BY KELSEY SMOOT
Like shorts off of hips
that forgot to feed themselves during the cold months
The shadows, that once cloaked the horizon’s secret inlets, stripped away
No more hiding in darkness
Lightning bugs tousle my nephew’s hair
Every street corner buzzes with the white hot energy
of onlookers and showstoppers
I smile smugly—
a deceptively fruity concoction makes my head airy with bold assessments and boyish humor
I trade war tales with a socialite,
and become her very willing captive
Parading about the city in fine linens
I forget my transient existence in the bright lights of novelty
in the midst of a lunar love tryst
in the thickness of southern evening
I hear the familiar sound of silence
I stop to listen to the quiet
remove my shoes and plant myself in earth
I cannot ignore the subtle message of the breeze
that sweeps coolly overhead, and then intensifies,
nearly toppling me and all of my collected trinkets
The long moment finally passes
the air calms,
the sounds re-emerge
But I have already moved away from the crowd
taking swift, deliberate steps
my eyes retrained to the east—homebound
THE RICHMOND ACTOR
BY PETE SHELDON
The Richmond actor must drink and laugh through his sorrow.
Though his laugh be hollow and the drink be deep
Starts in fits and struts
He bows to hungover applause
Returning to his keep for a nightcap of beer, whiskey and tears
A DESPERATE HUE
BY GRACIE DESANTIS
I’ll glitter gold for you.
I’ll shine like a firefly,
even after twilight alights
and dusk puts you to bed.
I’ll hide my gray days
behind sugar clouds in lemonade.
I’ll dye my hair to look like lilacs.
Your favorite of the blooms we picked.
I’ll wear the cornflower frock
you ate up with dripping butter
the first time you saw me.
I’ll grow you a garden, water it daily.
I’ll pluck burning sunrise tomato fruit
and placid morning glories
who peek dainty from their dewy petticoats
while wasps whisper underneath.
Burgundy in an autumn cotton field,
the stain of my lips and cheeks,
and whatever else you reap of me
when you play upon my flesh.
BY GORDON JEFFERSON