I used to play these games
lungs became a trap
I used to hold my breath
waiting for the moka pot
Suffocate negative lines over a world
day by day hoping
pot by pot.
These simple and harmless tendencies
start off as one motion
an egg uncracked, porcelain.
One must suspect harmless
become harmful in throat
breathe one-two, one-two.
A moka pot bubbling over
it is the inside that matters
hi-jack cells, vibrating.
Endless dream, endless violent end
not so, not-so I promise
I hold my breath, welcome it, attachment.
Sculpture of Incision stare red eyes down, under a shattered crown, we collapse everything around golden & memory particles dispersing like tired eyes of their fear. a choice of no in this room, you exist a dagger into fragile side a remnant of ruined carving, ancient & miraculous what I would give up for you—what I wouldn’t. a stitching into stomach cemented down into worry little lightning marks ravaged a marble wall, into a hall you put up no fight—you open wide. an arrow buzzes passed a head of heaviness countering every argument with more history, an unusual air, with your thoughts bare out in a room, you pause, finally. dragging shiny knife across soft, brown flesh clay under red hue, blistering and dripping reminder of decision too quick to call. we leave our martyrs glistening rubies like that with their flaws out naked as if taken from the womb mother of the world, undisturbed by this calming cut into a secret place hidden from a test of time that left our power out after sacrifice, after every new world was formed.
Sunday Ritual step into space. I’ll lose my path, so aimless, ever-changing in my goddamn head, a curve of the spine, practical joke of a prayer if it weren’t attached, could you see my bones? the mud under my feet makes me sink, further someone’s mastering me without ever knowing which relationship is true, a power struggle one way down, this x-ray: awaken & observe all my flesh. step into space. I talk to you every week Savior & friend, so imaginary, right at your altar, the silence harsh aching me, questioning what your senses are telling me telling you, you are ruling higher in color and sound it’s gray and oh so quiet step into space. a test, afraid to fail, draw a line and what’s next?
Portrait of the Trespasser “they say betrayal” – Dawn Lundy Martin a hand will reach from a labyrinth searching practically begging for light. convince one’s self otherwise of a flame pouring out of a home, vegetation crip ash and dust full of youth’s plea. a web transfixes itself to a body, bone emerges from a singular name. someone bleed out a Keralite, granite stalactite, hanging from the rafters of a home so sure of its whereabouts, blood-line envious but respectful as one has to do. He is no one, one no one knows except cousin, stoic on a porch an old home rose and ruined vividly humming in a dream one can seem to let go, holding strict dagger to throat. here brown boy comes to the States a trace of his tongue still tracing a sun out of unholy place, a little drip of language cutting, just carving begging for entrance, upon a steep climb there is gold, flaking his skin with doubt of itself into a mouth, not yet known of sweetness or truth always angry searching for a place to redeem what was left back in God’s Own Country.
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Shawn Anto is from Delano, California. He’s originally from Kerala, India. He received his B.A. in English & Theatre at CSU Bakersfield and will pursue his MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University this Fall. His writing has been featured or is forthcoming in Reed Magazine, O:JA&L, Mojave Heart Review, and elsewhere.