2 Poems | Lana Bella

2 Poems

by Lana Bella

 

CURFEW

Staining your fingers with

graphite, you wrecked until

the lake flicked its tails to

cerulean mosaics of silence

along the track of curfew.

Pooled the half-light between

lips, you watched a windfall

of fireflies brushed sideways

across the hum of water like

threads split at the tapestry,

more so in whispers of cloth,

wind strewn, filtering veins

of autumn petals. Phantom

hands reached in to touch,

picked amaryllis against red-

startled birds, held to a bare

bulb, winged indigo in your

shallow bow.

 

 

INTERRUPTURE

Sometimes a single boat turns

to hush, when the thundering sea

lurches from daring to dread,

like a lone muezzin’s contralto

intoning at solitary closed vowels.

Mnemonic, disembodied inside

the sky between foreground

and background, where miasma

would have sped sepia through,

the naked sun orbits silent in

the womb of shadows, pulls along

the propellers of earth’s plane,

conical licks brightened the nuclear

sanctum by mirrored stars.

 


A three-time Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 400 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, Expound, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Waccamaw, Word/For Word, among others, and work to appear in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3. Lana resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. 

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Issue #3

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Editor’s Note | Katelyn Dunne

POETRY

2 Poems| Shelby Dale DeWeese

2 Poems| Michael Prihoda

Fall From Grace| Margaret Fieland

3 Poems| Andrea Blythe & Laura Madeline Wiseman

UnWelcomed, UnAskedFor| Lisa Marie Brodsky

2 Poems| Sarah Cooper

2 Poems| Lana Bella

 

FICTION

Agnes Dei| Angele Ellis

 

ARTWORK

Diverge (cover art) | Orooj-e-Zafar

Editor’s Note | Katelyn Dunne

Putting together this issue these last few weeks has left me feeling very sentimental. Three weeks from now marks the day that The Drowning Gull‘s astounding Founder and Chief Editor, Tiegan Dakin, accepted me to head the rag-tag group of staff as the Managing Editor. Since that day, my time here has truly been incredible.

Throughout this past year, I’ve seen staff members change (and be dearly missed), issue formats changing and growing, the birth of the Sea Salt series, and incredible relationships form between authors and staff.

Seeing these connections bloom has been my favorite part of this whole adventure. As a character says from Pretty Little Liars, “we’re all connected like a big bowl of linguine.” Each time a writer sent a piece into this journal, a connection was formed; each time I reached out to authors for Penned, a connection was formed; each time a reader picked up this humble lit mag, a connection was formed. Sometimes, it feels like, as writers, we are floating out into the world, incredibly alone and continually vulnerable. We feel like there’s no one to see us, no one to hear us. The incredible things taking place here prove otherwise.

 

I am honored to say that I’ll be stepping up to take over The Drowning Gull. Tiegan will be deeply missed and she will always remain the golden treasure for TDG. I am forever grateful to her; she made a dream come true for me. I look forward to honoring Tiegan’s creative vision while also continuing to move TDG in a forward direction. I can’t wait to be a part of the lives of more writers, editors, and artists. We are all part of the same dream. There is a lot of art out there yearning to be created and recognized, and that is what The Drowning Gull will continue to do.

 

I’d like to thank the contributors to this issue and everyone who submitted a piece that came of blood, sweat, and tears. To all the readers, thank you. We are doing this all for you; you make every second worth it. And, most of all, a big thank you to Tiegan for being TDG’s undying backbone and keeping this dream alive.

Thank you all for the most incredible year of my life. The Drowning Gull may be small, but we are all in this together, we are all on the same journey. Enjoy this issue, you’ve all deserved it!

 

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

Blessings to all of you out there,

Katie Dunne

Managing Editor

Agnes Dei | Angele Ellis

Agnes Dei

by Angele Ellis

 

Agnes Dei

On our second date, he said he had a surprise for me. The maître d’ led us into an intimate dining room whose winking electric chandeliers made the cream damassin tablecloths almost too bright to bear.

A glass of white wine and an appetizer I recognized as a designer version of spanakopita, dusted with paprika and garnished with baby onions and rosemary, relaxed me into thinking that I belonged there. I forgot that my dress was striped cotton, my purse from a Mexican street stall, my necklace of variegated stone beads the handmade gift of a friend, and my flat sandals woven hemp and pleather.

Until the main course, set down by a tuxedoed waiter with a flourish: rack of lamb. A lamb—her poor thin ribs upended for display, each roasted bone wearing a papillote. So much like a human corpse, laid out in a ruffled blouse.

I’d told my date that I ate vegetarian—mostly—but I hadn’t stressed this habit. A first date seemed too soon for what was much more than politics or concern over the fate of the earth.

Now I was confronted by my earliest trauma.

My parents weren’t farmers, although we lived in a house on a few acres of land. We had a big garden bordered by berry bushes, and Mother made sauce and jam, and filled a locker freezer with vegetables we couldn’t eat in season. To be neighborly, to try to fit in, she would bring a basket with these things when there was a birth, an illness, or a death. She put flowered handwritten labels even on her white cardboard boxes of frozen goods.

I don’t remember which of the neighbors gave her Agnes.

Agnes, the sickly motherless black lamb my mother was too embarrassed to refuse. Agnes, who wouldn’t have survived if eight-year- old me hadn’t fed her with a bottle, cuddled her in a heated blanket, sung to her, brushed her soft curls. Agnes, who slept next to my bed, and then on a mattress in the old potting shed I cleaned out for her. Agnes—who would take grass and clover straight from my hands, but from no one else’s. She was more than my pet; she was my best friend.

