Voice of Eve ISSUE 10 - APRIL 15, 2019
Contents Abigail Michelini 4 Alana Sawchuk 10 Alice G. Waldert 14 CeAnna Heit 18 Cynthia Sharma 28 Geralyn Pinto 34 Gisel Adame 42 Jean Ryan 48 Bex Saunders (art) 56 Jessica Tucker 62 Kassie Monsen 68
Katie Sue Funk 74 L.E. Grabowski-Cotton 82 Madison Wakamatsu 92 Marie Hanna 100 Nancy Takacs 106 Nikki Byrnside 114 Rachel Essaff Maher 120 Roz Weaver 126
These Are the Signs God Sends Us
They want me to write poems about how it means something that we found a demented Andy doll in the driveway, one that had been laying there for months, its head bashed in. Or the Toy Story 2 ornament dug up from the garden, so long buried we couldn’t tell at first what it was. That’s how I picture him, some combination of atrocities embodied. My friend who died, who had a better chance of winning the lottery seventy-five times, these are the signs god sends us: decapitated trinkets, caked in dirt.
Becoming a Mother
The first I saw you part limb from tree mouth filled with splinters eyes all mystery You wore flesh red the color of my mother inside and I lost your ribs leaked Y chromosomes became woman again became born alone it was all cliche and I thought I’d feel worthy whole, patient, and kind not viscerally less yours not dance because I’m my own
Does cancer keep eating a body after it stops beating? Because you’re here, still. Not floating in myth; not gone to places unseeable. When I talk about your body I can point to it, the one you carried outside crying, saying soon time would collapse its mouth, and close in on the dark unspeakable.
About Abigail Michelini
Abigail Michelini lives with her husband and son in southern California, where her greatest joys include teaching and writing poetry. Her work can be found in The Best Emerging Poets Series, Topic Journal, and The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, among other publications.
Hot Tea for the Tillerman (2018)
What is so #important about Fathers & Sons? A question goes unasked: “But what if I had been your son?” “What if we had been your sons?” And there’s an ancient, acoustic riff— strains of a familiar melody, a patriarchal soundtrack for two men I will never be, but who have lived infamously. Whose stories I will hear, again again again. Another question: “Have you ever heard that song?” “About Mothers & Daughters?” An answer: They will always value your song more than they will ever value me.
About Alana Sawchuk
Alana Sawchuk is the unbearably anxious product of higher education and regrettable traumatic circumstances. She is a writer and misc. content creator currently residing in the Hudson Valley with her husband and their resplendent feline.
ALICE G. W
ALICE G. WALDERT
You can stroke every part of me and still not know who I am. You can tell me all the things you’ve done and I won’t tell you, I know they’re lies. You can take me out for a dinner and pour me a glass of wine. And I will let you think you’re showing me a ‘real’ good time. But it will not change the distance between who you are and who I am inside.
About Alice G. Waldert
Alice G. Waldert has a Master of Arts degree and worked for many years as a humanitarian aid worker for the United Nations. While working for the UN she conducted gender studies focusing on women in post-crisis environments. She has had poetry published by the Manhattanville College’s River River Circle and will have two poems featured in the on-line literary arts magazine The Write Place the Write Time. She is currently writing a memoir about life with PTSD affected parents.
I Apologize for Jupiter
I was so young I thought the stars were close to Earth. That night when I lake, Jupiter was a great bloody orb, a satellite, ready to implode, so close about to land.
I walked down the hallway of the hospital, realizing no one is going to dia around the sun. I’m alone.
I read The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. I knew the deaf-mute would kill himse to be an island.
I used to be like Mick, made of music—Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, Rachma Belle and Sebastian was my bible. I could run away with anyone to that so hands down the piano till I smelled blood.
When I went to music school, I imagined I was comforting someone when Consolation No. 3, and my piano teacher said I had a natural sense of it. I counting right, the dissonance that fit like Jenga pieces. All I could play w down sonatas.
I’m sorry for wanting you to diagnose my fingers, to tell me what they sa planets, and flowers that wanted to shoot out of them. I should have look instead. Not closed the door on you when you tried to come in. I should h driveway when you crashed your bike. I should have pulled you up when the black water covered your face. It was your pain engorging Jupiter that late.
