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Poetry Winter 2020    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 20


French silk sample book

Paula Reed Nancarrow
Morning Coffee
& other poems

Jill Burkey
& other poems

Oak Morse
Boys Born out of Blues
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Engine Ode
& other poems

Monique Jonath
a mi sheberach
& other poems

Lisa Rachel Apple
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Human Condition
& other poems

Kirsten Hippe-Rychlik
and we are echoes
& other poems

Devon Bohm
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
I Rest My Mother Tongue
& other poems

John Delaney
Poem as Map
& other poems

Elizabeth Bayou-Grace
Fire in Paradise
& other poems

In Utero
& other poems

Michelle Lerner
Ode to Exhaustion
& other poems

William French
I Have Never Been
& other poems

Josiah Patterson Wheatley
Coeur de Fleurs
& other poems

Karo Ska
womb song
& other poems

Robyn Joy
& other poems

Han Raschka
Love Language
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
The Memory in My Pinky
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
Europe, too, Came from Somewhere Else
& other poems

Scott Ruescher
At the Childhood Home of Ozzy Osbourne
& other poems

Emily R. Daniel
Visitation Dreams
& other poems

Lindsay Gioffre
Toxicodendron Radicans [Sonnet 1]
& other poems


In Utero

An ant is placed in my mother’s womb

to move new rhythms

& I become kaleidoscopic,

a melanoid drum

fluttering against a colony’s heartbeat.

Her cervix crushes me

& I know this is more than devotion

my ancestors fabled.

In my dreams

I am her legacy

or lapse in judgement, named

to bring forth a new charm.

I come into the world loud,

head first.

My inheritance hanging in garlands

from my wrists,

red ore encased

by a band of fluid

too thick to unravel.

I shimmer.

I feel wet slick,

open & give what she kept inside,

a chance

to sprout from my hands.

I must be good

if I am worthy

of being loved that much.

I take a breath

& form cells into flesh.

I exhale

to dwell amongst these bones,

to find the place most possible

to evolve

(from the beginning).

Creation Story

Somewhere undercover

a rupture of self

(or the sweetest rye

in the gardens

on the south side),

remains a project.

Creation gathers to feed us

beneath watchtowers

that once stood tall & erect—

like an edifice

of equal parts maroon & fuse.

Like mother like daughter

to pursue the place

where concrete cracks

& your older siblings say

the sidewalk spat you out like a sacrifice.

Kids know grief better

if we review impact in numbers:

one lived to be

the only evidence of ten conceived

by two lovers, searching

for light or darker substances

in each other;

drifting their wonder

between an opening

already collecting my breaths,

so I could become

the gift they left.


A crowd gathers         to build a girl

twisting each cell       in its infinite hands

to manufacture perfection

all of them clamor           to peer through windows

to see a girl         waiting

for her limbs to be bent to mimic

a travel destination

each arm & leg & thigh is stretched

& outlined into landing strips for men

on journeys elsewhere—

perhaps like glass she’s dusted               each piece mosaiced

for her own private viewing

in each town                  the girl becomes           a vacancy

to be desired

to be filled                     she must decide if being a woman

or a refuge                     no one ever asks to come inside of

to stay

is worth a debt that will never be repaid.

After Asking God
Why “Good” Women Exist

I search google for the definition: feminism

The only result to arc toward the girl

asking fragile questions. That’s it—

when a piece of your body leaves you

longing for your lineage, searching for purpose

that begins in a woman’s bewildered screams

why did this happen?

I wander a path & find a girl unnamed.

She tells me there are many ways to become undone

like some of our sins are more delightful than others,

some wrapped in red just to unravel a resolve.

Before I understand the impact of what she unearths

I see a blade on the ground

next to the only fruit the tree could ever grow.

She weeps above it & I pity Mary’s sacrificial womb.

Maybe the gift of life was never His to give—

maybe it was Hers.

But what a terrible dream to defer,

to peel back doubt like a supple rind

with no hesitation or fear to say, “here I am,”

announcing relief, to know the courage it takes

to step in, to seize the knife, to know true belief.

Monaye uses language and fine art as a means to create innovative, transformative, and immersive stories of power and femininity. Her perspective aims to combat injustice and empower women through the influence of political theories such as Intersectionality and Africana Womanism. Monaye holds a B.A. in Gender Women and Sexuality Studies.

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