“Damocles” by Jennifer Wholey

Visitants

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A haibun

 

Brush firmly tangled into a deep nest of my hair, I learned about the sword of Damocles from my father one perfect Hawaiian evening. The sun was a picturesque blur of color bleeding on the horizon; I knew the brush must stay in my hair until it set, or I would surely die. I feared the knives asleep in the kitchen island, the balcony of the bedroom loft, my mother’s too-reassuring smile. I needn’t be afraid, my father said, of a sword hanging over my head by a horse’s hair, lest I waste away wondering when it might drop.

 

Sea swallows sunlight:

treading water endlessly,

fear digs in its heels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Wholey is a poet, journalist and editor. She is an AWP Writer to Writer Mentee, and a reader for Palette Poetry. Her work has recently been published in Panoply, and Sheila-Na-Gig’s ‘Under 30’ collection. She earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in communication (and medieval studies) from Cornell University. Jennifer lives in upstate New York with her husband and two dogs.

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“Burn” and “Salt Water Haibun” by Courtney LeBlanc

Visitants

Poetry Courtney LeBlanc

BURN

I sit in front of the fire, the wood so dry
it pops, embers rain out, a small burn
marks the rug, evidence
of the offense.

When I met him the spark glowed hot.
How quickly I reacted, knowing to let it smolder
could mean a home in flames. I don’t
always do this, extinguish the fires that burn
low, snuff out the desires before they can rage,
burning everything to the ground.

By the end of winter the rug is filled with tiny
black holes, embers leaving their mark,
a reverse constellation. By the end of winter
I have let desire burn hot enough to melt
all reason.

 

 

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SALT WATER HAIBUN

On my last day there he calls, tells me we’re going on an adventure. I throw my clothes into my suitcase and head his way.

The sun is blinding,
blue skies stretch infinitely,
trees verdant and bright.

He gets in, towel in hand, directs me into traffic. He doesn’t say where we’re going and I don’t ask. Twenty minutes later we arrive. We’re going into the Mermaid Caves, he says.

Water pummeled rock,
the sea surging, careful –
one must check the tides.

He lowers himself into the water, through the hole in the ground. I can see the waves crashing, the glittering sun through the water. I follow and we wade further into this strange watery world. Eventually he boosts me out of the hole, follows behind me. I kiss his salty lips.

Relentless waves roll,
the ocean never stopping,
no mermaids appear.

 

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Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press) and is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix ReviewThe Legendary, Germ MagazineQuail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill PressHaunted Waters Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog, follow her on twitter, or find her on facebook.