I woke up to a black e it eclipsed the sky as if
agnose me. Jupiter turns
elf. I know what it is
aninoff. For a week, ong. I could run my
n I played Liszt I could never get the were sonatinas, shrunk
aid. All of the birds, ked at your fingers have carried you up the you fell in the lake, and t day. I was already too
I wander the lawn at night like an insane asylum escapee. Under my feet slithers a gas line. Mom whispers it could ignite. I wish she could stop wearing winter coats inside. Mom and Dad don’t even sleep in the same bed. I wish that gas line would spark— flame would draw her away from him. Mom pulls herself up from the basement where dusty sofas, chairs, armoires used to be. She says, “You won’t have to clean it out when I die,” streaking the dust from palms on her jeans.
My Grandma was rototilling the garden. She collapsed into fragrant dirt. Her blood was poison. They gave her three months. She fought three years: chemotherapy, brain tumor, bone marrow transpl went straight to her heart. I used to play piano and pretend if I could play one song right, she would live. They draped a red blanket over her corpse when Mom went to visit. Mom threw out everything red: rooster decorations, rugs, curtains, Christmas ornaments.
Mom and Dad put a pool on the lawn in summer that no one ever swims in because Mom is always running the net throug
lant, a tiny tube that
or pouring in chlorine to get rid of green algae blooms. Mom goes to the blackberry brambles and pricks her hands. I tell her to stop— I want her to wash that juicy blood off. Some things take time to be made clean— she insists, “I’m fighting the blackberries, can’t you see?”
If You Ask Me
Tonight my eyes will disappear into black branches, body will fade into steel-white snow. I’ll be a willow ptarmigan, be whatever you ask for. Would you like if I dotted my arms with speckles like lichen infested branches, if my skin wasn’t so bare, if I became a mossy leaf-tailed gecko? I might lose you in the woods forever, crawl in a tree’s cavity, merge with mottled bark, need to be an eastern screech owl. I used to be a long-nosed horned frog, skin tough and rigid like armor, a leafy soldier, invisible sentry. Now I am a pygmy seahorse ensconced in a coral tree, or a common baron caterpillar stroking the veins of a leaf, mottled like shade, waiting to emerge, be something with wings.
About CeAnna Heit
CeAnna Heit is a senior undergraduate student at Central Washington University (CWU) majoring in Professional and Creative Writing. She has been an editor of the CWU student literary journal, Manastash, as well as a copy-editor of the student-run newspaper, The Observer.
Remember when you baked cookies and I did the history outline because; and we used to laugh and cry we talked about the dumb boys the time you did my makeup and you were my north and south for my mom when she wasn’t there and my dad when he was angry my sister and best friend when what’s at stake for silent strength when you needed me, I was am vain, invincible, out of my mind and when on your wedding day I cried for you and for me.
Methodical starvation; you ask what it’s like, to be carried away by servings of speed, wine, sex because it’s her religion—to carry more weight but stop. Arm tunnels down the throat to grab the bile—gags, it swells and tears her religion apart—but there’s cuts and fine hair stripped away and is ripped away when thighs spread, what’s that bruise around the eyes, the dark circles, a scarlet floor and stop. The wrinkles and aches and break, snapped bones when the nose is fixed, tucked and sticky— it suffers.
About Cynthia Sharma
Cynthia Sharma is an undergrad in English and Pre-Med at Utah Valley University. She is an eco-friendly, crystal-brandishing millennial who goes on binge watches of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit on Netflix.
How Brightly She Burns
What have you brought us? Has it come in print Through the post, An internet website or match-maker’s column? A young woman with real teeth And breasts; no prosthetics, no implants Is it convent educated? English speaking? Fair or dark? Tall, average, short? Can it sew? Can it cook? Scrub, sweep and sweat? Yes, she is and she can, she has hands at the end of each arm, and a pair of feet. Will it worship our idols? Be the Kitchen God’s wife? Pay obeisance to elders? Direct eyes to the floor, lay forehead on feet? Yes she will, without complaint See how sweetly she breathes in and out. Does it glitter behind its veil? How many grams of gold Does it hold in its hands? Take off its veil! Take off! Take off! Yes she does. And she will bear Children and sorrow in equal measure
Marry it, son, its household gadgets and three-bed-room flat Its father’s in debt upto the eyes But you are unique and it must pay, pay, pay ** Its hands are empty now As empty as its head It is naked, stark-naked-brown Where is its trousseau? She has none left: no gold rings or pride She eats air and memory
Come out of the bedroom And into the kitchen It’s alive - by accident But here is the kerosene; there is a match. She will obey. She’s a walkie-talkie doll She will come out of the closet. Come here. Here. Ah, watch it now! How it goes up with a shriek! Flames licking its thickness How brightly it…she...burns….!
