Literary Magazine

Tag: Poetry Page 3 of 6

Sestina: You’re My Favorite

By Belle Johns

I just turned the mere age of six, not so smart
I noticed you were gone and I, left in the dark,
wept. You left for cake, for I hate licorice.
You came back, saving the day, you read
the truth, always my father even if not. I said
I love you Dave, and you said listen,

You tell me how proud you are, that I must listen
to the truth and grow from the past, for I am a smart
girl. I look up to you and I always said
I love you Dave, you took me out of the dark.
With you I can always dream of infinity and read
about my second chance. Sweet like licorice

I always loved the aesthetic but loathed the taste of licorice.
Only the finest foreign candy for you. I listen
to what you say even when you cannot read
You need new glasses, that says Cracker Barrel, you smart
Not Chicken Banquet, you can’t read in the dark!
Our family laughs enough to where I said

You’re ridiculous. I now understand comedy, I said.
You still asked me to try the black licorice,
still I refused. Even while cruising around Portland in the dark
you dont believe its a map! It’s only a screen, I listen.
You yank off the glasses and squint, holding the smart
phone close to your vision. It isn’t a map that you read.

Later in years I glance at foreign signs trying to read
obscure directions, unable to understand. Where’s Dad? I said,
worried Mom and I ran thinking you were lost, not very smart.
We searched the Qatar airport, looking at licorice stands,
and finally I had to break away to the gate. I listen
to hear the plane leave and there you are, not in the dark.

The days grow longer, I’m an adult lost in the dark.
I’m not sure what to do, I look up symptoms and read
about the diagnosis. Two hours to the north I listen
to doctors about chemotherapy and I said
tú eres mi favorito, Dad. You offer me licorice
And I accept, for I now understand that you’re so smart.

I will not leave you in the dark, you saved me I said
And I will read lengthy nonfiction to you, buy licorice,
and listen. For your words influence mine, an ass and smart.

You’re My Favorite is a sestina written for my adoptive father to help him get through his chemotherapy treatment in Phoenix. At first this was difficult to write due to the fear of saying goodbye, but by the end of the poem I realized that nothing can take away my love for him and that he will always be close to my heart.

Watching for it

By Annie Radillo

she was staring at the slice of
light that escaped below the door
blue and twisted like glass
the rustling of a starlings grey
feathers as shadows pulsed over it
every muscle in her eye sitting up
straight wondering if it would be her
shadow next that would obscure
the bit of light
if it would be her feet that would
pause outside the door and her
hand to pull it open
her face, solemn and thinking, that
would walk towards her

I have always been a very impatient person, and this poem recounts just one of the times I waited for something to happen. I still don’t know what.

Too Young

By Jocelyn Bentlage

For some odd reason, I always find myself thinking about love. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt it. Have I? Or was it just infatuation? What is love, anyway? Am I too young to feel “true love?” Too young to understand it?

For sure, I have a family that loves me. Friends too. I love them back. However, there is a fantasy always lingering in the back of my mind: “I’ll fall in love with someone. Someone who I’d be able to grow, learn, experience…die with?”

For one to be in love, they’ll ride a wave of emotions incorporated with loving someone. One of those emotions is heartbreak. I’ve felt heartbreak. At least, I think I have. Or am I too young to feel “real heartbreak?” Too young to understand it?

Personally, many adults have invalidated my feelings, not just romantic ones, because they think I am too young or haven’t experienced enough to truly understand my own feelings. When I wrote this short piece, it was just a reflection towards those statements, and I came to the conclusion that my feelings are real–they are what I feel in the present, so no one really has the right to tell me they’re wrong.


By Julia Stark


Silk, a lightweight material

A beautiful luxurious substance held by those of great stature, from lords to ladies

No question why a child would want to see a fabric of this caliber

But this child did not want just a look

When no one was watching, he took the fabric into the washroom

He draped the shimmering cloth along the wall where he tugged at the edges

Stretching the seams, tense

The durable cloth remained strong but the pressing and prying was far too much

Small tears traced edge to edge

Rip… rip … rip

The tiny sewn on pearls fell delicately to the floor

One after another they dropped

But only until he was satisfied and finished did his prodding cease

The torn silk that was one whole, was dusted off, wiped down and folded messily

The boy ran before a seamstress could see what he had done to the silk

But the tear was still there

Episodically I remember the night

My body shakes, my eyes flood with tears, my chest tightens

Making it harder and harder to breathe..

