By Alyssa Plant
The Fruitless Explorer
(The Arctic Circle, 1853)
He mounts the sled, fresh with new dogs,
looks to the other men, and yells
for the dogs to go. He travels
over the glacier, feeling it’s pure
enormity, how these men, they are
not in control here. But, it’s hard for
him to embrace the beauty, when
his body aches, he can feel his legs
swelling, and everytime he runs
his tongue over his teeth, he tastes
blood. Yet, he is not scared, no,
he has a mission, and can already
feel his fame.
By Salome Aydlett
It’s 12:45 a.m. and it’s surreal here too
I find that all life events can be seen as
Our hearts beat a rhythm
And if we try hard enough, we can come up with our own rhymes.
However we can lose the motion of the poem
It happens in the weirdest of times and the strangest of places
Like a 7-11 after midnight
On the corner of a dark street
With fluorescent lights flickering
Like the blinking of tired eyes
Except they’ve been open so long that when the bulb goes dark for a moment
It’s the eyes finally closing
Only opening again to stare at a display of Ritz Crackers.
I feel like if I touched the Ritz Crackers my hand would go through them
Like a cheesy 80’s video game
I can hear the soundtrack behind me
Except that my soundtrack seems to be off brand hip hop music from 2014
Sometimes it happens and it’s 5 a.m. on an airplane to Ohio in the dead of winter
I look out the window
But it’s dark because it’s 5 a.m.
The recycled air inside the cabin becomes my rhythm
The flight attendant pushes the cart full of food and drink down the aisle
I would like some coffee
But I can’t have any because I can’t have caffeine.
Maybe they have decaf
It tastes fine that way
By Helen Bovington
Over and Over
We have had this conversation before
Like every other time you say you are
proud of me.
It’s the same flame conference in a different
setting almost but not quite like a book.
A book has an end but I am
made to go through this torture over and
Sometimes you sit on a red couch
or a green bed or at a
small cafe table with mosaic on
the top so that the decaf coffee
you sip never quite sits
flat. Our bond is bondage.
In this place that we live
a place meant to set people free from their
so that they can refresh and renew,
I am stuck like a fish on a hook. Or antlers on a wall.
My sacrifice is your trophy
a sacrifice I had no control over for I only wanted to live
and to live passionately.
By Melina Scott
The Deer With Blue Eyes
1817, The North American Rocky Mountains
I’ve been following him for two long weeks
The deer that will feed me for five
He’s become the only thought I think
The only thing that guarantees I survive.
I was desperate when I shot him
Id been hunting him for days
I fired and heard it hit him
But his figure was simply a haze.
I couldn’t track him very well after that,
Going mostly by drops of blood.
The winter storms that came in spats
Always hid his tracks in the mud.
I ran out of food three days before this
My canteen dry and drained
I’ve started to wish for death’s cold kiss
But for him I must remain.
He’s my fervent obsession
The only one I need
If given but one possession
For him I’d surely plead.
My other focus is the hunger
My stomach stretched painfully tight
And as I trace him through the lumber
Relief is nowhere in my sight.
But finally, I stumble
Over his form under the snow
And to my knees I crumble
And cry thanks to the Lord unknown.
But as I brush the snow off of his back
To accept my long sought prize
I feel my smile go suddenly slack
Because his are not deer’s eyes.
The man that lay before me
A man that I’d mistook,
Had eyes once blue like the waving sea
But that now no longer look.
The most dazzling blue ever assembled,
Framed by lines of red,
Gazed up at the sky they resembled,
Cold and hard and dead.
It was then I realized
Kneeling there hungry and mad
Either choice I had to make
Would lead to something unearthly bad.
Alongside him I could die there
Of starvation instilled
Or I could cut myself a share
And my stomach at last fill
I live on to tell this tale
What this means should seem implied
Through my choice I had prevailed
Thanks to the deer with blue eyes.
By Hannah Simonson