the beekeepers speak who tongues my gold).
Ghostwritten after Marie Ponsot DAWN CUNNINGHAM
She in the line of names I say the name called Still now her ears do not react. Always, she is ghostwritten. Keeper, negotiator, overridden Actions of body and mind, Words from another’s voice Through her gums to form her, Replace inner sanctuary of self I know her birth name is The original name. She has loss the choice of framework To narcotic people dances without eyes to her multiple tongues talk their roach motel. Sensitive, passionate, nonconfrontational with others: Peacekeeper, she is always ghostwritten What she does of what she doesn’t want.
Ghostwriting the Her in Me
Becoming self in herself is written By nightlight, the lamp between Bed and desk over an IBM Where words dismantle the day And create dreams to sleep while awake. After midnight the living begins, What she knows she is: her, her dancing in the hall with a prince her, her slipping in silk writing the rain bow, she writes herself, names the items to do: dip the ocean into a bowl of knowing, scone the moon over daylight, create a satin ring for Saturn, hush the thirst of want. She finally sees what others see, what they see she means: Only the pleasure she gives them So decisive there is no her. Is this how she comes to know herself? As the her vanishes by rewriting the ghostwritten The chaste voices rip her into multiple Years of words not of her own. Not vanquished by morning HER words paginate the voice.
About Dawn Cunningham
Dawn Cunningham writes to explore herself, a situation, others ideas, and to find truth. Her writing comes out of the joy of oral storytelling taught to her by Gran’ma Ginny through the Native American tradition. Writing is her sanity. Recent publications are Confluence, Healing Words: A Journey Through the Ladder UPP, Poetry Quarterly, and an upcoming publication in Storylandia, The Beasthood.
Born with the memory of the first spark we grow to points of fractured glass. We must now let go of distractions like leaves blowing in a storm, the snow wrapping us in dainty white crystals. We must return to our first love, the complete self unified in the blizzard, enveloped by its white heart. The path never changes— if we find ourselves grace happens. When we become separated from the self we lose our memory of roots, drift in the wind, buried in snow on the back hill we can barely see out the frosted panes, the windows rattling and the drifts piling higher. By morning half the fence will be buried, the ground shaped into mounds— we will be lost then. Yet the deep snowy fields, the wind and leaves are just masks to hide behind like smoke from a burning slash pile drifting under frozen oaks. We are the children of this cold moment remembering the first breath of wind slapped into us.
About Emily Strauss
Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 450 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.
They came once, a people we didn’t believe in warriors across a horizon colourless with war They fought once, but they bled alone and we didn’t realize until afterward that they had tried to save us They left once, and we remained behind holding the spears they had brought warriors forged in apology They were remembered once, as the half-truth of legends, embers that glimmered beneath the shadowed flames of oppression —Freedom, Safety, Respect, Love—hopes held tight like talismans, close to the hearts of the young
When I Loved Her
the cataclysm of stars, ricocheted to the saffron, sienna, swirling abyss; but I, I stood still somehow, the eye took me whole, and I knew my fate When I knew her in a dance of her making, I watched to see, if —divergence and reunion, sing my feet were always hers and all I knew were eyes that captured me When I missed her I watched leaves fall twirling, twisting, toppling dead; and I stood, staring looking, but never finding that map, that explanation she always gave When I remembered her I remembered a storm a blurring gale, staggering a light, through the rain something always, there beside me, taking my hand and following When I remembered me
I couldn’t remember how I ever came out, but then I never walked in: the storm came to me and I wanted and I was a part, but then I stood in silence
Sapphire eyes pierce my memories as my actual vision blurs with tears and stings with sweat and I strike the shovel into gravelly soil and wonder how someone who was so alive could be dead
About Frances Koziar
Frances Koziar is predominantly a fiction writer with 10+ publications in literary magazines, and she is seeking an agent for a diverse NA/ YA fantasy novel. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Breath and Shadow and an anthology by the Poetry Institute of Canada (Award of Excellence). She is an Aztec archaeologist and anthropologist and lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Author website: https://franceskoziar.wixsite. com/author.
