stories showcasing the power of female friendship

Poems

 

Body Timeline

By Katie Rank
 

I
DIANE

He comes up to her at the bar It’s you I’ve been waiting for your pearls

and tight curls and muted beiges my mother barely speaks. English, she

puts a raisin in the loaf just to trick me I order a tonic with gin we laugh

so the story goes I put you in your car I’m going to marry you I say you

laugh we laugh. When. Then, you leave college and have a child at 20 and

beiges turn to embarrassed reds my mother only speaks to you. Polish, you

smile and nod because this is what you do oh you sweet woman you come

with me to the shoe store downtown and we buy the hideous clogs that

you will keep in the closet untouched. Cream tonic beige white cream tonic.

At the boat dock the time runs out the table is ready you cover yourself with

red wine your cream trousers blood dipped. It’s you I’ve been waiting for.

 

II
SLOAN

You’ll need more rice than that, the old woman scoffed.

—Anita Johnston

I track my gas at 25 dollars a visit, playing

stop the pump at a perfect 5x5, something I can

measure, petrol in clumps of fours, twos, months

 

since I’ve felt your expansion, licking sticky rice

from the pots in the kitchen till we swear off sushi

only to go back to it on our next night off. Tough

 

kisses under Maine moon, I forget what this kind

of love feels like, licking each other’s fingers of

our own permanence, each month a countdown

 

to this summer. This sweaty July. Running from

the barn, forgetting that you are allergic to horses

that tomorrow we begin the months again, passing

 

time with sandwich bread and baking over cups of

lukewarm water. On the carpet, giant fan hums until

evening falls and we drive off, our secret of fullness

 

III
KRISTA

I wanted to kiss you so I got in the car and kissed you.

For cold intemperament make a salve of pounded

celery and apply to breasts. Your narrow jaw bone.

Skeleton arms. Still toned, even after halftime

death. I have a boyfriend now, you say. You say my

name too—Cancer may appear after a warm natured

swelling. I want you because you’re 40 but could easily

pass for 20. That look you get when you walk across

the room and your little body moves fast and your feet

pound into the floor. I wake up to realize our love?

Sleep, bodies, car. I smell your perfume. Three years

ago you lost your hair and now it’s beautiful brown

tumbleweed. You are preventable, but seldom curable.

 

 

A Bean Tale

By Judith Ward

My mother wasn’t a liar,

nor was she spiteful or a trickster

(that I know of)

So there may have been some truth

in what she said about the beans.

 

A city dweller with no beans of my own,

(nor garden to grow them,)

I was dependent, then, at thirty or so

on a mother who lived amid

rural abundance, ankle-deep in soil

 

She always sent me the first picking

boxed, wrapped in brown paper,

the youngest pods slender, tender,

without hint of inner seed.

 

Package from postman on early July morning:

within lay beans, aged and tough,

seeds inside big as marbles.

“How could you,” I whined long-distance.

 

She said nothing at first...

but silence not being her style; it didn’t last.

In astonishment, amusement, disbelief,

she gave the only answer available:

“They must have grown old in the mail,”

said she.

 

 

In Dupont

BY EMPERATRIZ UNG

That kick is out of this world señorita. Foot pressed to glass elegance becomes you. I wanna jive with you dance with you. Hear truth mix with lies down as you cop a feel up my thighs at the speakeasy. Ride you hear cool jams by you. Just the right mix of sexy and trainwreck are your wine stained teeth.

That push takes me away from you. Shouts of no from you mingle in the smoke-filled air. I wanna climb with you, up ivory towers with you, hit the pavement in torn up burnt up bags of shit. I’m far away from you. Lost affection from you. Crisscrossed wires pulled plug from sex.

And in Spanish:

En Dupont

Esa patada está fuera de este mundo señorita. Pie presionado contra vidrio tú eres elegancia. Querio mover contigo baliar contigo. Oír la verdad mezclar con mentiras mientras me tocas mi pierna en el bar. Querio recorrerte. Oír tu musica brillante. Tu eres la combinación perfecta de sensual y un desastre total con tus dientes manchados de vino.

Ese empujón me lleva lejos de ti. Tus gritadas mezclan con el humo de cigarrillos. Quiero escalar contigo, subir la torre de marfil contigo, golpea el pavimento en desgarrado quemado bolsas de mierda. Estoy lejos de ti. Perdí tu afecto. Hilos entrecruzados sacaban el enchufe del sexo.

