Joel Bush reads things. He also writes things. Well, sometimes he reads the things he writes. That tends to help. Joel Bush is the winner of the 2021 CSUF Earth Day Poetry Contest, and his work has been feature in The Five-Two. He also served as an editor of DASH Literary Journal.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Joel Bush and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Best Part of My Day
I fell down the last few steps
on the old, grand staircase.
My foot must have slipped
on the freshly vacuumed carpeting.
I flopped back like
a struggling carp,
my elbows bracing the fall.
The muffled boom
bounced off the walls.
I skinned my left arm.
Tiny pinpricks of blood
began to form in the
mangled web of flesh.
But nobody saw me.
It was the best part of my day.
Someone lives on
top of me.
Heavy footsteps trudge on
metal and concrete stairs when
they come home.
When I’m at the bathroom mirror,
I hear their coughs, sneezes, shrill
Their jackhammer bass and synth
vibrates through the ceiling.
I have no idea who they are.
And it would seem creepy if I asked.
I don’t want to ruin this special
thing between us.
Srishti Saharia is a junior in high-school from Guwahati, India. She thrives on poetry, oranges and oranges. Poetry has mothered her through her girlhood and baptized her soul and her body alike. She wants to pursue literature and photojournalism in the near future and dreams of sharing a cup of tea with her Warsan Shire and Mitksi, her make-believe godparents.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Srishti Saharia and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
My Nose Was God’s Afterthought
i wake up to the face my ancestors
brought with them— stubborn eyes
that refuse the refuge of uv-tinted
tents of prescription glasses,
instead borrow light from the blind;
sleep is their only language of prayer.
my morbid mouth is sinking deeper
with every peck of moonrise into
the bird nest of my throat to
incubate the hunger for guilt and
forgiveness inside my body.
my mother’s hand on my forehead
is the eraser of my ancestors’ misery.
my ears have rented silence on
an expired lease— the sound
i fear is the only sound they hear.
my nose is sitting in the centre
of this poem like a prey waiting
to be devoured, or a bleeding bible
that doesn’t know its religion;
this nose, it feeds on april’s feasts,
snorts pollens and political poems
for a jovial high in springs;
my nose pokes patriarchy at
the shin and ends up bloody
and broken too often;
it dreads to decipher
the scent of loss from
love because it has inherited
the tender tendency to ‘mis-smell’
one from the other;
the famine of forgetting the smell
of my history is plaguing my nose.
my nose was god’s afterthought—
hurried and incomplete,
stuffed between the eyes and mouth
like foreign vowels forced
amidst confused consonants;
its bridge from where my pride
goes skinny-dipping early in the morning
is arranged to pose as a question—
an anathema or a crucifix?
the tip has an awareness of its own,
it flinches at the smell of grieving gods
living inside the bodies of decaying girls.
the river of my ancestors’ bones
in my nose, the only source of light,
is clogging my ability to sniff out
the rogue ruins from the royal realms.
i want to get the septum pierced
but need is the hierarchy inside my mind
and i do not need to kill my mother.
there is a love poem waiting to
be written about the mole on
the left edge of my nose
[where all the treasures of
my self-love is stashed]
and i am a poet,
ofcourse i am conceited enough
to conceive one myself.
and so i write tonight,
to my ancestors this angry
attempt at an apology from
the longest-held breath and
the deepest of my dreams
with a sigh from my belly
that has morphed into ink,
because this nose?
it is one of the buttons of
god’s own baby-blue linen
shirt that she hand-picked
and sewed on to my face,
the kind she planted on
my mother’s face,
and i owe every seed of
moment in the womb of this earth
to that round, little button which in
its turn only owes me the request
of my last breath to be baptized
a bullet and to consent
to the desire of living through
death when the time comes
riding on the back of a fair mare
to knock on the doors of
my chest to elope with the flesh
and wounds of my heart
to the heavens.