She came to him open-mouthed like the caves of Gasparee black gums dripping stalactite breathing tendrils of herb Cursing a streak of blue devils on his progeny. Unrepentant, she leapt the fire pass feeling no pain, her steps calloused since the day an enemy broomed her feet so she wouldn’t marry. Some curses are stern as seraphim. No fresh souls will visit her house No urge of calming-milk will river from her breasts None will teach her heart mercy She will avenge them all, A sickle swings from her womb. But beware her grief At night she cries brass beads If she chokes on one, strike her back Failing that, poison the gut worms She may even give you thanks. Belly laugh with her until she is well Watch her seethe and rise again.
Nora of the Fairies
We lived near the asylum-madhouse as it’s keener known with snide affection. My mother built a swimming pool to perish the rainy season toads sprayed pyrethroid for the red ticks tended mealy bug to save the red hibiscus exalting our driveway. One morning an outpatient ascended our hill. She drifted up our approach with its cheeky shrubs, and through the glass door, her crown of hair an Aztec sun fizzling out, her body dainty light from abstemious fare or crack cocaine, a Barbie doll, or a cutlass in her grasp, there was too much stark glare to tell the difference. Her name was Nora from the Ibsen play, I later learned. Nora of honour and light. Nora, possibly from the Gaelic. “This is my house. Get out my fucking house,” she shrieked in banshee. She must have learned it from the fairies that soared with her name. In our land we have no words for fairies Our mystic women are fireballs or flayers of their own skin. But never fairies. At rush-hour downtown, it’s said Nora swings and slams untended cars, “Lock your doors, lock your fucking doors. Your children will fall out!” Up to now, no one can say if she died or went some other
way. Thirty years on, at the neighbour’s window, I forget to ask if they heard Nora’s enchanted screams that day. I glance my mother’s pool crowned by an archway not of her design, lined black, unscrubbed with rainy season tears. My neighbor of lucid goodwill studies the galvanize crimp upwards to squatters hill. He says this ward deserves its dignity; he will convert government stand-pipes into showers, soaking away all iniquity. Monday in August and the road is unpeopled No community to hear his glistening reverie. What makes them go mad mummy? Is it the drugs, is it the pain? The school next door is named for a child saint. The school is disappearing in the gossamer rain.
Going Slightly Bad
I’m going slightly bad At forty-six, sourness emanates from my pores summoning the lechers. I am bloodsistren to mosquito that left a legacy ache in the ankles, restraining my gait. Legs quaking through asanas I sweat like a mare once a dressage filly. I sleep and dream diazepam heave awake after coffee retching the milk. At dusk, I swallow wine draughts, driving sulfites through my temples. By morning, I am a madder than mad receptor blocking scientist blending solvents: bicarbonate, acetaminophen. Late afternoon, leave me couched in midday sun preaching penitence-never again.
About Gilberte O’Sullivan
Gilberte is a poet and writer currently living on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. She has published work in Moko Magazine, pastsimple.org, Small Axe and other journals. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Florida International University and is an MFA candidate at The University of the West Indies. Gilberte has also workshopped her poetry and fiction with award-winning Caribbean writers Earl Lovelace, Monique Roffey and several others. Among other subjects Gilberte’s poetry aims its lens on women, aging, mothers, fathers, the natural environment and its corruption, pain of lost love, rage, sadness, and perceptions and impressions of ugliness and beauty.
Second Story Bedroom
My mother was a second child, the daughter born five years after the favored son. She spent weekends confined to a second story bedroom, punished for poor grades, instructed to dwell on why Grandmother could not love her: Not smart. Not pretty. Not talented in any way. She didn’t even have a nice smile, not with that crooked incisor on the left side beneath the gray eye which always drooped just a little. When my mother married at age 35, Grandmother was livid, certain that refugee from Lódź only lusted for a Green Card. Yet my mother’s rebellious wedding did not unchain her tight smile, always hiding that crooked incisor. She remained the disappointing daughter, brooding in a second story bedroom. And some days, I sit with her, my left eye drooping beneath Grandmother’s harsh appraisal.