Dissolving Emily (Emily Bronte -> Ellis Bell) GERALYN PINTO
I am pale dissolve of mist, vacating my shoes, my coat, my hat. A swell of nothing fills my skirt. Wide, my mind; held the moors, made wretched rags out of winter trees and shook them with my breath. My fingers planted Greek passions in the raw and wind of the heath, spliced shadow and light of Heights and Grange. I drew Cathy’s soul, scoured it deep and bleeding against bramble. In my Eden, love tasted of the tomb, of bone and soil and thick, grey rock. Then Ellis signed the title page. E.B.: ruddy, muscular, and Emily hobbled away, empty-headed. And I am pale dissolve of mist, vacating my shoes, my coat, my hat. Colourless, odourless, continuous as air.
Believers Say the Narmada’s as Pure
as the souls of the eremites who sit atop its marble rocks, cut slow by penance from cyclical births and deaths Yet those who have burned upon its banks know that the river’s a grey sliding past stone, sludge and ooze of ash on its way to the sea The riverside pyres are piles of wood, and little girls cut quick from the sparkle of daylight for nothing but being born the females of the species, and huddle now in dark lapses between one birth and the next Their spirits rise crepuscular, their howls are frail against the cold, flat ear of medievalism, their history lost in an ocean of promises and the mappings of sonography
About Geralyn Pinto
Dr Geralyn Pinto lives in Mangalore, India, where she serves as Chairperson and Head of the PG Department of English at St Agnes College, a premier institution of higher studies for women. She is a short story writer and poet who has been published and won prizes nationally and internationally. Her poetry often centres on women’s issues and scientific themes. She won the First Prize for her short story, “Here they are, saar – my breasts”, a narrative of one woman’s rebellion against injustice in eighteenth-century Kerala, in the 2016 Save as Writers, Canterbury, International Short Story Contest. Two of her poems on medical themes were recently featured in American journals of poetry and medicine. She is particularly concerned about the girl child who is often victim of female infanticide and the young woman who, despite political legislation, is harassed for dowry. Statistics indicated that there was a time in India when every two hours a bride was burnt alive by her in-laws.
What If Men Had a Curfew?
I would wear the shorts and a blue tank top, that showed my bare skin. I would run at night, breathing in the stars with every stride. I would say see you later, to my family and watch as no heads turned to ask where. I would lift the weight of fear off my back, so I didn’t have trouble walking forward. I would open the window at night, to feel the breeze roll through my curtains. I wouldn’t double check the time past nine, and I would walk to the store without thinking. But I don’t get to So again I will walk out of my home, with two jackets of security instead of one. Again I will walk out before dusk claims the day Again I will tell my family goodbye, and give them the blueprints of my day. Again I will clench the keys between my fingers until it imprints the shapes. Again I will use my two eyes to look forward
and create two eyes to look back. Again I will check the windows and doors five times at nightfall, just so I can get through tomorrow when I do it all over again.
About Gisel Adame
“I am 21 years old and this my first poetry submission. I am doing this for a poetry writing class and I am very excited to get back into poetry. I’ve only written a few things from previous but I am opening up new doors to writing.”
I used to look up at snow coming down, as if for an explanation, an origin, but there were no answers, just a gray cotton blanket and those wheeling white stars, each six-pointed crystal imponderably perfect. Fields of snow, glinting on a cold clear morning, mounded here and there over ordinary things, turning them into secrets. Snow so clean and deep and pure that just gazing at it returned your innocence. Snow that hardened in the night, waiting for a boot to break through. Ice that splintered under your skates, puddles you could crack and bend. Snow on a roof, sliding off in a sudden whump, or melting slowly, one drop finding another, and another, falling and freezing and falling again, turning to daggers that glistened in the sun, before plunging themselves in the drifts below.
Snow as far as you could see, claiming all, clinging even to the first daffodils before shrinking at last to crusted heaps hunkered on the dark side of buildings till a warm spring morning found every last one.
Four times now I have driven past a shrinking heap of long black feathers: unmistakably vulture, apparently untouched. These birds do not readily eat their own, preferring the sweet meat of herbivores, though, on lean days, they’ll consume almost anything giving off the gas of death, which they can smell from their circles in the sky. Not keen on killing, they will wait out their dinner, keeping a dark eye on the faltering. Fresh bodies are best, but rotting corpses are welcome too, a lucky break for the rest of us— imagine a landscape with no clean-up crews. The bird on the road must have died quickly, misjudging perhaps the speed of a semi. I once saw a hawk make that mistake, a sight that left me shaken, afraid for all of us. Keeping her hidden tally, nature allows for senseless things,
even a bit of waste now and then, like a bird no others will eat, as if lines must be drawn somewhere.
