Caesura

Within this ellipse

recall that it’s a process.

A glimmer of hummingbirds

circles the feeder, peacock, rust.

Beaking nectar, they hum back

to the rain-wet maple, still

bare-limbed, no leaves,

just buds waiting to open,

seed pods falling

in the yard below.

Inside, my piles grow—

today I’ll fold the clothes

that comprise the bedroom

desk-pile. The weight

of all my coats

hovers somewhere

between heft

and feathers.

Right now these coats

are my boulder:

a godsend.


CALEB NICHOLS is a writer and musician from California. His poems have appeared in Unstamatic: A Micro Lit Mag, and his music has been featured on Paste and Out. He records music along with his husband as one half of the indie pop duo Soft People.

self-portrait as erasure

It was summer in Iowa & our time together

brief: I swallow moonbeams & cola

& love sonnets until I bleed. Bled blue out on

the patio, barefoot & dancing in the rainstorm.

How long will it take to bury me, then uncover

my bones? Someday, I will only exist in memory,

in upside gritty Polaroids, floral perfume stained

on the sleeves of a silk blouse. I untangle myself

from dollar store linens, reach for a cherry cola

at midnight. My mother, the fortune teller, makes

rosaries out of dried baby’s breaths. Taught me

magic tricks, acts of erasure—tonight I sit in a

cold shower and sob, the soap bar skidding down

the drain. I eat glass shards and mounds of

sugar until my tonsils and stomach are bleeding,

rotting, combusting. She burns flowers at dawn in

a rented motel room in Louisiana, tells me don’t trust

men with biblical names. I make ransom letters

out of newspaper obituaries, naked and smoking,

creating fairy tales out of ashes. Ma, you wouldn’t

believe me if I set this place on fire tonight,

threw that cigarette at the velvet curtains, blew

the ashes all over the baroque ashtray, just wait—


ASHLEY HAJIMIRSADEGHI’s work has appeared in Into the Void Magazine and Corvid Queen, among others. She is a poetry reader at Mud Season Review, attended the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, and was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. She can be found at http://ashleyhajimirsadeghi.squarespace.com/

Mother Mirror, Mother Tongue

blue script loops & whirls 

this star-sparked

breath, an umbilicus

holding me to you, to her 

& her, back & back 

I remember myself

 

in an archway skip-counting 

for you, looking for the pattern

for the words that could call you

to me, the words entangled, what is 

from gdobri, good. yo ya me I & but—

 

m, mother, mat’, mater, madre you are always 

first, a bilabial hum before the burst

of air, the stop, the fractures, the infinitive 

of forbidden splits that come so easily 

to this language, in silence 

 

we trace the severed with two

fingers, what saint is this? what holiness?

and apart from us, in front of us, above us

with position and preparation, someone asks

with a borrowed voice, what 

man has come with good news?  

it is a gospel of sequence, binding us to 

in his name, whether we consent 

or not; even unseen pray

we, in the dark, our breath the only blue—

 

to Mary of the resurrection, 

to Katherine of the moon, each of us 

a goddess of her tongue: wordless, headless – found

millennia later, thick stone

bodies in the dirt

separate &

alone &

insistent


SHERRE VERNON is an educator, a seeker of a mystical grammar, and a 2019 recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at MVICW. She has two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (prose) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent. To read more of her work visit www.sherrevernon.com/publications

a bird alone

after psalm one hundred and two

a tawny owl hops

over rubble: man

made crumblings.

bones burning coal.

dead grass a nest not

enough to call home.

eats ashes and shadows

grow long. shut eyes. wither

in desert winds.

blind stones pity

the still unheard

but the day hears.

this too shall

open.

the east sky yawns

and mornings. perish waits

another day. rumblings

as the temple rebuilds

secret place quenched

in golden. owl’s

wing quivers, heartbeats: flight

a gift received.

to dwell in tremors

of a coming:

not safe, but good.

temple gates soften

ancient door roarings:

an open mouth

full of glory


CASSANDRA HSIAO is an undergraduate at Yale University, majoring in Theater Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. Her poetry, fiction and memoirs have been recognized by Storyscape, Arts by the People, Rambutan, Animal, Claremont Review, and Jet Fuel. Her plays have been selected as finalists for national playwriting competitions held by The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, Princeton University, Durango Arts Center, California Playwrights Project and YouthPLAYS. She was also recognized for her journalism work as a Voices fellow by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).

The Great Divide

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PAUL ILECHKO is the author of the chapbooks Bartok in Winter (Flutter Press, 2018) and Graph of Life (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Manhattanville ReviewWest Trade ReviewCathexis Northwest PressOtoliths and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.

Our Favorite Writing Prompts

It’s that time of year when the weather is changing, the world is being quarantined and folks are looking for new sources of inspiration and solace. Check out some of Inklette’s favorite writing prompts below to spark your creativity!



PROMPT 1

You’re sitting across the table from a character from your current work in progress. How do you start the conversation? What do you talk about? Are they talkative or reticent, joyous or subdued? Do they answer questions freely? What do they ask you? What do they notice about the world?


PROMPT 2
(Best done in a walkable place)

Pick a number between 1 and 10. Start walking, and when you reach an intersection, flip a coin. Heads, you go right; tails, you go left. Do this for as many times as the number you picked in the beginning. Write a short story set in the location that you end up in.


PROMPT 3

Choose an object near you or in front of you. Do each of these for five minutes: Ask questions to the object. Describe the object in as much detail as possible. Write the origin story of the object. Write a first-person narrative from the point of view of the object. Draw associations with the object– what else does it look like, what does it remind you of, what does it make you think– and talk about it without naming the object, using metaphors or similes. 


PROMPT 4 

Make a list of topics you would never write about, followed by a list of words you would never use. Then, write a poem on one of those topics and use as many of those words as you can.


PROMPT 5

Choose any letter from A-Z. Write the first stanza without using the letter you chose. Now choose a second letter. Write the second stanza without using the second letter as well as the first letter you chose. Keep going for 5-6 stanzas in the same way.



Helium

 

how is it. that i am always sick and you’re not. that my muscles 

tear easily and you storm the streets and take vacation and climb 

old churches to see the city below, held still in earth’s palm. how 

is it that i crash so often. that i sleep through the open mics and 

bonfires and even the secrets. exhaustion carries me one 

direction, bone tired, into myself, with lights out, tossing in bed 

and dreaming of massive sand dunes that i can’t summit. how is it 

that you summit so gracefully. and how do you smile like that, 

like a canyon. i bet your body feels like helium. at least 

sometimes. i bet you feel light. light enough for dance rehearsal 

and dinner prep. light enough for music to sweep you into the 

walls. i watched you hover by the bed. the morning touching your 

hips through the curtain. we laid there for a long time and 

laughed about nothing. but you were too light to hold my weight.


CORBIN LOUIS is a poet and performer from Seattle, Washington. He is a recording artist and MFA graduate at University of Washington Bothell. Corbin’s work has previously been featured in Best American Experimental Writing, Santa Ana Review, Random Sample Review, The Visible Poetry Project and others. The author seeks to open up dialogues of addiction and mental illness. Ink becomes war call and empathy. Salt water and whispers. The poet lives.