How did Eve adjust after leaving Eden? Did she absorb the pain of childbirth as a reasonable price for sweet bliss suckling her breast? Or did she spend the rest of her days missing the limits of Eden where as long as she didn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge, she would not be touched by hunger of any kind?
About Jacqueline Jules
Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including The Literary Nest, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Glass, Beltway Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and Connecticut River Review. She is also the author of forty books for young readers. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com.
With Woody Allen I Was Fourteen
when I shared an elevator with Woody Allen I was fourteen and wearing a ruffled jean skirt and purple platform heels inherited from a friend with sisters, my lips smacking together with strawberry lip gloss while I carried a fuzzy purse emblazoned with a sequined pink cursive ‘J’ – my friend Alicia had a matching one with an ‘A’ – this was our fourth trip to New York City but the first where we were allowed to romp the streets without our mothers since Alicia had a cellphone and we had promised to stay in a pair and call every half hour and I remember my mom bringing a backpack, a fanny pack, and her purse while Alicia’s mom opted for an oversized tote but we the two of us didn’t have much to carry: an errant pack of gum, the cell phone, my tube of lip gloss, a pair of hoop earrings that got heavy after a few hours – but we wanted the purses and we wanted them to be oversized like our mothers’ and that makes me think now that women have so much more to carry than men and I don’t mean that in the sense that our skirts don’t have pockets but in the sense that Woody Allen sexually abused one of his adopted daughters and then married the other and that would always be sitting at the bottoms of their purses no matter how long it took them to outgrow the ruffled skirts and the pink lip gloss. I remember that he had a satchel and I guess he was shooting a movie or something and all I remember thinking was that it was a strange thing for a man to carry a bag and now today at 20 I am wondering what was in it
Eating Disorders Eat Fat Girls Alive & I’m a Fat Girl JAY BERGHUIS
eating disorders eat fat girls alive & I’m a fat girl & always have been & my best friend Brianna with the golden voice and the beak nose she hated had anorexia when I was a kid & by a kid I really do mean kid because it started when we were eleven & it grew with its gnashing teeth into twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen & over the summers the three of us (Brianna, me, the eating disorder) would chop strawberries & measure them on her mother’s food scale because self-hate is notoriously genetic & we would promise that’s all we would eat that day while the eating disorder cackled & if we exercised we would have a handful of pretzels but on the bad days meaning no exercise just a glass of water & I was jealous of the way she looked, the way her hip bones held up her jeans like tent stakes when she lay down & her stomach was a smooth flat valley between them & when her hair began falling falling out & her knees were like knots on a dying tree she was taken to the hospital to get better & I was still fat even though I’d lost fifteen pounds too & when my father caught me on the treadmill at two in the morning he said he was glad I was finally starting to take care of myself & I was encouraged not to eat & my hand was slapped away from the pasta at every barbecue & the ladies at church cooed over the weight shedding off my thirteen year old body & I weighed myself four times a day without any clothes on & kept a journal of each ounce & my best friend had an eating disorder
About Jay Berghuis
Jay Berghuis is a young adult novelist with a secret passion for poetry. When she’s not laboring through rewrites for her agent, she’s likely playing Sims 4 or trying to find a dog to pet. Though she’s just breaking into the industry, she looks forward to a publishing world full of diverse and intersectional voices.
When did it change from love to hate The loathing you feel is etched on your face Your hurtful words leave invisible scars And piercing wounds deep in my heart We stood together, our vows were made The promises that we’d take to the grave The promises you so easily shed When you found a new lover to take to our bed But you won’t leave me for this other wife To release me from this hellish life Instead you remain here by my side For all eternity I’ll be your bride And live with the loathing etched on your face But when did you change from love to hate
A Photograph Is Not a Memory
Stand there left a bit right a bit no, move forward yes there, that’s it Boom! Bright white flash illuminating making green grass greener white clouds, pure as fresh snowfall billowing puffs in a clear blue sky And you stand statuesque forcing happiness into a smile fixed on your face your shoulders slumped, arms folded Life unfolds around you unnoticed as you face the camera A heron glides over the pond lands at the edge watching ducks with their tails in the air and dragonflies dancing by their gossamer wings glistening in the glowing midday sun A single moment in time Boom! … and it’s gone as bright white flash illuminates and time moves on
Do We Bleed?
