• 2020 Volume 15
Butterflies
Art by Alex Armknecht

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In the Mouth of a Fly

poetry 

I’m beginning to see the fissures.
On top of the hood of my car,
Together trading hits from a Marlboro
Cigarette. You sat with such confidence,
Firmly believing each and every puff
Brought you higher and higher
Up the social chain. I, however,
Was only your shadow. Blessed
To become a solitary part of your story,
Not the beginning, not participating
In your finale, just a rest stop.
The wind was heavier than your eyelids
Post a drunken, sleepless night.
I held your hands between mine,
And warmed them with all of my soul.
You were always cold.
I was always warm.

Similar to the feeling you get
When you understand something,
But don’t fully get it,
You are a sentence I cannot read.
The syllables sounding something
Familiar, yet in this world, this cold
Fucking twisted, shit-house world,
Familiarity can be poisonous. But,
If I just ran.
If I just took one breath and one step,
And ran far beyond where you
Could find me, would I be at peace?
Who would I really be?

I find myself talking through your teeth,
Comforting myself with something sweet.
The only problem is, as time goes on,
It sounds less like something you would say,
And more like something I want to hear.
We all say we’d rather hear a truth
Than a lie, but at the end of the day,
It’s all just a prison in writing.
Tear a scrap of paper and scribe
Your hopes and dreams.
You wanna be a millionaire, kid?
In five years, you’ll find 
This scrap of paper huddled,
In the mouth of a fly.
You can’t exactly remember who
You thought you were going to become,
But this certainly isn’t it.

Artwork by Olivia Bikhazi 

The First Time I Ate a Pomegranate

Poetry 

Saturday morning, yet closer to lunchtime, the stove 
Is covered with pans, caked in breakfast. 
The grey counter is strewn with papers and crumbs. 
I haven’t eaten yet today. The man with the black
Eyebrows but the silvered hair pulls a Tupperware 
From the fridge and scoops it into a bowl. 
I only eat about a third, but I hand it to you. 
You swallow the rest like a pitbull, and I do
The dishes while your family speaks inner circles.
The silvered man reaches into the middle of the mass
Of the papers and crumbs and finds a fruit bowl. 
He tosses a plump, red fruit towards the skylight. 

He pierces its thick skin, and it splits in two, 
Like a hatchet cracks wood. Its two halves reveal 
Round, red, raspberry-like, individual seeds. 
He explains how it is a fruit of patience, and how
All the white must be removed. The process takes
About thirty minutes. He sets the blue bowl in front
Of my hip bone. He stares through his wire-framed 
Glasses at me while he places a spoon on my palm. 
The fruit is bitter, it doesn’t taste like raspberries. 
The texture is gelatinous, yet crunchy. It’s off putting. 
I keep setting small spoonfuls on my tongue 
So as to not discount his hard work and hospitality. 

The light in the room is its usual overcast, as it is
The first time you and I are able to not speak, 
The times we intertwine with the couch, when I 
Meet your brother and Sam, and the moments 
You tell me to stop speaking to you. The kitchen is 
Always cold. I wrap my purple self in brown blankets.
The lighting is as it is every Saturday. 
Yet, today is not Saturday. 

The funny thing about memory is its fluidity. 
Rather than remembering distinct days, you come to
Remember the shared moments from a space. 
It all blurs together and you can’t explain the 
Chronology of the memory, because you don’t know 
If the pomegranate was the same day as the shower.
You know the shower was the same day the silvered 
Man decided to buy a car, but you don’t know if
It’s the same day as when you met your brother. 
You remember the collective memories from places. 
Each room in your house is its own space. 
Whether the lights were on or off or it was day or night 
Dictates the space. Each place has its own collection,
Each of which blend into a representative feeling
Of such space. I cannot speak to the validity 
Of how it feels to eat a pomegranate for the first time. 
This feeling has become blended with all interactions 
I shared with your kitchen’s overcast light. 
But I know your countertop shines a different grey
In the day than the gray it shines at night. 
 

Photo: Deserted by Cate Christiansen 

Household Tasks and Negated Smiles

Poetry 

I lift a perforated screen from the rectangular prism.
I peer through the thick, cloudy glass of the lizards’ tank. My pupils
Dilate as I peer into four geckos’ veiny eyes. Their pupils
Expand as ours meet. Unlike a camera lens changing
Its aperture, like a venus fly trap opening its teeth to swallow.

My tentative fingers shakily squeeze pink tweezers.
Brown, tan, and black worms fall in front of the lizards.
Luna’s farsighted eyes adjust to focus on the meal in front of her toes,
Her head cocks side to side while the worm’s head digs
Into the sand. Not like a dog pawing the ground, getting dirt in its nails.
A halibut swallowing itself into the floor, attempting to camouflage.  

The gecko’s triangular nose collides with the ground,
The worms find themselves surrounded by tiny, sharp teeth.
The teeth break apart the worm’s outer shell,
Looking less like my little sister licking a lollipop,
An eagle penetrating and snapping a crab’s soft carcass. 

The pupae’s insides turn to its outsides: mush. 
It slides down their small throats to a dark, warm pool, 
Unlike a child at a waterpark, these tiny pools are filled with acid.