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Poetry Summer 2019    fiction    all issues


Cover Antoine Petitteville

Laura Apol
Easter Morning
& other poems

Taylor Dibble
A Masterpiece in Progress
& other poems

Julia Roth
Lessons From My Menstrual Cup
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Ceaseless Wind. The Drying Sheaves
& other poems

Nicole Yackley
Mea Culpa
& other poems

George Longenecker
I’m sentimental for the Paleolithic
& other poems

Taylor Gardner
Short Observations by Angels
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
No Thomas Hardy
& other poems

Joanne Monte
War Casualties
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Potato Harvest
& other poems

Steven Dale Davison
Wordsmouth Harbor Founder
& other poems

Heather 'Byrd' Roberts
How I Named Her
& other poems

sunny ex
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
Through the Valley of Mount Chimaera
& other poems

Linda Speckhals
& other poems

Lucy Griffith
Breathing Room
& other poems

Steven Valentine
& other poems

Emily Varvel
B is for Boys and G is for Guys
& other poems

Jhazalyn Prince
Priceless Body
& other poems

Marte Stuart
Generation Snowflake
& other poems

S.J. Enloe
Kale Soup
& other poems

Meghan Dunsmuir
Our Path
& other poems

Emily Varvel

B is for Boy
and G is for Guy (1945)

              The girl grips the grill,

Of her Grandpa’s busted truck,

              Still tasting the grape juice,

              Along her burbling tongue.

Granted, Grandpa’s truck is larger than her.

“Goodness, gracious,” any bystander would gander,

That truck could grab her and break ’er in half.

But she’s a natural, balanced there

              In her brand-new, baby-white boots,

As if God himself had planted her little feet down,

On that graveled ground,

At Grandpa’s.

Little girl,

              Gorgeous girl,

You don’t get it yet.

But you will in good time.

That place you’re in is not granted to you.

Grandpa’s truck is for the guys in town.

Right now, it is only for make believe.

You see, God didn’t see fit to gift you that advantage.

So, bathe in the greatness now,

              Of guiding that automobile,

                            Of governing where it goes,

Because in the war of guys and dolls,

It’ll be awhile before the guns are finally on your side—

Once and for all.

An Analysis in Assonance

She suffers in suffixes,

Communicates in commas,

Periodically exists,

As a series of punctuations,

And periods.

Her euphoria rests

in anaphora

in parallelism



Poetry flows in her veins—

Ink as thick as blood

Her eyes act as a pen

Shooting pins

Her punches are puns

Laced in the fine vintage

Of Shakespeare and Frost

Of Dickinson and Poe

Allusions made all too clear

In the illusion she presents to the world

She prefers

to perform

through prefixes

She gets as excited for an ellipse

As the world for an eclipse . . .


You knocked my flower vase off the counter.

Now I have to wrap my shirt,

Tightly around my skin,

And pick up the splatter.

But the glass still slips through,

Scarring my bone-tired hands.

The mirror image now

Encasing my heart in glue.

So, I pick up the glass,

While you sit on your ass.

But I know that’s not fair,

To make that assumption.

Because I know a little secret,

About how your flower vase functions.

An invisible string,

Like two cans between neighbors,

Tied our vases together,

‘Til you cut with your razors.

So, your flowers fell forward,

Crashing to the floor.

But the furniture is too high,

For me to see you anymore.

But you cut and you clawed,

Not me and my issues.

We weren’t responsible for your pause,

For my abuse of these tissues.

I patch my vase back together,

To display my pretty flowers.


“The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause
clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational,
or other important areas of functioning.”—DSM-5

The heaving,



The distress,



              And yet,

What about the seemingly insignificant things?

“Did she just give me a funny look?”

“I hope I locked my car door so no one breaks in . . . ”

“Does this dress make me look fat?”

“They’re staring at you.”

“Look, you made him leave.”

“You didn’t get everything done? Typical.”

“How will I pay my bills if my car breaks down?”

“You are a disappointment.”

The incessant inner-monologue of anxiety cuts deepest.

Thoughts churn from head,

To stomach,

To mouth.

Unloading your

Breakfast and insecurities

Into the toilet.

Stomach and brain briefly empty.

But a person must continue to eat.

A brain must continue to think.


Anxiety is walking on eggshells,

Begging yourself not to step on a crack,

Firmly believing there’s a connection between your mistakes,

And your mother’s broken back.

Anxiety is replaying scenarios in your mind,

Over and over.

Each run through a dissent

              Into a different


                                          of Hell

Anxiety is running a marathon without moving an inch.

Sleep for a year?

Still tired.

Can’t fall asleep?

Still wired.

Anxiety blinds you to accomplishments,

Binds you to it’s establishments.





But truly,

Anxiety majors in its minors.

“By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes.”—Shakespeare, Macbeth


There are 3 cement rectangles

Completely solid

3 feet thick

They connect to form an open square

The 4th wall


Smooth and silver

3 inches thick

Across these 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 vertical bars

Rests a horizontal latch

3 inches thick

You are sitting in a cage

You know

You know life outside the cage

It’s liquid freedom and joy

A concoction mixed with happiness

But also unknown

Potentially dangerous

And yet you are locked in this cage

Aren’t you?

The lock is inward-facing

The world can’t get you out

It’s an inside job

And you are the only one with a key

A gift

Should you choose to use it

You are comfortable in your cage

More five-star than cell block

But there is something sour

Like the faintest of rotten scents in the finest perfumes

That permeates these walls

The base is still there

But you wait

And wait

2 sides of yourself conflicting

Juxtaposing each other

You take 1 2 3 steps forward

Pick up the key

Jagged breath—one more step

Shove the key in the lock

Back away

Look at the venomous luxury

1 2 3 steps back

Returning to life in the cage

Immersing yourself in the comfortable filth

With the flicker of freedom fluttering

In the back of your mind

You look up

See the bars





1 2 3    4

Turn the key

Step back

You hang a curtain across your bars

Your 4th wall

But you can hear it

The joy, happiness, freedom

1 2 3

Rip the curtain back

Drink in the sight

Satiating your need

You nail 3-inch-thick wood to your bars

Blocking out the sights and sounds

Returning like a pig to its slop

But again and again you return to that wall

Long for it







Carnivorous as wolf

You shred the wood

Quick as a fox

You push the door

You look back

Because you are a juxtaposition

You don’t want to be a juxtaposition

1 2 3

Steps forward

You live this uncomfortable life

Filled with uncertainty and pain and strife


Filled with freedom and joy and happiness

No rottenness to tinge the sweet

You belong to the outside

Always will

And yet

1 2 3

Steps back

Door closed

Lock latched

Lose sight

Beginning again

And again

And again

Because you are a Juxtaposition

Emily Varvel is an 8th grade Englsih Language Arts teacher in Katy, Texas. As a recent graduate from the University of Texas, her degree in English introduced her to a wide variety of poets and styles of poetry. This inspired her to start experimenting with poetry of her own. She enjoys providing ghostwriting and ghost editing services. You can either find her reading, writing, watching anything superhero-related, or playing with her little bean of a dog Buffy.

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