Do we bleed in crimson light lies that smother and hold us tight? With colours that surround our soul dull our sun turn earth to coal? Do we see the world anew a life that leads to brighter hues? When summer rain falls from the clouds rinsing blood from off our hands? Do we bleed then, once again with lies that hide the truth from men?
About Karen Horsley
Karen Horsley was born in Somerset and now lives in Cheshire with her husband and their two sons. Following diagnosis with breast cancer in 2014, she began writing poetry as a way of expressing her emotions and to provide a release for her fears. Karen quickly found success with her writing and her debut collection of poetry, Kaleidoscopic Beauty, was published in June 2018. Karen is a featured poet in Voice of Eve - Issue 1 and has been published in anthologies from nOthing BOOKS and Forward Poetry. She has recently been appointed resident poet in a local magazine. I am the Stars in the Sky, Karen’s second collection of poetry is scheduled for publication in November 2018. Kaleidoscopic Beauty is available on Amazon. You can find Karen at BlueSkyDays365.com or on Twitter @ HorsleyPoet.
She’s the General Idea of a Person
like those crouched figures in Pompeii you can never believe were truly alive with hearts and skin and blue veins skating underneath never truly moved by a brain that thought and dreamed and wanted so it’s puzzling you would ask her to smile for what? she isn’t real the way you are she doesn’t think and dream and want but pretty things are better to look at smile, you say, turning your own lips up a map she can follow and when she looks at you, startled, a stranger not only speaking to but commanding her and does nothing your lips turn down, your eyes narrow and you think she’s just like all the others can’t she see what I dream and want right now in this moment? so you turn away, but not before muttering bitch under your breath and never see the mix of terror and anger move in her eyes sent by a brain that thinks and dreams and wants you not to be the general idea of a person
Sometimes I Think of Hedy Lamarr
near the end, when all her angles softened, when the curves of her cheeks and lips and eyes sank I think of how she cut down to find the skeleton underneath lifting and stretching and pulling never finding the shape of the little Austrian girl she kept in pictures around her little house I think of her sitting cross-legged on the floor twenty and beautiful moving matchsticks until she thought she could save a country she wasn’t born in with spread spectrum and frequency hopping and things she knew were true but didn’t quite understand. and because I don’t understand either, I like most to think of her right in the middle thirty, with cycloned hair, drawing in a little yellow notebook the curves of the fastest bird melting into the the curves of the fastest fish solidifying as the curves of the fastest airplane a spark of genius she folded up and slipped into the pocket of howard hughes with nothing but a smile as payment I think of how all skeletons look alike I think of how bored she always seemed in pictures, trapped under her skin every head in the room swiveled towards her, as thoughts bright as fireworks roped and danced and skittered across the backs of her eyelids
One Day Both Bach and Handel Were Blinded by the Same Ophthalmologist, KATE LADEW
so it’s no stretch to believe you and I were ruined by the same man, you as a teenager, me before I was born, you ducking your head from every touch, me watching strangers, looking for those eyes you say you’ll never forget a man-shaped nightmare we both fall asleep to
About Kate LaDew
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, NC with her cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.