About Jean Ryan
Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Lillian, Alabama. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. Nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize, she has also published a novel, Lost Sister. Her debut collection of short stories, Survival Skills, was published by Ashland Creek Press and short-listed for a Lambda Literary Award. Lovers and Loners, her second story collection, was published in 2017. Her collection of nature essays, Strange Company, is available in digital form, paperback, and audio.
ART - BEX
ART - BEX
About Bex Saunders
Bex Saunders is a 23 year old law student from the South of England. She specialises in self portrait photography. She wants others to feel her pain. And her strength. The visionary depth that stems from an abyss that few have the courage to explore.
Bright New World
The water patters as it hits the ground. I stomp in the cool puddles left behind, taking in deep breaths of fresh clean air, crowned by tones of damp earth. The cold that’s entwined with the rain, soaks through my clothes, drop by drop. Everywhere I look the earth has come alive. The grass is vibrant green, the flowers pop in gorgeous yellows, stark white daisies thrive against the dark blue sky. And then the rain slows to a trickle, clings to petals, clings to my skin, the only drops that remain. In a far-off tree, softly a dove sings. I splash in puddles, a song for me unfurled, listening as I dance in this bright new world.
Almost 12,000 feet in the sky, the air is cooler, crisp, purer, laced with pine. The wilderness is swathed in greens and blues, littered with sheets of pink-gray rocks that shatter as I walk. There are little red bells hanging on stems of unruly bushes, while yellow soaks through the leaves of aspens. Pines cling together, brothers and sisters, waiting for winter. Up here, the world is silent and still. I lift my head and the mountain sighs air into my fragile lungs and I can breathe again.
About Jessica Tucker
Jessica Tucker has been reading and writing ever since she can remember. Currently, she is studying at Utah Valley University where she is majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Russian Studies. She finds inspiration for her poems from nature and inspiration for her stories from fairy tales. You can find her first published work, Hero, on Amazon.
Pen & Paper
I want to write, But I’ve hit a wall. A wall much taller And much longer Than even the Great Wall. It looms far above my head And tries to tell me no. My ideas are worthless, My stories incomplete. I’ll never become published Because I’m not that great. I take a pen and paper to tell the wall It’s wrong and softly squiggle letters, And hope that they make words. The lines begin to form, the words Made more complete. I look back at the wall and it seems smaller, more approachable. It still rises far above My head, but I can see the top. I gather up my paper, pen, and thoughts. I wander around the corner. There, a staircase, rising to the top. With every word I pen, The higher and higher I climb. Soon I’m floating in the air Surrounded by my words. The wall extends below me
And I see others climbing, too. As I look around, I slowly falter. I quickly strike the pen to paper And rise a little farther. The wall that seemed colossal Now, shrinks beneath my feet As I grasp pen and paper And write a few more lines. I want to write, And I’ve vanquished my wall. But what comes next? Another wall? Perhaps a block, but With pen and paper I will aspire.
About Kassie Monsen
Kassie Monsen lives in Utah. She is an Undergraduate student at Utah Valley University, currently studying Creative Writing. She loves to read and write.
I Want to Help Her Commit Infidelity
KATIE SUE FUNK
I know I don’t have an eight inch dick But I would not push her against the wall Because I am frustrated over the fact I Have to work two jobs to provide for her. I would not remind her of every mistake She ever made in our relationship because She wanted to talk to her male friends. I would not force her to give up her dog, Because she keeps me up all Night when I have to wake up at 6 in The morning. I would not punch Out a window and make her cover up my Anger with duct tape because it’s not her fault I Am angry with myself. I would never take her away from her Friends, her family, her home because I got tired of California. I would never shame her for not being Able to get pregnant. She doesn’t even Want to become pregnant. She would rather Adopt. Instead, I would take her to every sushi restaurant I could find, even on a budget. I would hold her every night when
She is homesick. I would have passionate sex with her As often she wanted. Because I know I’m better for her.
But You Only Want Him for Sex
KATIE SUE FUNK
At first, I only wanted him for sex But he offers me more than lame sex First he has this intelligence that I do not Possess about philosophy, life, and, oh, safe sex He knows how to play some of the most beautiful Songs on his guitar, but now I just want to have sex. He took me to a bookstore exploring the history Books while I look up poetry about sex. He sure can make me smile Goddamn, I need to have sex. In a way, I want him as my boyfriend But quite frankly, Katie, you just want him for sex.
