January 18-24, 2021: Poetry from Amber Moss and J de Salvo

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Amber Moss

Amber Moss is a Black writer and editor from Atlanta, GA. She earned her BA in English from the University of South Florida and is currently a graduate student. She is the author of Bucket of Thorns, published in Spring 2020. Amber’s poetry has been published in Bewildering Stories, Liminality Magazine, Little Rose Magazine, and others. Visit Amber on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Amber Moss and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Adolescence

As the sky collided with the trees,
I gripped my belly. Bent over
while a single red dot blended
into cotton sheets. I waited 
for the diagram of my uterus
to inflate along with my breasts,
like pupils as soon as night falls
and the sun escapes
with my innocence.

I wondered how long it would be
until I blossomed into beauty;
Wide hips made room
for the blood flow between
my legs, I opened for the boy
in third period; he examined
my newfound body
then left after a few handfuls.

 

Summer in The Countryside

In the countryside we danced
barefoot, red clay sniffing at our toenails
five acres of beetles, and ants,
centipedes inhabiting the land
I once called home.

In the middle of the dirt
a small speaker played
The Temptations
until the sky turned orange
and our eyelids inhaled sleep
before the stars took over the heavens.

It was July when the sun
soaked us in sweat
and we nourished the soil
with our fluids.

86,400 minutes
we grew with the land
kicked around orange peels
before the city yanked us
back to materiality.

J de Salvo

J de Salvo’s fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have been published extensively in print and online. J is the editor/publisher of the Pedestrian Press and is the author of The End of Ambition. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Oakland, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by J de Salvo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Your House is a Museum
That Used to be Mine

1

I never learned to curate my life
Most of what I have done
Will never be seen

I lose everything regularly
By accident and on purpose
All my bands break up
All my paintings are left
On the curb by the police

2

But you

You keep everything
Too many things in this house
To name, haven’t moved
Since I lived here with you:

Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling
Hung upside down
At an angle
On the inside
Of the front door

Most of the same books
In the same place
On the same shelf

The old paintings and drawings
Peppered between the new

The couch is new, but
Who looks at the thing
That they sit on?

The chair across from it
Was here before we were

The window behind it
Is the same piece of plexi
That has let in the cold
Since I fell through the glass
Head first

A series of ever-cheaper Landlords
Never quite got to it
And it still runs up the
Bill, in the winter

3

You are a lover of artifacts

They’re everywhere
On shelves, nailed in rows
To the wall, in both of the ways
That these words might be read

4

There are themes:

Clowns
Judaica, and
The generally strange

Teeth and keys and
Bones and carvings and
Cameos and coffeepots

5

Under the tumult and
Clash of images
That surround and

Obscure them,
To whatever degree
Are some things I put up
On the fridge, myself

6

The Graham Greene quote
I affixed to my door
Towards the end,

In anger, is still partially visible,
If mostly scratched away
Evidence of lessening love

Gifts I have given you
Whether hidden away or
Displayed in their own place of pride

7

I would not be able to handle it
All, myself, that loser and
Thrower away of things

Take that one how you want to

8

I admire your bravery,
Your ability to live with it all
To refuse to turn your back

On history, however painful
To take the dreidel with
The death-mask

In fact, I still love you for it
Among other things