I am all hair. Not the charming furriness of Frida Kahlo’s ironical unibrow, the sensual sepias of her lounging, nude, dense mat of pubes and happy trail on display; no Janis Joplin flower-child locks, fuzzy and aromatic as a cannabis stem, thick as shag carpet you can sink in up to your ankle boots. I am not even the languid sophisticate, a post-war Parisienne, shocking my American boy-liberators with my sexual mores, my capacity for pastis, and my underarm stache. My head is a forest where tigers could hide. My downy upper lip is the sere grass of the veldt, aching for the thick white pour of your infusion. It has spread to my cheeks so that when you turn me to the sun, I present a sort of reverse halo. In another life, I imagine I was a bearded lady, maybe even one of the Aceves, circus performers extraordinaire; so swarthy, I had to be made a showcase. Every night, a box-office sellout, a special midnight show, midway popcorn and a dozen marriage proposals. Beneath this pelt, no one can see me blush. My spines rival the succulent bodies of Lareto. The briars of my eyebrows raise the roof on questions of femininity. The down of my arms and my prickly-pear legs would drive Mr. Eliot to distraction across the teacups, my natural merkin would make a Wookiee growl, and yes, “Venus in Furs” is my personal anthem. Lionel Sweeney’s got nothing on me. But for now, I must resign myself to the doctor writing hirsute on my chart,
and delicately inquiring if I’d considered having hormonal testing done. Every other month, my hairbrush breaks in half, bristles snagged, half-swallowed by the frizzy undergrowth of my scalp. I get exactly one use out of each Lady Bic, (one per leg, that is) and I buy an extra-strength hair catcher for my shower drain. I am reduced to parlor tricks in which I make shampoo disappear at a frankly alarming rate. I comb my tresses down over my face, don a pair of shades, and behold: my best Cousin It impression. Everything in me shrieks abundance to a world that hears only excess, and the feeling is mutual. I refuse to strip down to oozing nicks and razor burn. I refuse to be scorched earth beneath a wax-and-depilatories campaign. I am Diana, the wolves and the glade. Track me through the wilderness. Wherever I roam, you’ll find my fleece caught on brambles. I am the invasive kudzu, the crabgrass. Try to trim me and I just grow back.
High Water Lines
That spring of ‘51, one of the Wyandotte chicks took a shine to me. More than a shine. It thought I was its mama, tagging along at my heels as I went about my chores, fluttering its stubby little gray wings and cheeping for my attention. I tried to shoo it away like a biting fly. I was nine years old and had no patience for such things. Besides, I knew where my chicken and dumplings came from. If I was in the tire swing, it tried to keep up as I swayed to and fro. When I came home from school, it would be waiting at the gate. Then the rains came. It flooded from Manhattan all the way to St. Charles, from Platte County down to Neosho. By July, two million acres underwater. I remember sitting in our living room in a rowboat. I remember worrying so about that little chick. Of course, it got swept away, as most of our animals did. By fall, everything was silt and mud, splinters and carcasses. The slain fields would have to be resurrected. The barn and the chicken coop would have to be rebuilt, new calves and hatchlings brought to fill them. I would resume classes and chores,
reborn as someone who cares about tiny lives and large adoration.
Goats lock horns on the ghat, One light, one dark. I like to think they’re dueling for the fate of the world, But the truth is, they care nothing for our sacred space, The tourist boats scudding along the water. They know only the musk of their opponent, That one will come off the victor and go In search of grass.
About Lauren Scharhag
Lauren Scharhag is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry. She is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince, West Side Girl & Other Poems, and the co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. Her poems and short stories have appeared in over sixty journals and anthologies, including trampset, Whale Road Review, The Flint Hills Review, Io Literary Journal, Gambling the Aisle, and Sheila-Na-Gig. She lives on Florida’s Emerald Coast. To learn more about her work, visit: www. laurenscharhag.blogspot.com.
Getting Lost as a Child on the Feast Day of Saint Bernadette LISA ZIMMERMAN
First there was rushing sunlight, a cold, clear morning. France in April, a broad grassy plain, hundreds of pilgrims. I was too small to see through the legs of the penitents to wherever my parents and siblings had wandered. Bernadette, sickly and slow at fourteen, sits down on the ground to remove her stockings before crossing a small stream. The Virgin Mary appears to her as light and a wind behind her but nothing stirs. I could not sit down, I could not speak French, I was lost in the sea of the faithful— the priest’s Latin sing-song of devotion, the begging for miracles from the people above me. And where was my keeper? Where was my angel? The Virgin appears to that poor French girl eighteen times. Promises to make her happy “if not in this world, at least in the next.” Does not cure her asthma. Does not save her from her superiors or from tuberculosis. My parents eventually found me between the lamentations of the sick and the outer walls of the basilica. Years of holy and unholy days followed. I would find a way to go on: love under the tongue like a host.
