imaginary arrows

i am not far from the song of the meadowlark
and i never intended to play house,
or take your name,
or remain transfixed by the duties of make-believe mothers.

i grind my teeth with the aftermath
of things that never happened
but had meaning.
just like the perfect pines have meaning when bearing witness

to an isolated bark of a lonely dog.
you eat chalk to distract yourself
from feeling anything,
from sinking into quicksand on all fours.

the beauty of a milkweed pod distracts you
and moments later the severe stings
of imaginary arrows piercing deeper
swell your flesh.

i am hidden in the tall grass of an endless ravine
sucking on a slick blade.
the crystals in my eyes chase fallen light.
i do not heed the abating calls of brethren

because i do not yet have the correct count
of scalps and sacrifices at my belt.
but i will.
and the blood on my chin won’t resemble how it was

because that’s how it never used to be.
all that matters now is this mountain i’m beholding
and i’m only trying to climb higher,
higher still.

imaginary arrows
– by Elsa Starfish.Wolf

the unkind flower

in the mouth
anything can burn
folded sheets, asking nicely,
semblance of a previously
extended olive branch,
this hollow row of
snow-covered bricks.
her violet character
replaces emotional blasts
seen only at six minutes past
the hour on the darkest day,
the darkest day of summer
or just after
her third shot of bourbon,
eyes twisted, particles in motion.
the floral scent of aftershock
arranges old jars saved for
fallen petals.
we can adore her essence,
eulogize the garments of
her lamentations,
but there is no sweetening
the crouching foliage of
her undercover sting.

the unkind flower
– by Elsa Starfish.Wolf


There is nothing left to see.

Tarred wings of a blackbird.
A goldfinch. A mourning dove.

There is a bay of frozen water
that traps a pier in moment. I sit
next to it, waiting for movement.

In the middle of winter, I unearth
all flooring from the house. Wrench nail
from board until all walkable surfaces
fade. Stuff the mailbox with letters lacking
postage. Make breakfast out of eggshells
& salt.

There is nothing like the time we waste.
Spent years that consume our veins.
The minuscule moments that darken
eyes, & solidify reaction.

I have dreams of a Cold War.
Of weapons composed of silence.

I saw my death. It was a fleeting panic.
Glassy eyes glaring up from under a solid
surface. An escapade of belligerence.
Falling through a weak spot of ice,
& getting trapped.

I put my hands out, as if begging
for freedom more than breath.
As if the thought of dying wasn’t
terrifying as much as the thought
of standing still.


-by Jess June
Photo: “North Ave Bridge” by Ridire Quinn