issue 53: from you, to them

October II

- grace novarr (bio)

Lover, I missed you this weekend. I discovered a red soul
somewhere inside me. I was knocked out in the woods
in some disingenuous suburbia we made in the Bronx.
I was getting sick of horoscopes. On your couch
we were disappointed to learn that our favorite cooking show
had become scripted and plastic. Three men winked
at me on the subway. I like when trains go aboveground.
The light is my favorite color. I hate the book I’m reading.
I need you so much. I drank from a mysterious bottle
and it tasted like curdled coffee. I danced to a song
that I think about in terms of us. Except that it’s unromantic.
But I think romance is overrated. I think this simple humanity
that we cultivate in each other’s arms is more necessary.
At the bus stop, I gave into temptation. You told me
I need to make good choices even when you’re not around.
I wrote, “I’m going to be okay even if I get left.” The script
was loopier than usual. I can’t remember what the food tasted like.
I don’t like listening to good music and discovering the singer
died a tragic youthful death. Aren’t all deaths youthful?
I want to kiss your neck between 68th and 59th again.
Or to discover your red soul. On these bloodless Sundays,
I start to think I’ve almost got it.


- kristine ann gajitos (bio)


Be prim, be proper.
Such as I tell my daughter.
Ne'er a word of pirates
May pass through her lips.


As I sit on this here porch
The boom of thunder
Rattles the rafters.
I remember cannon fires
From my younger years
When I was on deck
Walking on floors painted red
To hide the blood of skirmishes.


Ah! The days when
Pillaging merchant vessels
Was more than a livelihood,
But a calling, deep in my veins.
And stealing a kiss from
My first mate kept
My blood boiling, as did
Stealing rubies and sapphires.


With my red mane tossing
In the salty wind,
I commanded my crew

With an iron fist.
We plundered as we would,
But only from the rich.
God knew they had
So much to spare.


But then, as with all things,
It had to end
With the death of my lover,
And the growth in my belly.
I left my crew,
to forge a life anew
With as much loot
As I could then carry.


Pretend I did,
As a reputable widow
In a respectable town
Far from the sea
So I could raise
My daughter right.
Still, when it rains,
I try to feel the spray
And remember her father,
And my life
As Calico Jack.

Left Behind

- kristine ann gajitos (bio)

Time flies
On silent wings
Leaving behind
Hollow longings

Blood red kisses
That bloom in spring
Become fang bites
When winter sings

Still, I remain here
Cast in iron
A statue rusting
While the world turns

By My Hands

- kristine ann gajitos (bio)

To be or not to be,
or so Hamlet said.
Not that it matters
to me what is next.
The cold of the tomb
is not worse than
the cold of the heart.


As I lie here with
wrists open to the sky
dripping crimson tears
from my swollen eyes,
I wait for Thanatos
in his midnight robes
to take me away
down to Tartarus.


I don't want to hear
you say, "What a waste"
at my funeral.
Know that I didn't take
the easy way out.
Instead, I took my life
by my own hands;
death on my own terms.


- sam sicilia (bio)

I notice the smudges on my mirror
as I stare at myself and wonder how
you loved me the way you did a few moments earlier.
I saw the bruises forming and I press into them
hoping they stay longer than you—
validation in discoloration
and slight discomfort,

I don’t always know how to be comfortable.

Look what you did
I whisper as I climb back into bed
scolding you for what I hope you do again.
And I bite your shoulder because I don’t know
how to tell you anything I want to tell you, like
I sleep on your side the night after you leave
because I like the way the pillows smell or

I don’t always know how to be comfortable.

end of issue 53. go back to issues page.

the poetry juicebox
an international poetry & art publication
the poetry juicebox