It Was Your Goddamn Face
KATIE SUE FUNK
It was your goddamn face That I hate the most You are such a disgrace. Maybe if I could get rid of any trace Of you, life would be better But it was your goddamn face If I could totally erase You from existence I would Because you are such a disgrace. Normally, I would fall head over heels, but in this case You are a fucking weirdo and a creep. I can’t stand to look at your face. It just amazes Me that you can’t take a fucking hint. You are such a disgrace. Out of everyone in the human race You would be the last person I date Because it was more than your face That is such a disgrace.
About Katie Sue Funk
Katie Sue Funk is an author and an intersectional feminist who loves to read poetry written by women. She has been published twice by Literary Alchemy. She currently lives in Glendora with her chihuahua, Russell.
Do not feel sorry for them When they hem and they haw Moaning and groaning Beasts that have grown too big For the oven of evolution.
And that is And on An Women with And ru
Do not feel sorry for them When they simper and they sigh Tossing and turning Beasts that have grown too tall For the oven of evolution.
And that is probab A
Women wit Men who make milli
It is a fact: Men are stronger. Few women are as strong as men s probably only after a full night sleep nly when they have eaten a lot of beef nd white bread and pasta with cheese gym memberships and other luxuries unning shoes that can talk in Chinese. Not you.
It is a fact: Men are taller. Few women are as tall as men bly only when they stand on their toes And only when they wear thick clothes And stretch for two hours straight th modeling jobs who exclusively date ions, like Bob Woodward or Bill Gates. Not you.
Do not feel sorry for them. When they pant and they pace Sweating and fretting Beasts that have grown too hairy For the oven of evolution.
And that is prob And only after they Who have learned
Do not feel sorry for them When they wheeze and they sneeze Puffing and huffing Beasts that have grown too bloated For the oven of evolution.
And that is probab And only on Women wh Inste
Instead, remember they asked for this. They wanted this change, this unexpected twist After all, they are much better equipped To put their bodies in such risk.
It is a fact: Men are harrier Few women are as hairy bably only women who donâ€™t shave have spent a few months in a cave Women who have time to spare how not to worry, how not to care. Not you.
It is a fact: Men breathe deeper Few women are as relaxed bly only women who run every day sandy-white beaches near the bay ho know how to take a deep breath ead of thinking about bills or death Not you.
Besides, for some men, giving labor can be bliss.
About L.E. Grabowski-Cotton
L.E. Grabowski-Cotton is a freelance writer and a professional writing coach. She holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting and Screenwriting from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts, an M.A. in English Literature, and a B.A. in Communication from George Mason University. She has taught at the University of Memphis, Crichton College, and the New Bilingual Institute of George Mason University. Her written work includes stories, novels, poetry, articles, plays, and screenplays. Each of L.E. Grabowski-Cotton’s five full-length screenplays have won multiple awards, placing in the top 10% of The Nicholl Fellowship and receiving recognition from The Art Within Labs Fellowship, The Austin Film Festival, The California Film Awards, TheWriteRoom Screenplay Contest, The Back In the Box Screenplay Contest, Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition, Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s AAA Screenplay Contest, The Table Read My Screenplay Sundance Contest, The WriteMovies International Screenwriting Contest, The Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood, The American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest, The Downbeach Film Festival of Atlantic City, The Writer’s Place Screenplay Contest, The Astoria/LIC International Film Festival, The Creative World Awards, Blazing Quill Screenwriting Contest, The 20/20 Screenwriting Contest, The CineStory Screenwriting Awards, The StoryPros International Screenplay Contest, The Virginia Film Office Governor’s Screenwriting Competition, The Writer’s Initiative Screenwriting Contest, The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, The Beaufort International Film Festival, The Love Unlimited Film Festival, The Scripttoid Writer’s Challenge, and more. L.E.’s monologues and plays have been published in Young Women’s Monologues from Contemporary Plays and The Best Ten Minute Play series. Two of her ten-minute plays were produced in New York in February, 2014. Miss America was produced by the Piney Fork Play Festival and The Great Escape was produced by Theatre Three. In 2013, her one-act play, Riding the Waves,
