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"Fall Leaves”
by
Alison Parham

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Brianna Barreto

Cold Enough to Become Solid

The rain’s hitting the window
hard. Clothes need to be peeled off.
He drags my top over my face on its way
off and I feel like I’m drowning.
The tight material, heavy with
wet, snags on my teeth
and curls my top lip back
and pulls my eyes open.
His hands are cold, fumbling, blocks
that carelessly beat
the button on my jeans until
it relents. My underwear clings to the denim
when it’s tugged away and my legs
flop limply on the mattress.
It’s not soft.
My face is poised, like a fish
on the floor of a boat. He stares
at my breasts—my nipples are hard
and cold as pebbles left in the shade, but
he thinks they’re standing for him.
His eyes cover my body and I feel colder.
He tells my I look like I’m glowing,
but my skin is blue like a dead girl’s.

Coyotes

She walks in the bike lane because
the sidewalk is too dark.
The moon floats low and spectral,
its light unclear behind the clouds, much like
the vaporous light from the street lamps
which cast black shadows—so black,
anything could be found inside them.
She’s found long bushy tails, pointed ears,
and gleaming yellow eyes.

A pack, far off somewhere,
venerate the moon with garbled shrieks,
reminding her of the Young Girl
who was bit last week by one
that sometimes prowls these neighborhoods
at night. She walks faster.

The sudden honking of an oncoming car
makes the whole night jump and She
stands paralyzed with a hand to her chest.
They crane their necks to watch her as they pass,
eagerly yelping and howling at how scared She is
and baring their teeth at her.
One barks “Slut!” out the window before
they drive off towards the moon.

 

 

BRIANNA BARRETO-is 21, a student at Cabrillo College studying English Lit - though I love Santa Cruz, the beach, the people, etc, I have a desperate need to escape and see things that are different and far away. I have too many siblings, a bratty Chihuahua who is more of a cat than a dog, a tragic childhood, eyes the color of duck poo, a shelf full of books I’ve never read, a closet full of clothes I’ve never worn and a notebook full of poems no one else has ever seen.

In Celebration of the Muse
Brianna Barreto
Donna Becker
Deborah Bryant
Ruth Elliott
Susan Freeman
Patricia Grube
Diane Dobrin Grunes
Geneffa Popatia Jonker
Sylvia Patience
Jennifer Pittman
Bernice Rendrick
Dena Taylor
Louise Thornton
Patrice Vecchione
Renee Winter
J. Zimmerman

Rosie King for Tilly Shaw

Barbara Bloom for Joan Safajek

Featured Artist
Alison Parham

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