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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Here—people don’t like to be forgotten

The poet, with red wine and her Cary Grant film collection,

misses the conversations you had in her living room

while you both danced to Run DMC.

The DJ boy who wanted to marry you—but never asked,

still wonders about the men you might’ve had

when the South American sky swooned over a stranger’s kiss.

Your roommate drank chamomile tea with you on nights

when your sentimentality and hiccuped tears kept sleep away. She helped

pour Clorox down the drain when slugs bubbled up in the old bathtub,

laughing as you took turns pushing them down with a broken broomstick.

             She waits to hear your sing-song weeping over boys

             who don’t matter.

You and your freshman best friend went backpacking around

the Aegean. You kissed her sun-warmed cheeks, felt

she should be embarrassed when she sauntered around town in Daisy Dukes,

and was a flirt-monster with the men and their wives.

             She stares at pictures, the calendar, thinking about where you went,

             why you don’t call.

Even I (and I know the chaos I caused) think about:

cooking with a forbidden store-bought jar of sauce,

how you wanted me to teach you the shaky-shaky dance,

or when you’d glare at heartbreaker boys at the bar.

It’s easy to know what we miss—what moments

we want you to cling onto—even as you wish

             them into ashes.


On moving day, I found her in the kitchen arranging a bowl of apples.

Her skin was bronzed—hair bleached by the Grecian sun.

She spent her summer sleeping on the beach, saving baby turtles in the morning.

At lunch she made veggie sausages—poured too much oil in the pan,

served them with a puddle of ketchup and a wilted salad on the side.

She let one of the guys make her a dinner of noodles in a black bean sauce,

cooed when he called her bonita—a word he picked up traveling through Spain.

She charmed the rest of the boys when she stretched her legs out on the table,

the black tights hugged the muscles in her calves, denim mini crept up her thighs.

For weeks she waited for them instead of braving the long walk with us girls,

on our nightly trips to the pub. Once there she’d stand near the bar, lean into them,

vodka lemonade in one hand, the other on their lapels throughout the night.

Even then I liked her—two front teeth too big for the rest of her mouth, lips in a natural puff,

her beaked nose and asparagus colored pug eyes reminded me of my 5th grade best friend.

In my homesickness I liked that small comfort.

Polly: The Girl Next Door

Ken made her a steak dinner with roasted potatoes,

frisée salad with lemon vinaigrette,

and strawberry pie for dessert (his version of seduction).

They spent most of the night making out

on his worn blue comforter.

When he couldn’t get hard after she got naked,

             she left.

But Ken was nicer than her boyfriend

who got annoyed when they went out clubbing

—she was too friendly

(he said she was two-faced).

He laughed when she wore high-heels

and lingerie to bed, said she was trying

too hard to be like the girls in magazines.

He drove too fast down the thin winding streets,

when she whined about how he watched Sasha Grey

on the nights he went home alone.

Ken wasn’t hot like her first boyfriend, the Venezuelan

who bit her lips and pulled her hair when they kissed—

made her watch in the mirror as he fucked her from behind.

She felt awkward with him, never knowing

what language to call out in.

It ended when she found out he was luring

other women into their bed.

Polly can’t be alone for more than a month.

After the men are gone, so are their photos and T-shirts—

she builds a hole for the next one—longs for the whirlwind,

someone who won’t keep her home, and she wants you

to be jealous.


He smells like spices,

orders Manhattans, and beer.

He plays the steel guitar; his songs sound

like the Pacific at the edge of dawn—

I feel the hum of electricity.


Here we are—haunted by the same ghosts.

With you they are angry, ignored.

You wake up with the taste of sulfur

on your lips, cabinets are left open,

spoons in towers, your purse hidden

under the couch cushions. You never know

where cold spots will appear,

the chills poking at the nape of your neck.

They’ve made the walls bleed,

but you just place the blood soaked rags in a closet

no one uses anymore. They send lovers away

with static crackling the air, warning

that your home will never be welcoming.

They’re waiting for their rage to get a reaction.

I have built them altars,

make weekly offerings of wine

and marigolds—leave a covered plate

with bread and honey, burn incense

before bed so when they wander through my dreams—

they don’t cause foundation shaking nightmares.

Sometimes when I turn my back, they place items on my nightstand—

things I thought I’d lost forever (a drawing of you, an earring you left

at my place, a photo of us sipping on strawberry margaritas).

I never feel loneliness in my bones

because I catch glimpses of the ghosts in the mirror,

feel a hand brush my cheek in the minutes before waking.

When waiting in line at the coffee shop,

you’ll confess you want an exorcism. You worry

they’ll follow you from place to place, pop up

just when you think you’re settled. You know

no matter how thick and cozy the rug—

they won’t hide under there forever.

But I’ve heard them whisper about you, when I’ve stayed up late washing dishes:

they want you to acknowledge the apparitions, admit—

you’re more afraid of the silence they’ll leave behind if they go.

Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Better than Starbucks Magazine, Redheaded Stepchild, Words Dance Publishing and Gargoyle Magazine. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and has been shortlisted twice for the Eyewear Publishing Fortnight Poetry Prize.

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