death wish

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Death Wish
Josh Alex Baker

I ask when
is the last time you returned yourself to yourself. I
am a hypocrite to make
you answer what I cannot. Love
is a death wish between two men bold enough to believe in it. To
love you is to fade daily. To leave you
is to die sooner. When I
was a boy, I would try
to see how long I could hold my breath. With-
holding would become a weapon one day. Each
theft, my pride and possession. Every stroke
of midnight brings its own lost slipper. Full of
beg, I wait for a prince longing to give my
breath back to me. Heretic tongue,
I will never admit what he means to
me. Will say
he was simply a game I
could not pass up. Love
is a death wish between you
and the you you’re becoming. I will never admit to
him that his love feels like a tease
from God. A gift I
only deserve as prelude to punishment. Love
is a bluff  between goodbye and forever. You
give yourself to the gamble, to
the breathlessness that is a hammer
on your chest. I
will never admit what his love
is to me. Could you
blame me? Firm as ice, given over to
the power of his touch. Left to melt
into a nothingness that I
no longer recognize. Love
is a death wish, paid in blood.  Just for you

 

Photo by alexandru vicol on Unsplash 

flatline

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Flatline
Margaret Atwood

Things wear out. Also fingers.
Gnarling sets in.
Your hands crouch in their mittens.
Forget chopsticks, and buttons.

Feet have their own agendas.
They scorn your taste in shoes
and ignore your trails, your maps.

Ears are superfluous:
What are they for,
those alien pink flaps?
Skull fungus.

The body, once your accomplice,
is now your trap.
The sunrise makes you wince:
too bright, too flamingo.

After a lifetime of tangling,
of knotted snares and lacework,
of purple headspace tornados
with their heartrace and rubble,
you crave the end of mazes

and pray for a white shore,
an ocean with its horizon;
not, so much, bliss
but a flat line you steer for.

No more hiss and slosh,
no reefs, no deeps,
no throat rattle of gravel.

It sounds like this:

 

Photo by Christof Görs on Unsplash

edge, atlantic, july

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Edge, Atlantic, July
Annie Finch

I picked my way nearer along the shocking rock shelf,
hoping the spray would rise up to meet me, myself.
Seagulls roared louder and closer than anything planned;
I looked out to see and forgot I could still see the land.
Lost in a foaming green crawl, I grew smaller than me;
shrunk in a tidepool, I heaved, and I wondered. The sea
grew like monuments for me. Each wave and its coloring shadow,
bereft, wild and laden with wrack, spoke for me and had no
need of my words anymore. I was open and glad
at last, grateful like seaweed and glad, since I had
no place on the rocks but a voice, and the voice was the sea’s:
not my own. Just the sea’s.

 

Photo by Shane Stagner on Unsplash

gambler’s remorse

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Gambler’s Remorse

Derek Terrell

Whisper me a secret lyric
grind the melody with my bones
let the wind from the trumpet
scatter the ash for miles
winner’s prize in loser’s grip
empty me with tease o’ sleaze
bankrupt emotions in debt
there’s no play left
I dropped a tear in the coin slot
gambled it away on games
did you make then break the rule
we both played but you cashed out

 

Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

when i am dead

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When I Am Dead
Martha Muusses
Scatter my ashes
to every wind,
that what my body was
the way may find
to all it loved and left behind,
to cloud and sea
and with them be
entwined.

Original

Na mijn dood
Strooi uit mijn as
voor alle winden,
dat wat mijn lichaam was
de weg kan vinden
naar alles wat het eens beminde,
naar wolk en zee
en zich daarmee
verbinden.

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

pristine

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Pristine
Hilda Raz

The soaked books lip open in piles.
The shelves stoop, slough paint.
The doors, their locks sprung, hinge air
open to weather, gulp rain.
Something here enters the trees.
If we believe in ghosts, white pearl
shadows the batten and boards. Rust
runs on the shelves. The sounds on air
wail, a nail in the thumb. Stickers
underfoot poke holes.
In rafters, wings or the suggestion of wings
rend air, whoosh of rubbish, burnt rubber
hooks for skeleton elbows. Ash,
dry sift through moist fingers
in a room where everything’s mold.

 

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

mother of rock

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Mother of Rock

Tiana Nobile

The familiar clack of shoes against tile, click
of the key in the lock. Wait and rock.

Your gaze silent and grim, I long for the touch
that doesn’t come. My tongue caught

on my mouth’s cage
tart with sour milk.

In the picture from your wedding,
a white lace dress. As if held

down by the weight of fancy fabric,
your bones ache to float off the edges

of the frame. Mother of stone,
teach me the temperature

of tomb. Watch me chase my tail.
Toss me a cloth, a bottle of milk.

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash