Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for MEDIA, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Shannon Wolf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Grew up dysphoric—one eye on the sky waiting for planes that could bear me to new air,
to the land with red-flag mailboxes & open-top cadillacs that fit six; hands flared in the air.
From my windowsill, I surveyed the hedgerows & wilted. This place is all cider & cow shit
& I’m lonely, too loud for my family, shushed like waves. I cannot breathe: snared by this air.
Yes, my birthplace was misplaced. I hung maps all over my walls & tattooed American cities
on my arms, wistful embroidery. Waited in Ilminster town square, summoned through the air.
At eleven, I wrote a speech for class about the city so good they named it twice—I got an A+
& begged my mother for plane tickets. She murmured soon; I conjured skyscrapers in the air.
The first time a plane dropped me on the tarmac at JFK, I cried mouth open & unashamed.
A fortnight wouldn’t quench my thirst—I drank more than my share of the city’s electric air.
I forget the prime minister’s name, behind that coal-black door. I am not long for this land.
I wonder if it is patriotism when you love another country: russet mountains and prairie air.
I am an ancient river, pulsing through my homeland, waiting to make a break for the Atlantic.
I still count planes in my sky—I’m going to be a part of it. Unanswered prayers lace the air.
Rose Mary Boehm
A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels, one full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks, her work has been widely published in mostly US poetry journals. Her latest full-length poetry MS, ‘The Rain Girl’, has been published by Chaffinch Press in August 2020.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Rose Mary Boehm and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Play it one last time
I’d seen her skip around the bloated
rubbish bags and stacks of bald tires.
An exuberant slalom in pink knee socks
and logo-less trainers.
I found it again one day. The ribbon
Marlene used to wear in her hair.
Did I love her?
She used to laugh at my feeble attempts
to make her happy. Took her to the pictures,
she derided my choice. Cut flowers
smelled of death. My penis was too small,
at least that’s what she told her friends.
Still, we never argued.
We just lived in a cauldron of mutual hate.
There is always tomorrow. Today
I meet in passing.
Morphine gives scant relief now
however much I press that button. Perhaps
I ought to invite the pain?
The moment my cells forgot how to make a liver,
I unlearned how to heal.