was performed in a benefit for MemoryCare, an Alzheimer’s association. The play was published in 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.Com. The web address is http://www.amazon.com/ The-MemoryCare-Plays-Margaret-Noel/dp/061595118X. Her ten-minute play, Beautiful, was performed in The 2013 Swan Day, Northeast Ohio. Her ten-minute play, Once in a Blue Moon, was performed in The 2013 NFA’s New Work Festival in Newburgh, New York. In 2011, her one-act play, Recalculating, won first place in The Trinity Arts Playwriting Competition. The play was also performed in the 2011 Lourdes University Festival of One-Acts, Sylvania Ohio. The ten-minute version of the play was performed by the LakeShore Player’s Theatre in their 2011 Play Festival, White Bear Lake, MN. L.E.’s ten minute play, Something Called Truth, was performed as part of the 2007 Provincetown Spring Playwrights Festival. Her one man show, Houdini: The Final Escape, was selected to be a part of the 2007 15th Annual Last Frontier Theater Conference. In addition, her children’s play, The Heart of Art, was a semi-finalist in the 2007 Jackie White Children’s Play Writing Contest, the most prestigious children’s play contest in the country. The Perfect Proposal, published in 2007, was an official selection of the several play festivals including the 2010 Bradley University New Faces Festival, the 2010 Rio Hondo Ten Minute Play Festival, the 2010 Point Loma Nazarene University Ten Minute Play Festival, the 2010 Enter Stage Left Ten Minute Play Festival in Hopkinton Massachusetts, the 2010 Shark Theatre’s Spring Ten Minute Play Festival, and the 2010 Speech Contest in the Union Community School District in La Porte City, Iowa. L.E’s columns and reviews have appeared in Memphis Health and Fitness, Memphis Parent Magazine, and NorthEastBookReviews.org. Her short story, The Mourning Dove, won first place in Literal Latte’s K. Margaret Grossman Fiction Awards and was a finalist for the Salem Center for Women Reynold’s Price Fiction Awards. She currently teaches Creative Writing and Literature classes at several private academies and mentors writers online via her website, LauraWriter.Com.
I strode under the dim light of the dying lampposts. The House crouched Mayberry Lane was visible only by its silhouette outlined by the sliver of m holes for windows stared greedily and a wooden stomach groaned with hu I saw its teeth.
For all my life, the House was there. It watched me play in my yard down my flesh even all those years ago. Its presence only grew worse.
The House wanted—needed, not wanted, but it needed, let it eat, let it ea morsels. Not scared ones, though; fear made the meat stringy, the blood s
I strode under the dim light of the dying lampposts, by the rickety old fen me to them, begging me to join them and play. Nothing will happen this tim the others that caused the ruckus last time, they claimed. I glared at the House. The House glared at me. Not today. I passed on by. The House screamed, cursing, hissing, roaring after me. I heeded it not.
on the edge of moonlight. Gaping unger as I passed.
n the lane, longing for
at, now, now, nowâ€”little sour.
nce. The shadows called me, they said. It was
I wipe the barrel for at least the sixth time tonight having nothing else to do but tend to the gunmetal. The beautiful metal is dirty, old, and ready for a shining but I have no polish, only filthy powder on the gunmetal. Revolvers went out of style years ago, decades ago, but still, I keep mine. Nostalgia. I rub the smooth edge of the gunmetal. Dad taught me to shoot as soon as I had strength to walk. Said it’d be good for a boy. Mom didn’t like it. Now, my company is the gunmetal.
This ancient house is the only thing that remains of them other than thei old, crippled bones in the yard. They were weak, not like the gunmetal. Dad died from sickness some twenty odd years ago. Mom couldn’t handle it. That’s how I ended up with my friend, the gunmetal. But those days were long and gone and as dead as they are, from times before my heart became the gunmetal. The voices, they whisper in my head, pull at my mind, and tell me to let go, so I listen to it, to the gunmetal. Now, laying filthy on the floor, all I cleaned ruined by powder and scarlet droplets, is the gunmetal.
About Madison Wakamatsu
Madison Wakamatsu is a freshman undergraduate at Utah Valley University, majoring in English. She has been published by the student-run magazine of Warp and Weave, and she is looking forward to learning more about the process of writing and publishing.
We Laugh So Hard
I always laugh in the wrong places, But she laughs too. Today we laugh at the midnight picnic– Her and her week old stray cat. At the sausages Meant for the kids school lunch (Two days and more from best before) And her latest sale Of kitchen furniture on EBay (Last week it was the bedroom). Sitting on her cold tiled floor Shredding past due bills and envelopes We laugh, We laugh so hard, We forget how much it hurts.