Saint Clare and the Death of Saint Francis
I tell my sister I am too sick to get up, too sick to go to him in his final ecstasy. I am afraid I will die first. I am sad and hollow. I say no to bread, to water. God roots around inside me like hunger. Even in October sunlight falls on the late white roses in the window box; they shake if off by opening. Larks circle and sing above the roof and Francis feels the breath of God enter his mouth. The people of Assisi carry his body to us at San Damiano. I lay soft white petals on the holes in his hands and feet. The sisters and I lean from the window and drench his holy wounds
with our weeping. I know I will go on without him, in poverty and prayer, and never be consoled.
Saint Roch, Patron Saint of Dog Trainers, Invoked Against the Plague LISA ZIMMERMAN
I like cats, the precision of pounce and claw, the brazen way they hiss at the devil, the black cavern of their eyes at night. They remind me of God’s shadow side when He’s just minding His own affairs while we trudge down here alone.
But it’s a dog who follows me, house to house. His soulful eyes watch me wipe spittle from the mouths of poor plague victims. He sees my hand make the sign of the cross over their swollen, fevered bodies. He hears my mumbled prayers, deus tecum est.
He lies down at my feet when I cry. Children, thin as olive branches, die even though I pray, some to be buried with sisters and brothers, others lowered into the black earth by sobbing parents, those few granted the terrible miracle of living.
It’s only a matter of time before I’m sick too. I walk to the woods so I can perish gladly among thistle and daisies, bees droning their song of plenty in my ears. Soon after the dog finds me and every day brings a loaf of bread carried gently in his jaws.
It’s no surprise to either of us when a spring bubbles from the earth nearby. We’re thirsty. We share the crusts. I tell him the cross etched on my chest
is just a birthmark. He snaps at sparrows. I teach him to sit, to roll over, to stay.
About Lisa Zimmerman
Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Natural Bridge, Florida Review, Poet Lore, Cave Wall, and other journals and anthologies. Her most recent collections are The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press) and The Hours I Keep (Main Street Rag). Her first collection won the Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award. Her poems have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. Lisa is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Northern Colorado.
i question my masculine because i am no man but/ that’s where i keep my strength. heavy with milkfull and giving but i can’t say breasts central to me/woman inundated with weak but i created [breathed life] i am god and nothing how do i be
Ode to Reason
this poem wants to be the odyssey with sails, billowing as graceful as the nutcracker ballet, no narrative to trip over this poem is scared of length enough time to disappoint with its imperfect how long is long this poem will be medium [a scathing indictment of my millennial attention span] and unwilling to give emotions power this poem wants to “resist aboutness” but fails with glitter and fire this poem is vulcan not lingering on emotion if long poems are love poems this is an ode to reason this poem tries to explore the barley i was and the whiskey i will become, complex
hints of vanilla and smoke this poem strives to understand i am not finished distilling this poem is a shitshow fighting to keep its integrity but slicing its hands on shards of what-if this poem is an ode to reason because reason,fact irrefutable but emotion is a spilled glass of wine, staining everything it touches
 Zucker, R. (2010). An Anatomy of the Long Poem. Retrieved from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/anatomy-long-poem
About Sam B.
Sam B. is a mom of one, has two degrees (english lit and child psych), and is still a bartender because she loves talking about beer. It took her nearly four years to change her last name after getting married (on halloween). She juggles writing with the rest of living and finds inspiration difficult when nothing is wrong. ee cummings is a major influence in style; so is visual artist brice marden, but imagine his paintings as words.
There they are the cardinal pair flitting back and forth hovering a hair above the bare branches of the lilac tree to the austere overgrown brush to the right of the house. Caught in wonder the woman inside walks the high wire scrubbing the blood of 94 attempts to break through the sliding glass doors while grieving the death of an evangelist icon the same day the town hall meeting calls out the NRA. Today my father would be 94, an age beyond his years. But let us imagine him here right now cracking open the glass door just enough for the cardinals to contemplate engaging in dialogue and asking within reason why the hole in the wall is covered with a tarnished crucifix.
The Souls of Forest Ruminants
The hum of the eighteen wheeler coated my ears and coddled my nerves as it idled along the roadside littered with deer carcasses to include a fawn whose spots were Colgate white, its fur breathing on its own in the lenient breeze. What’s to become of the decay? How do we notify family members, or do we take it upon ourselves to entomb the remains, recite Whitman and pray for roadside assistance?
