Lady Laments

One Night Stand

Because when she walks into the room, they’ll make sure they have a record on.  They’ll make sure whatever’s spinning will spin her dizzy.  They want to look at her looking at the vinyl sleeve, watch her give a small smile and hear her speak some unfamiliar words from such a familiar looking face.  She makes them want to put on the right song, because her eyes sing The Velvet Underground and her mouth weeps Neutral Milk Hotel and her hair looks like Jimi’s.  And when her face fuses with theirs, they’ll feel like they’re up on stage with Lennon, or slouched smoking on a leather couch in a dimly lit room with Dylan.  Even though it’s only for a night, she makes it feel like it’s been a decade.  Even though it’s not love, she looks like it.  She’s candied with consolation and slender in her sex.  He lies next to her loving her classical nose, her modest curls, her standard slimness and her familiar height. She fits in his arms; she fits the night. She looks like love, but not tonight.  One day she might be, but not tonight. Tonight their bodies are a mini city, trafficking kisses and creating earthquakes.

Femme Fatal

Her body was her home. And the lost men that would frequent it found it so humbling, they often left out of fear.  To be humbled by her body, her quiet touch, a kiss on the knee, a kiss on the hip, left them aching.  The emptiness that had nested itself deep in their psyche was ran out by her soft curls, an accidental brush to their cheek and breath of soaped skin was all it took.  She was at home in her body, inviting them willingly to open her up and sink deep into the comfort of roaming hands, open mouths and closed eyes.  They would find a in her a temporary home, so fatal to their nomadism that the moment she entered a room they were either instantly frightened or already akin to her gravity.  All she asked was that they meet her in the moment the heart was so translated in the eye souls could speak without words. But when they did, when they met her in the sweetness, their hearts would fail, break and without comparable strength, would leave before dawn.

Eve

When I arise with you there is no shame. It has been weeded and plucked, discarded from our contented life. I will rise beneath tangled sheets and curls to stretch my arms wide. Arching my naked back and shifting my shoulder blades, I roll the evening off my bare chest. And I will look at you in an ordinary way, liking your jaw line as it parallels the pillow.  My bare feet meet bare wood as I walk, toes first, to the kitchen. You arise, after a while, to meet me in the window beams. Without a thought we’ll greet each other, our nakedness not letting on that we could have been so tangled together.  With your hands on my smooth shoulders you watch my wrists flip eggs. I tilt my smile up to you and find you are my Adam and I am so shamelessly your Eve.  Unaware of the sour citrus of the societal fruit that bares shame in bareness. I am guiltlessly yours and forever my own.

by Sarah Noell

Heavy Blanket

By: Damen MacDougall

 

I wake three times, or just

the once – I can never tell

anymore the nature of what it is

I do in bed when my eyes

are closed.

Winter’s watery light has ceased

its trickling through

my windows, now stoppered by night.

Glancing at my brass chest –

here and there pitted

with blossoming rust –

the clock reads 6pm,

its digital display verdantly

admonishing.

I cast off my throw

and my comforter, my fingers

scrabbling for purchase on a third

that isn’t there – heavy

blanket – intangible, yet

physically felt.

Veiled still by that leaden presence

I rise – sighing – the blanket

whispering as it trails

across the floor, as if

in reply.

Darkness settles like dust

on the profusion of things

in my possession – my empty apartment

brims with things. Dust

settles on them like darkness, too.

I look at the clock – 5am.

I crawl into bed, still wrapped

in that blanket, piling on the comforter

and the throw for good measure.

I look once more at the clock

and think to try again

tomorrow.

The Glass

By: Charles Hess

There was an island once, somewhere in some forgotten hemisphere, which carried a curious people on its back as it waded through the endless ocean; that ocean was, to that quiet folk, an ocean of permanence, a cautious and inquisitive body, a force through which Nature was contained. Those people only knew that island and that ocean; those people only knew that world and that space around it. Then, one day, the breathing waves spat forth a device from its weightless foams: a framed and gilded mirror, no larger than the oval of a coconut. It was fortunate that the first man to find it was a sagely wanderer; it was convenient that he did not try to free the man inside. The man then retreated to the center of the island and built, with shoots and palms, a modest hut. As the years circled the sun, the people rumored the man to be some strange Shaman; they would often visit him, one at a time, to see his magical device. Look into it as deeply as you may, he would whisper; there is always something more, he would repeat. Everyone that looked into the glass saw themselves and marveled that they could now know the details of their own faces. This was enough for them to acclaim the Shaman and his wonderful instruments. It would be years before the Man, a common villager that had visited the Shaman many times before, would enter again into the light of the palmed hut. He had seen himself in the glass hundreds of times before, but he believed in the Sage’s words. He believed there was something more. So, on this particular visit, the Man looked as deeply into the glass as he could. He looked into his eyes; he saw himself looking into himself. He then exited the hut and wondered what he would see if he looked into his eyes in his eyes in his eyes. The Man then realized that the Sage was correct. There is always something more.

 

I Listened

by Emma Nadine

 

Some people say that depression is like sadness

that never goes away

As though my only symptoms are a frown

and an attitude

As though being sad for a day can etch bloody scars into blank slates

I used to be beautiful

But depression hangs on to me

like a parasitic steam bath

Opening my pores to weave its way deeper

 

Some people say taking a deep breath

makes it easier to handle

As though my lungs aren’t filled halfway up with dread

Let me drown in it

This time being half full doesn’t make me optimistic

 

Some people say, “get over it”

As though the bottle of pills under my pillow

doesn’t call to me every night

As though I don’t wear a cloak of fragility that screams

“I listened”

Fingernails

by Andrea Millares

 

Fingernails are the first to go. Hair stays coiffed,

shirts remain tucked

and eyes unbagged—

in the beginning, at least.

 

But my fingernails are the first to go.

Bitten and picked at, soon the floor is covered in tiny shards of white armor.

The skin curls back

like when the wind catches the pages of books I have no will to read

and my fingertips glow an ugly, irritated red.

Please, don’t look at my hands for too long.

You’ll see and you’ll know

and I don’t want anyone to know

not even you—

not yet.

And trust me, the unprotected flesh screams at me,

just like it whispers to you.

Your echo is not unwelcome,

 

but forgive me for getting frustrated with broken records—

Even when the tune is one I need to hear over and over again.

Are You Scared of the Dark?

by Emma Sheinbaum 

Are you scared of the dark? Of the

way it seems so still? Of the sunspots

that sparkle for just five seconds, for the first

five seconds of darkness? Of the second

they stop?

 

Of the way the dark

starts moving, shifting, when you stare

into it for too long? Of the heaviness

it rolls onto you? Of the emptiness

it carves in you? Of the

static it hums inside

your ears? Of the static it

starts inside your head?

 

Of the anonymity

it makes of you? Am I

scared enough to turn

the lights back on, will

the lights ever turn back on?