Keystrokes and Brown Doors
Keystrokes depicting foreign holidays Yearly weight loss Parties, engagements New found friends. A monthly timeline appropriate For a social column in The New York Times. All of it staring back at her Behind the brown door of her rented flat, The one she can barely keep up with As she struggles to find a job In the bottom of the bucket: Recession-Stuck-Here-Love. A comment reaches one of her pictures The selfie of her in her skinny jeans Luv-it It says, (It being the commentator) At the end of another set of keystrokes Behind another brown door.
About Marie Hanna
Living as a new aged hermit, almost adrift from the world, Marie Hanna refuses to allow the restrictions of illness impact upon her voice and so over 70 of her poems have reached the outer world. Her solo collection Observant Observings was published by Tayen Lane Publishing in 2014 and her short stories and news articles have also penned their way beyond her home where her column “Musings from her Couch” can be read in the magazine Athenry News and Views. For more see mariehcurran.com.
Dreaming of the Men
The past three nights I’ve dreamed of the men in my family, all gone now, their rough hands, and tobacco smoke, their starched shirts, and work clothes scented with grease. My fisherman father is gathering big red tomatoes although he never gardened. My quiet uncle reads nursery rhymes at a green table, turns over Tarot cards for my father. My strict Hungarian grandfather plays pinochle with neighborhood men in our alley, serving each one a dainty glass of Port. My other grandfather is weaving more baskets from reeds he has collected by his creek. My hard-working brother zips around in his VW bug waving to me, at our old city park. Now at dusk, I think of them as they were for real, sitting down to eat my aunt’s Christmas dinner, joking with her about her marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, scrubbing every empty pan
after they left the table.
It was a strange birth, that black and gold History of the World from my aunt’s librarian friend Rose. I studied my ancestors - Magyars on horses riding with enemies’ heads impaled on poles. And read the modern Magyars, my cousins, lived behind an iron curtain. All of it worded so clearly, and in such brilliant color. ~ Aunt Mary wanted us to see the birthplace of my grandparents Kati and Gyorgi. The train was hot from Austria to Budapest; and when we entered communist Hungary, guards harangued us, rifling our bags. Days later, a town clerk was angry Mary forgot to check us in at city hall. She was afraid she’d be arrested for giving dollars to cousins who might sell them on the black market.
I became part of the show near my grandfather’s village.
Hungarian cowboy trick riders in long white skirts, red vests, lifted me on a horse to ride the arena on the plains, holding on to a boy named Laszlo. Norbert, a cousin, in his thatch-roof kitchen sang They Paved Paradise, for me in almost perfect English, before his brother Attila led me by a lantern to a dirt-floor tavern, slipped forints in my palm, ordering me strong brandy, which I didn’t really want, urging me to drink it up. Village men toasted me at the plank they used for a bar. St. Stephen’s Day, gypsies came to the door with violins and played at our table while Great-Aunt Anna gave Mary the delicacy of a small whole bird in nettle soup. No one shared much what went on in politics affecting their lives, afraid, my aunt said, of what the government might do if they did. We worried about them, these cousins, aunts and uncles, we had just begun to know. Listening to czardas piano, the Liszt my cousin Perushka danced to one night in a café, we watched her and clapped, her torso in a graceful rant.
About Nancy Takacs
Nancy Takacs’s The Worrier poems received the Juniper Prize for Poetry and was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 2017. It was the recent winner of the 15 Bytes Poetry Award, and was also a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Previous books of poetry include Preserves; and Blue Patina -- winner of the 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry;and four chapbooks. A former wilderness instructor, she lives in Utah and Wisconsin, where she hikes, swims, gardens, and teaches workshops to poetry lovers with early Alzheimer’s.
Leather is a scent caressed by sandalwood, kissed by jasmine, anointed with sweat. Leather is a sound, a moaning, a movement, hands that draw closer to stroke the beast about your shoulders, your second skin. A touch is never enough, that tough rawhide softened to a pliable barrier. Rugged obsession that cradles you, rides you like a saddle, begs to be handled roughly. Leather conceals, shields arms and fingers. Leather tight around the waist, thigh high, zipped, laced-up, bound; teeth bite down leather won’t cry out. Lick of the tassels
lash down quickly with a familiar burn, like a shot of whiskey, fringe of the whip that stitches a sharp euphoria. Then maybe a touch might be enough, when guided by your hands, leather yields to your arms and whispers as you walk away.
I pieced you together from the best bones, carved the sweetest flesh from the finest men. I stitched, sutured, stole fire from a frenzied sky; a lightning bolt burned through us both, sparked heart—breath. You breathed poetry without reading a word, proved the greatest intellect without reflection, demonstrated sincerity with white lies and subtle deception. You were my sublime creation, my beautiful monster, but you ran away, turned your back on me, and nothing could prepare me for your dismantling; beauty is often misunderstood. When all the carefully placed pieces become unhinged, rip at the seams, you will return to me with a thousand burning torches behind you, and when the windmill turns, I will escape the flames.
