Alison Stone’s published seven collections include Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), and They Sing at Midnight (2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, and many others. She won Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award. She’s a painter and created The Stone Tarot.
Four and a half minutes from gold,
Todd Eldredge has nailed this routine so often,
he can skate it in his sleep. But this time,
slightly off on the axel’s landing,
he only doubles the triple toeloop.
He doubles the next, then singles,
one flubbed jump leading to another,
his future falling away. To save himself
he adds an extra triple,
looking for a second like he has it
before falling to the ice.
We all have moments that reduce us,
wobbly planks in our life’s staircase
that years later send us crashing down.
Because his torso tilted slightly to the left,
(because I went to the One Hundred Club that night….)
Todd sweats backstage while large screens broadcast his mistakes—
slow motion on the misstep, close-up of the fall.
Because he was sick in ’84 and injured in ’88,
(because my parents were too young)
because someone decided three stand on the podium
and he is fourth,
Todd tries philosophy.
Everyone does not get everything they want.
Twenty-six, he is too old to try again,
so I decide to roll time backward, let him change the moments
that will change his life.
Then keep rewinding,
back to art school; I will shove “expelled” back into the director’s mouth
and return my supplies to the shelf—pencils sharp, paint gleaming.
Rewrite even further—untie the belt from my arm,
unthrow the dishes in my mother’s hands,
make my brother unbreak down the door. Ungo, unfeel, unsay….
With each undoing my body lightens.
Neck unfreezes, shoulder blades slide down,
belly loosens, pelvis comes unlocked.
Sequins glimmer on my short skirt
as I twirl with Todd.
The judges all write 6 when we emerge from death spins
To nail flawless loops and salchow combinations,
every one-foot landing clean and dazzling.
Quentin Brown is an 18-year-old author based in Adelaide who writes poetry and stories for young adults. His work has been featured in numerous publications, festivals, radio shows, and local protests defending the rights of marginalised groups.
You hold the joint in your skeletal fingertips and examine the fragile paper twist, the grainy green glow. They teach you how to inhale until embers dance at your fingertips, until flesh and bone turn to woodsmoke and you exhale dragonfire. You get all the way to the filter before you cough, and you are proud of yourself. They smile and tell you that you are perfect. The world catches the echo.
Flicking the ashes onto pavers reminds you of your mother, clutching at your spine with too-tight skin and swimming eyes.
You don’t want to smoke anymore
Stick n Poke
It’s a silent, soft rebellion
There is no screaming
No slammed doors
Just jet-black droplets embedded in my skin
By the people I love most
I can taste the adrenaline in the back of my throat
Like sugar-sweet vodka
I shake until you hold my hand tight
I show you my scars
And you smile with sadness in your eyes
Covering them with the moonlit promise
That it won’t hurt anymore