 

 

New Hips

By Phoebe DeVincenzi

Mom said she liked to call having sex

“making love”

I hushed her and refused to talk anatomy

puzzled over whispers on the floor

Rocky Horror—our Bible and nightlight

back when sleepovers didn’t make me

hunger for sleep

 

back when young girls turned nocturnal

and piled on top of one another

to test the weight of other bodies

the architecture of limbs

and dared kisses to watch

the strange

smacking of lips

 

your mother’s lingerie didn’t fit well

but we wore it anyway

and paraded our bellies to the night

moon-sick and circling

our new hips

stirring adolescent lust

into tender air alchemy

pulsing and secret

with the hum of young girl magic

for 14 years after forgetting how to sleep

 

 

Catch/Release

By Annabel Lang

I love you in my arms

where I've carried you since childhood,

You leapt from a tree.

I caught you. We coincide. I've held you

not knowing what it is I hold on to.

What is a sister when there is nothing simple like blood to lie about?

 

I'm learning fidelity

to language. To trust words

not what words say

as an urn may carry water or ashes but we gather shards

to save men        glorious Grecian half-naked

etched black on clay skin

 

and our bodies may hide

any kinds of bones. We love a face

not thoughts we don't know.

So I will write you love letters and let love be

only the shape of the letters inside

the word love. This way as my arms open

may petals fall under your feet.

 

 

Summer Moon Child

by hannah kenyon lair
 

summer moon child,

do you remember when our skin

glowed with energy,

with wasteful, bloody, curdled laughter,

when we communed with willows

under the bright green warning sign

of the sky before it cracked?

/

i remember, and i hope

that when we are both old,

old women, you will let me

hold you when you cry

at stories you have kept close

for so long, and

at stories you have told many times,

still sobbing with mirth

at the absurdity

/

i hope that summers pass

between yesterday and tomorrow

when we find our voices

together, greeting sun with song

and impressing positivity

into the spine of the universe

so we can stand straighter,

step sweeter, and sleep softer

 

 

For Diana

By Yasmine

 

You are

All black-blue hair

And chiseled lips

 

Your left shoulder

Intellectually-aesthetically it-girl linked

Your right shoulder

Proverbially chipped

 

You are

All smoke

Inhale through the blunt

Exhale away the mirror’s colorful shadows

 

Your fingers snap

Musical, lovely

Your laugh

So generous

 

You are

All long brown legs

And slim whittled hips

 

Your bejeweled wrist

Radiates counter culture cool

Your staccato speech

Polished academism

Punctuated with south side Chicago flashbacks

 

You are passionate

In public

Strategically withdrawn

In private

 

Your touch rests on me

Knowingly

Your heavily lashed eyes flicker

Uncertainly

 

You are mine, for a beat

Only to dance away again.

 

 

Surreal Portrait at Sundown

By Samantha Wallace

today the sun did not set until long after dinnertime, the first drawn-out day of the year. i sat for hours in front of the window and thought about the things we had done during the cold, rainy season of last winter. 

how on saturdays, we would stare at vintage nudes, sepia and corners peeling, for inspiration. you especially loved the way the women's bodies were so pliable: limbs cording themselves around the torso. out of wanting this limberness, you stacked foam mats and swept the floors in a yoga studio late nights, alone. you imagined that in your cleaning the grime imparted something precious to you through your hands and your feet. 

and how, on sundays, we would sneak into the campus photo lab, and your friends would practice taking nude portraits of us. i tried to be coy about the way posing for those photos made me feel. intoxicated by my own body on display for you, a deep quiet reveling in the shadow cast between my legs. 

how, on thursdays after class, we would walk to the Mexican restaurant on the corner and the the waitress would bring us tall margaritas, never able to finish our meal because we would already be drunk halfway through our escebeche y arroz, and decide to cross the street for dessert that we could carry out. you would declare you needed something chocolate, but leave with the strawberry tart. after I had fallen asleep on the couch, you would pick the strawberries off your tart and feed them to your cat. 

and how, after the first real chill, autumn's last spider had found its way into the tub. staring at it for long minutes, i killed it with Clorox, watched its legs cord around its body and then unfurl again. i was reminded of the fishing hook you had tattooed on your body after your father died; that first night, after a bottle of wine, when you lifted up your shirt to show me. the blueness of the deep curve, a ribbon of ocean tracing the line of your rib cage around to the place where the two halves of it clasp together under your lungs. the heaving of your breath like the slow tide that carried your father's ashes out to sea. 

 

 

Mildred

By Hannah Kenyon Lair

 

I sit, after dinner,

and sip cold aquavit from a martini glass

I avoid the idea bustling at my mind's door

That you will not be There when I return

 

I remember so much of you,

a sliver of a life,

a little girl's experience in an old woman's presence,

Awed

Honored

Loved and

Loving

 

You have always been a Good Person:

kind, compassionate, sturdy in the face of ill-reason

and prejudice, you have taught me

by example

to be Gentle

 

There you are: my Goodness,

the gleaming light of hope

that every childhood ought to have

and I have been so lucky

to have You