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Poetry Winter 2021    fiction    all issues


Andrej Lišakov

Laura Apol
I Take a Realtor through the House
& other poems

Rebekah Wolman
How I Want my Body Taken
& other poems

Devon Bohm
The Word
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Right Kind of Woman
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Gravestone Flowers
& other poems

Laura Turnbull
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier
A Fistful of Ennui
& other poems

Peter Kent
Reflections on the Late Nuclear Attack on Boston
& other poems

Carol Barrett
Canal Poem #8: Hides
& other poems

Alix Lowenthal
Abortion Clinic Waiting Room
& other poems

Latrise P. Johnson
From My Women
& other poems

Brenna Robinson
& other poems

may panaguiton
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell
The Life That Scattered
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Two Stairways
& other poems

Richard Baldo
A Note to Prepare You
& other poems

Blake Foster
Aubade from the Coast
& other poems

Bernard Horn
& other poems

Harald Edwin Pfeffer
Still stiff with morning cold
& other poems

Nia Feren
Neon Orange Tree Trunks
& other poems

Everett Roberts
A Mourning Performance
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
The Way I Wander
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
the iron maiden and other adornments
& other poems

Writer's Site

Olivia Dorsey Peacock

beady bead blues

tightly coiled tufts

fall on cold linoleum tile

for a moment suspended

aghast at

their forced separation.

it’s my fault

often content letting

roots remain tangled

introducing wide tooth comb

coercion only

when nimble fingers

could not ease away

fragile strands

never was there

time to nurture them

and when did I

start to value

weekday 9 to 5s

over my own cultivation?

will my daughter

take after her mother?

Lord knows I was tender-headed.


to the girls

who made me squirm

inside the rawness of my cocoon

conducting marionette dances

early evening late-night sleepovers

the droning of quick buck, rebel just because skater-girls

you taught me

how light pancakes

quickly brown turned burnt

in Georgian sun,

who was icky and

dirty and stinky and gross,

how to be one of few,

and those who could not

and how no matter how many times

itchy scalps scab drowning in lye pools,

my hair would never bounce the same

that when white boys called me,

it was to see what it was like

to be with someone of a different shade.

I grew through bravado

willing my esteem to bare

through citrus husks

in the hopes that one day

apathy would will itself,

flowing, burning through clenched fists.

how to lose a clarinet solo

it began gradually

forming in status inherited

on a high school football field.

I was loudest out of self-sacrifice

petite stature

unafraid to bulge cranial veins

free notes from wooden cage

if it meant our instruments

being heard

the moment was to be brief—a retreat of brass

a whispering of woodwinds

letting me soar

high above the unkempt grass

I emerged alone.

caught my parents’ eyes first

across the 20-yard line

aware of the freshmen,

peers at my back

expectation-filled and hanging—

this was seniority.

I was act four.

it wasn’t more than 8 bars

quick, crisp perfection

pounded into memory, fingers

clicked metal

night, day

but chipped reeds, rotted padding

formed my shell of confidence

fumbling musical spew reached short of

that single high A

the catalyst for its fracture

silence born from the keys

mere exhausted puff

failed to connect

I submitted myself

tears and sweat streaming

down polyester jacket,

crumbling back into the uniformed mass.

the iron maiden and other adornments

incessant self-criticisms remind me to wrap the unreachable enough

in gauze mummy-style tight around my brittle frame

I carry myself as slippery ceramics

that fall between butter-fingered grasp

I grind details into the ground until ash

loop indecisions into infinities

think too much, talk too much and too little

blinded by what I don’t know

my flaws have become the pyre,

those who are better than myself, the ropes

self-deprecation, the eager match

desperate, frantic,

my last words were—

trust me my thoughts will follow through this time and

I’ll perfectly balance strategic spontaneity

on bird’s nest head

hold my weight confidently as voluptuous pillows

not twigs and flat bottom

I’ll unpack the densest lines into a single thread of continuity,

find my competence—

if I sacrifice my ego

on this altar,

what will remain?

Olivia Dorsey Peacock is a creative technologist from North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in A Garden of Black Joy and Sixfold (Summer 2018). She holds degrees in Information Science from UNC Chapel Hill. When she’s not writing poetry, you can find her researching her family history, experimenting with new ways to share underrepresented histories, or eating good food with her husband.

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