25 Years of History
When I pocketed the stray quarter on the street I looked ahead but not behind so you can imagine my surprise when I heard someone ask me my intention. I drifted back to the days you were fading, body shutting down, limbs limp, mouth contorted into a look of wandering wonder when I professed to you how much I would miss you and you said, “Where are you going?”
About Suzanne Nielsen
Suzanne Nielsen is a writer and teacher of writing in the twin cities of Minnesota. She shares her home with a menagerie of once homeless animals and she tries to get a word in occasionally during the dinner hour.
A ring sits on the shelf On your side of the walk-in closet All your clothes now gone We fought when we purchased the house I thought the closet was too small To hold all the things I loved You thought it was adequate Happy with what you had I kept buying more treasures To fill up my empty heart It would never be enough To fill in the cracks between us Now the closet is too large It may take my entire lifetime To replace the empty space You left in my life
About Yong Takahashi
Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers National Short Story Contest and the Writer’s Digest’s Write It Your Way Contest. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. Some of her works appear in Cactus Heart, Crab Fat Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Gemini Magazine, Meat For Tea, and Twisted Vines.
Amnesia can never invade your brain. You don’t forget the birds flown away. You invite insomnia to paint pale pictures on the yellow paths. You are a lonely house with the paintings turned into shades. You can’t call the angels back. They guard you but can’t mend a broken chair. The angels used to have hands. Look at the yellow canvas with the birds’ nests. The birds will come again. Don’t wait for your angels but keep the canvas they left.
We didn’t wake up late. We won’t skip the dawn kissing a field’s jade. Love must not be afraid of a gloomy shade. How transparent is the love’s lace? How pale is the shade’s face? I see you sitting by the fireplace. My eyes are travelling to find your glance. Gentleman! I think I am a tiny snowflake. Gentleman! You think I am a shiny lake. The dawn is kissing the geese to wake. The geese are creating their mystic tale. Your cigar is lit like your fireplace. The dawn is here to open my gate. Gentleman! How far is your land from my trace? Have you ever bet on a horse race? Gentleman! The dawn is here with love’s face. The dawn is kissing an unwritten page.
Earth! Do send your map to my head’s mist! Bind my paths to your remote streets! I will walk, talk and get some strings to knit. My knees may hurt so I will probably slip. I will fall and rise to my feet. I will talk and talk before my heavenly sleep. Ah, Earth! Do bind my paths to your remote seas! I might be unborn for my next trips. I was just born on this time’s lips. I will beg the plane to give me its wings. Ah, plane! Let me fly away from my head’s mist! Could a flying seat be the best street? Earth! I was born to read your saga’s scripts. Neither born nor unborn learns what life is.
About Anahit Arustamyan
Anahit Arustamyan is an Armenian poetess. She writes romantic and philosophical poems rich in metaphors and allegorical expressions. Her creative works are full of emotions and deep thoughts. Her poems have appeared in different poetry magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of the poetry books The Queen Of Metaphors, My Intoxicated Ink, The Phantom’s Dolphin, Words In Flight and The Canvas Of My Soul which are available on Amazon.
Thank you for reading. We hope you enjoyed this month’s collection of poetry from these talented poets. You can find more issues of Voice of Eve on our website www.voiceofeve.net. We would also love to hear from you, the reader, at our email address firstname.lastname@example.org. We recently mailed Pushcart Press our nominations for the Pushcart Prize. We would love to congratulate the following nominees we selected: Catori Sarmiento - “Mother” - Issue Five Deborah Pless - “My Psychopharmacologist” - Issue Two Melinda Wilson - “Two Days after Eden” - Issue One Jacqueline Farley - “To Call Her Woman” - Issue Three Brittany Ackerman - “Baby Blue” - Issue Two Jay Berghuis - “Eating Disorders Eat Fat Girls Alive & I’m a Fat Girl” - Issue Five Thank you again, and blessings to you! Richard Holleman Editor, Voice of Eve
Issue Five of Voice of Eve