New Stories for August 19, 2019

Partnered with Tacoma Reads and Writes

“Patina, Unturning” by Daniel Wolfert

When first they raised Patina in Green

She towered, impassive, above the black waters

And although we knew not why they shivered and shook

The faraway monsters feared as she peered east.

 

“Behold this, our might,” cried the forefathers fiercely

“Behold this, the one we have raised from the depths

She of the Sea-Washed

Our Mother of Exiles.”

 

“Exiles?

Fwah!”

My Grandmother spits.

“What might do they have,

These wool-headed men?

What right do they have,

To speak of the Sea-Washed?

When we washed ourselves here, in these

The black waters

When She in the Green was not even a thought.”

 

Grandmother spits

And she sits in her fury.

 

When first she brought forth her Tablet in Sage

Patina in Green carved her symbols in stone

A story of times long before she had risen

That she would not speak for the weak and the wretched.

 

“Behold this, our Queen,” cried the forefathers fiercely

“Behold this, the one that would stand at the gate

She of the Yearning

Our Mother of Masses.”

 

“Masses?

Nyah,”

My Grandfather sighs.

“What choice did we have,

Among faraway monsters?

What voice did we have,

Among all of the Yearning?

When earning a place beyond She in the Green

Cost only the ship fare and all that we knew?”

 

Grandfather sighs

And he cries in the old tongue.

 

To continue reading “Patina, Unturning” click here.

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“Words She Taught Me” by James Moynahan

Dark river, what therefore must I do?

When the weight of heart & flesh,

lays pale & unmovable. Strung forward by your current

like leafs nearest a stream

kiss then all our memories, goodnight?

 

When bed meant her collarbone

on a midnight ride

our destination I can’t remember.

Only, the rhythmic punctuation of lamplight dye

Only . . .

in tunnel darkness, she wisped, “Mijo?”

the word warm with her breath

tapping the bend of my neck

I gave no response, a flutterlash of closedlids . . .

 

Still you spoke,

your heart to mine, beating through your breast

 

. . . “Noches, mi amor.” The meaning I did not know but felt.

 

Once, womb-locked

my heart

needed hers’

to beat.

What were those sweet words in the womb?

To continue reading “Words She Taught Me”  click here.

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“He Cuts the Engine to Show Us the First One” by Christina Butcher

17 crosses on the river & he cuts the engine to show us the first one

proud fisherman-turned-tour guide

 

who earlier this morning hoisted a rope,

slick & wet, from the water

 

one end tied to the platform

the other to a net

swollen with oysters.

 

The moon was still out & the boat tilted as everyone leaned over its side,

port. please, teach me, I hear myself say

 

Obrigada.”

 

Silvio’s words return to me like waves,

lapping against the edges of my third eye.

 

Boat.

 

“Say it as if there is no obligation.”

 

“Schto mutu grata,”

Silvio, I fall in love with men like you.

 

But this morning, under this moon on this water,

(which admittedly is all water & all moons)

I count cruceiros, Rio Ulla, no time for love.

To continue reading “He Cuts the Engine to Show Us the First One ” click here.

 

“At Sea” by Erik Carlsen

My father and I went out on the boat

To scatter her ashes where we set the crab pots

So that when the rest of the family asks

Where we scattered her ashes, we can say

That we scattered them where we set the crab pots

And they will know.

 

A lot of the ashes blew into my hair.

The pieces clung to my hair like a field of white crosses.

 

My grandfather could do pullups with his fingertips.

He gave me stitches when I was a child. I do not even remember

Being hurt.

 

We set the crab pots where my grandfather did.

He would yell at my father how my father yells at me,

To pull faster, count faster. I got pinched by one of the crabs

And still kept counting. I counted until my fingernail fell off.

 

To continue reading “At Sea” click here.

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