AT THE GOODWILL
by Jeffrey Zable
I’m in the Haight Street Goodwill, rounding one isle to check out another,
when I come across this woman, probably around 30,
whose face is completely tattooed in blue.
The tattoos are all lines, shapes, and symbols,
and the only parts that aren’t tattooed are her lips and ears.
As our eyes meet, I noticeably flinch,
but immediately try to gain my composure and even smile at her,
though she seems to know it isn’t natural.
I then realize that her arms, and what I can see of her legs,
are completely tattooed, and I imagine that her whole body looks this way.
She’s a scary, disturbed looking person,
which makes me feel uncomfortable, yet badly for her.
I also think that she must be extremely lonely,
but reflect on the fact that I too often feel very lonely.
I then wonder if she has a friend or group of people
who accepts the way she looks and what she’s done to herself.
I’m considering all this while looking at different shirts on the rack,
while she continues to look at shirts toward the end of the rack.
As she turns to leave, I feel like I want to say something to her,
maybe some words encouragement,
but ultimately decide to let things alone,
and continue on down the rack,
which contains mostly tired old shirts that I wouldn’t even wear
if I were given them for free. . .
Bio: Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in MockingHeart Review, Remington Review, Ink In Thirds, Third Wednesday, Awkward Mermaid, Soft Cartel, The Bitchin’ Kitch, Rosette Maleficarum and many others.
by Robert Beveridge
You are the diamond ring,
I the box it came in. A set
others cannot understand. A jewel
bright, alone, flocked with admirers
that makes any finger that wears it
more beautiful. The box,
so often discarded or lost, seems
no more than a conveyance,
an accessory, the consolation
price that comes along
with the real treasure.
So few people notice the box
it achieves a kind of invisibility,
And those who do so often
overlook it that it becomes
scenery, decoration, clutter.
Only a rare few remember
that the two are a matched set,
a perfect fit on those occasions
they find themselves together.
Bio:Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Savant-Garde, Other People's Flowers, and The Indiana Horror Review, among others.
Cradling the Heart
by Ute Carson
cutout paper hearts,
hearts of gold,
all symbols of the one heart,
sweet, malleable and strong,
pulsing through a life’s years.
Unless you take tender care of it,
it will wither and die.
Bio: A writer from youth and an M.A. graduate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester, German-born Ute Carson published her first prose piece in 1977. Colt Tailing, a 2004 novel, was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award. Carson’s story “The Fall” won Outrider Press’s Grand Prize and appeared in its short story and poetry anthology A Walk Through My Garden, 2007. Her second novel In Transit was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in the US and abroad. Carson’s poetry was featured on the televised Spoken Word Showcase 2009, 2010 and 2011, Channel Austin, Texas. A poetry collection, Just a Few Feathers was published in 2011. The poem “A Tangled Nest of Moments” placed second in the Eleventh International Poetry Competition 2012. Her chapbook Folding Washing was published in 2013 and her collection of poems My Gift to Life was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Award Prize. Save the Last Kiss, a novella, was published in 2016. Her new poetry collection Reflections was out in 2018. Ute Carson resides in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, a horse and a clowder of cats. www.utecarson.com