E. Laura Golberg 

Contributor Biography

E. Laura Golberg's poetry has appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, Laurel Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Spillway, RHINO, and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, among other places. She won first place in the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts Larry Neal Poetry Competition. Her poem, “Erasure”, was nominated for a Pushcart 2021 Prize. Her website is: www.ELauraGolberg.com/.

Despondent

I’m feeling grim. I’ve Churchill’s black dog 
spreading like Rorschach’s inkblot.
I watch it move, seek its motivation.
I want to learn the bones, sinews, 
muscles, its sire and dam, 

                                             its lineage. 
I want to understand the way it creeps 
over me, wraps its paws around my mouth 
to silence me, prevent my one successful 
antidote—to describe the dog, feel its heft. 

My Life As A Cabbage

                          For LH

My parents said I was a cabbage,
mistook the solid, stolid sphere 
for dullness, vacuity. For me, inside, 
I told myself to douse the regenerative 
flame of my fury, became a ball 
of quashed anger, veins bulging.  
They taught me not to show it. 
So I drew my crinkled leaves 
about my capacious heart and became 
that cabbage. I watch my exemplar, 
learn to hold others gently in my arms 
as cabbage leaves hold meat and rice. 
I still curl up sometimes. Find me,
round, pale green, rigid.
 

Abandonment 

When you have, yet again, forgotten to glance 
at the list on the back door or at the stack 
of taxes still standing exactly where they were, 
two months ago, I imagine abandoning you,

just walking out. When I pass the neighbor's 
garage, doors rotted off years ago, 
there's a blue recliner, sitting askew, by itself 
near the garbage can, reminding me each time.

Our friend, Jessie, decamped from her husband, 
just packed her overnight bag and left, 
having, for years, folded and stored 
her growing piles of resentment.

But I can't do it, can't leave you, the kids 
forever hating me. Then there's you, 
sometimes not remembering, and never 
understanding, what has happened. 

Migs Bravo Dutt 

Contributor Biography

Migs Bravo Dutt has published in several countries, regions, and cultures. She has contributed poetry to various anthologies and journals in Singapore, Asia, Croatia, and the USA. Her short fiction has appeared in 22 New Asian Short Stories 2016 and The Best Asian Short Stories 2018. She has co-edited Get Lucky: An Anthology of Philippine and Singapore Writings. She is the author of The Rosales House from Penguin Random House SEA. 

Home Staging

You arrived unannounced one day 
And stood there as though you didn’t know 
That you weren’t welcome in my house
I grabbed you tightly from the front door 
And pushed you fast to the basement 
Like a contraband I must hide
Here, I said, you can make a home
As long as you don’t make a noise
I left you there and locked the door 
That for days I tried to ignore

And for a while it was easier 
To pretend that you were absent
But today you let out a wail
That reverberated through the walls
I unlocked the door hesitantly
And you spiralled out like the wind
Stopping only to press at buttons 
That beat my chest and wrung my heart
Bringing a tight lump to my throat 
Finally you flowed out of my eyes

In the aftermath there’s only silence 
Like a house when a family departs 
It’s suddenly quiet, but not peaceful 
Leaving me buoyant, and yet incomplete 
I know now to welcome you in next time
And to stop hiding you at the basement 
After all you’re at once a shadow that looms 
And a shade that allows the light to shine 
Every morning when I rise I must learn 
To greet you as though you promise the sun