About Nikki Byrnside
Nikki Byrnside lives and works in Urbana, IL. Nikki enjoys a dry red wine, dark poetry, and foreign accents. Her mother says that she should write happier poetry, and spends too much time dwelling on things dark and unwholesome. Her friends in her poetry group say that she is rough around the edges, but that her poetry has “good bones.” Nikki’s husband consistently interrogates her about the source of her inspiration, sure that her imagination visits places that it should not. Nikki’s coworkers say that she is crazy, but that she makes an excellent pot of coffee. Nikki’s work can be found in Rat’s Ass Review, Red Fez, and the now defunct Goliath Magazine.
RACHEL ESSAFF MAHER
What is this white button-down shirt with a tie powerful attraction lingering years in the making without explanation, smile with the dimple flung up high, the kind that makes you want to grab him by the shoulders and scream— I can almost feel the heat of the iron pressing out the fabric, smooth smooth like the voice I wish he would use with me, stretched tight now across wide shoulders— O! O! I long to touch him anywhere, everywhere from buttons to collar to cuff, run my fingers down the satin promise pointed to by the tip of his tie, O! but now— now maintain decorum! Good wives don’t think like this.
RACHEL ESSAFF MAHER
I don’t know how to touch him, planning to, then reaching out on tiptoe, hand extended but then withdrawing never knowing if my touch is wanted, needed— craved. His hand is light on my skin, just at the elbow, casual as he reduces me, (unknowingly?) to a grade-school mentality, igniting electric arcs spreading a heat I cannot touch. Our seduction is in the way his mouth turns up, the way he says nothing at all— only smiles the way a child smiles just before he stumbles over the ball he has chased out into the street.
About Rachel Essaff Maher
Rachel Essaff Maher lives in Southern Vermont, where she writes poetry, fiction, and personal essays. Her work has previously appeared in The Pitkin Review, Sediments Literary Journal, the West Texas Literary Review, Spires, and other literary publications. She also contributes the occasional personal essay to the local shopping guide, the Vermont Money Saver.
It’s a swimming costume in the bath kind of day. It’s a child pressing for privacy. It’s the creeping fingers crawling under your skin in silent scorn. It’s reading between the lines between the lines between the lines. It’s force that’s full body but weak like cheap shampoo. It’s tears mixing with a torrential shower drowning your screams for what feels like fifty thousand hours. It’s the trembling no amount of layers can cure. It’s terror without even needing to open the door.
Long for the calm and the storm will arrive in her place as a reminder to brace for the inevitable impact of a life made for neither the ordinary nor for the faint-hearted but marking the journey from where the light first switched on and to live meant leaving in exchange for the pounding rhythm of freedom and nowhere did the universe promise this would be easy but we’d all die of thirst without a little rain.
It’s called a safe for it holds something not meant for you to take but to a cracksman’s fingers it’s just another code to break as the handprints linger in every crack about the place did you know the DNA from one dead skin cell contains the genetic make up of the face that smirked as it ripped out and replaced all that was inside with fakes becoming just a case burdened with waste as the safe still looks like a safe but isn’t safe in the most fundamental ways. (I don’t know how much bodies go for these days but I doubt your exchange rate was worth more than the price I paid.)
About Roz Weaver
“I am a poet and spoken word performer from the North of England. I have been published in Catalogue of Failure, Dear Damsels, Whisper and the Roar, Morality Park, Yellow Arrow Journal, Persephone’s Daughters, as well as the poetry anthologies Persona Non Grata, Further Within Darkness and Light, and Essential Existentialism - The Meaning of Life. This year, my work has been displayed at the annual Rape Crisis UK Conference and as part of ‘Testimony’, a London multimedia exhibition held at the international NoVo Foundation Conference, as well as having my work displayed and performed at the ‘The Sunlight Project’ exhibition in London.”
Thank you for reading. We hope you enjoyed this collection of poetry from these talented poets. You can find more issues of Voice of Eve on our website www.voiceofeve.net or on Issuu. We would also love to hear from you, the reader, at our email address email@example.com. Thank you again, and blessings to you from our staff. Richard Holleman Editor, Voice of Eve Staff Sarah Rodriguez, Editor
10th issue of Voice of Eve magazine. Women's poetry.