Candice Rice
Homecoming :
I know
everyone has a version of paradise.
A troop of angels, a historical ship
a mansion full of expensive shoes.

Yours, I think
is of the red dirt kind:

sun, hide and naked bone.
The black eye of nature.
Your paradise is no Heaven
but a kind of fond reality.

Compare it to memories.
Compare it to blades of grass
warm barns and shadowy attics.

Compare it to mountains.
Compare it to the kitchen table.

This, maybe, is your afterthought.
You are the maker, you are the carpenter.

Precise as a hunting knife
arms bent skyward, head swung back.
My good ark
your hands splay and create
the feel of warm wood underfoot.

This, I think, will be your choice:
nothing with wings or frills
but the earth slung as always
over your shoulder.
Constantia Ruve

I sought out for an elegant death-girl
One who could eat and claw her way out of the grave
To come alive and pirouette in the dark
So full of energy you'd never know the difference
When she'd hiccup winged maggots and
Clear from her colorless eyes, the cottony egg sacs
From which she extracts, for fashion,
The fibers that go into her dress of zombie hide.
She'll tell me when I've started my period
And when my makeup has been
Smeared past lines nobody should ever cross.
There'll be no risk of blushing with
Embarrassment when I reach for the mirror handle
Or forget that time of the month had been coming up
Around my lapel she'll curl into a sour fastener
That requires another's assistance to remove,
As cute as a button with a smile so rotten
The scent of her cavities would be muse enough
To stir my blood again and rearrange my organs
While tending to the lining of my straw shaped veins
Which are due to be suckled from, maybe even trimmed some
She'll sing like crystal sonar, like hummingbird wings
And nobody will listen well enough to hear her but me.
Jennifer Margaret-Chappee Gale