Perhaps Mother would have let me keep Agnes if Daddy—who sold used cars—hadn’t had a few months of low commissions. (I pieced this together later, from arguments I overheard.) Daddy told me that he’d given Agnes to a petting zoo several towns away. She was getting too big for us, he said.

Daddy wasn’t thinking of Bobby Carney when he lied to me.

Bobby was the bully of my year, a fat boy perpetually growing out of his clothes, which were hand-me- downs and never clean. After I’d spoken in class about Agnes—I still have the lavishly crayoned picture I drew of us together—Bobby wouldn’t stop teasing me.

“Lambs ain’t pets, Susie. Even dogs ain’t pets.” He went on to tell me about watching his father shoot their hunting dog in the head “when Rex got too wore out to hunt or even to drag hisself around.”

I shiver when I think of the Carneys’ ramshackle farmhouse and barn, and the ragtag children who weren’t pets, either.

It was the day after Thanksgiving weekend when Bobby swaggered toward me, smacking his blubbery lips and boasting that instead of turkey, his family had eaten fresh roast lamb, as tender as anything you could get in this world.

“That lamb was damn sweet—as sweet as if it was raised by a girl, even a dumb girl who’d name it Agnes.”

The next thing I knew, I woke up in the nurse’s office. I’d fainted, sustaining two black eyes in the process.

I lied, too. I said that Bobby Carney had pushed me on the playground. Principals still paddled kids, then; I watched with satisfaction as Bobby got it good.

I never regretted that, never had any sympathy for Bobby and his ignorant family. There had been no merciful bullet for Agnes. I knew that they’d slit her throat, using her lifeblood to make puddings to suck into greedy mouths. I knew that the black lamb cuffs and collar that appeared on the droopy mud-brown coat Mrs. Carney wore to church were cut from the pelt I used to stroke, feeling Agnes’s heart beat faster with joy.

The damassin tablecloth looked like a shroud to my aching eyes. Across the table, my carnivore date was grinning at me. How greasy his lips were. Lips more blubbery than Bobby Carney’s. Lips that I’d planned to kiss.

For the second time in my life, I fainted.

There was no third date.

 


Angele Ellis is author of Under the Kaufmann’s Clock (Six Gallery Press), a hybrid illustrated collection of flash fiction and poetry inspired by her adopted city of Pittsburgh, Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), whose poems won her an Individual Artist Fellowship from the PA Council on the Arts. Her poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in over 60 publications–including American Book Review, Grey Sparrow, Italian Americana, Mizna, Prime Number, Rogue Agent, and Yew. Two of the following three things are true: Angele committed civil disobedience seven times, seriously dated a man 20 years her junior, and parachuted from an airplane to celebrate the release of her first poetry collection.

2 Poems | Michael Prihoda

2 Poems

by Michael Prihoda

 

Food

play at being

more whole

 

than a fully

stocked aisle.

 

play at being

more full

 

than factory-

coded picture

 

frames. you

ingest so

 

much gristle

it’s wonder

 

how you

shave away

 

all but

marrow.

 

 

Narrow

and we

or you

or i

or us

or them

are supposed

to like it this way

and we do

for a time

until we see

the way it is actually

and forget to breathe

until we breathe

for finding some air, some brush,

some time to make this right again.

 


Michael Prihoda is a writer, editor, and teacher from Indianapolis, IN. He is the editor of the literary magazine and small press After the Pause. Publications of poetry, flash fiction, and art have appeared in Potluck, Rasasvada, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Spelk Fiction, among other locales. He is also the author of two chapbooks and five poetry collections, the most recent of which is The First Breath You Take After You Give Up (Weasel Press, 2016).

Fall From Grace | Margaret Fieland

Fall From Grace

by Margaret Fieland

 

Fall From Grace

Devil in black and white

smiles down

 

on tan teak curves

of dining room table:

 

spoonfuls of clear cerise

Consomme Madrilene,

 

garlicky bites of lamb

garnished with mint jelly,

 

lemon-cloud mouthfuls

of Mom’s chiffon pie,

 

while Satan seduces Eve

with a pale outline of apple

 


Margaret Fieland has lived in the Boston area since 1978. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein’s “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. In spite of earning her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to put up the first version of her website, a clear indication of the computer generation gap. Thanks to her father’s relentless hounding, she can still recite the rules for pronoun agreement in both English and French. She can also write backwards and wiggle her ears. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Melusine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is the author of four science fiction novels and a collection of science fiction persona poems.

2 Poems | Shelby Dale DeWeese

2 Poems

by Shelby Dale DeWeese

 

THE KNOWLEDGE OF DIRT

   of grapevines &

                                   umbilical cords

              bloody knots in bassinets

man swings across the creek, baby on his back

                                                                                  vine

                                                                       snaps

           the knowledge of salty haybales

     smothering             an aging border collie

flannel buttonups, red paisley handkerchiefs

                            the word don’t

               and cigarette butts, limp frog bodies in the gravel

collecting them is our game.

 

 

GHOST

I keep punching

an approximation of your body

into the memory foam, dumping

your soap into the hole.

The neighbors could always

hear us through the vents,

we knew it because we could

hear them, because they would

stop talking whenever we fought.

Now I play old voicemails from you

and talk back and wonder

if they are still listening.

 


Shelby Dale DeWeese grew up on a farm in the southeast United States, but currently lives and writes in California. She is an MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco, and her poems have appeared in such publications as Rust+Moth, Quaint Magazine, and Marathon Literary Review. When she’s not writing her own poetry, she and a former pirate captain encourage elementary school students to write original creative stories at 826 Valencia. Visit her online at shelbydaledeweese.com.