But that’s only first period

Some days, more

Some days, less

Some days, when I am talking to my mom about my day

But most days I rely on the same procedure to get me through the day

I leave class a bit later,

To not run into him

I avoid taking certain routes,

In the chance he might be there

If I see him

I hide

I put my head down

I cover my face

I look away

I run


Anything to get away from him

Anything for him not to see me

Or look at me, with those eyes

Those invasive eyes that continue to watch me shudder with every cold touch

Those eyes that saw the tears drench my face

But my days are not unique or special

The truth is that many people live in this world of constant fear

The fear of reliving these nightmares

The fear of receiving more pain

The fear of not being believed

These fears are common

And may reside in someone near

Maybe even you

Because the inevitable truth is this

One in three women will be sexually assaulted within their lifetime

And one in five women will be raped

Those have been statistics for so long and yet nothing has happened

Society has created a false sense of safety

But I walk the halls in constant fear

Afraid that I will see him

But he

He still walks to class

With a smile


By Halle Mar

I dictate the highs and lows of my life with the amount I’m writing
I haven’t written in months
I walk home with your taste in my mouth, waiting for it to fade
I’m supposed to savor that taste
Relief floods my veins as water washes over my tongue, taking away any trace of you
When you hold my hand I don’t feel anything
A blank piece of paper
A freshly made bed
The song I’ve been listening to for the past days, until the words mean nothing to me
My heart like the steady sound of my footsteps climbing the stairs to my first period classroom,
Monotonous beating against linoleum, against concrete, my head against the bathroom floor
I tell you I care for you the same way I say I’m not hungry
Yes I’m sure, please don’t ask me again, I promise, please believe me
How much have you eaten?

This poem is called “enough.” It’s about feeling empty, not feeling what you think you should. It comes from a place of feeling blank and unexpressed, getting set into a routine of vacancy in head and heart. This piece means to me letting out unspoken truths, such as not loving someone, or not eating enough. These are things you don’t tend to tell people, so they slip to the back of your mind and become part of the routine. Poetry is a very significant part of my life, and quite honestly, a savior of it. Poetry allows you to bleed without the demand for blood.


By Mariana Rivera

We carry our sins on our chests,
and I’m transformed into some kind of saint
when friends confess to me on
the nights that made us feel at ease
or the days that pushed on their weight
making it too much too carry,
or when the drugs kick in.
One homeboy sits beside me every few weeks
with a new story resting on his tongue.
He fiddles with the bandanna that lives within his back pocket
as he tells me what tasks his carnal has given him now,
and what trouble he has found,
like when his fists stared into the face of another boy’s pocket knife.
Or, how since then those fists have become friends with tire irons, waiting to meet a less fortunate man’s shins.
This is when I notice the seemingly permanent glare on his face
that wasn’t there two years ago.
When I ask him why he has strayed so far,
he tightens his jaw before muttering,
“That’s life for a South Side Kid.”
In my newfound sainthood,
friends find redemption in my understanding
and they appease with every
day, week, month, year, old tear they allow to fall in front of me.
The men in my life cry the biggest, and heaviest tears
because learning to be vulnerable is difficult
but all we can do is open up
once the bottle between our ribs gets full,
so I take on the form of a priest.
I listen, and I tell them
that redemption is not unattainable,
that a better life is not unattainable,
our dreams are not unattainable!
And to have faith
in themselves, in their strength
and in each other when we take one another as makeshift angels
when we have no one else to guide us.
Two days before Christmas, another friend and I drove up the A,
with tears in our eyes and warmth in our hearts.
We stared at the city lights and wondered why it’s gotten so hard to be sober
yet still filled the car with clouds of our troubles.
He told me he missed his father,
his brother,
his life.
Everything he needed to say to them
evaporated with the smoke, but still rings in my ears.
We poured out our souls
and wished that the future came with headlights,
so we might have been able to avoid all of our wrong turns.
But I am always here,
and you will always be there
everytime we get lost.
I didn’t know that I could find a compass in the hand of a close friend
until I watched the boy who became my brother, take in everyone who believed we were destined for nowhere.
Within the lighthouse that was the small space between his four bedroom walls,
this brother of mine told us all his stories
and taught us all how good it felt to connect.
I left his lighthouse each day carrying the gospel he spread by accident;
that our salvation lives inside of us,
Closer and closer to heart.
See, I don’t remember the last time I went to church,
but I have never felt more holy than on long nights
and early mornings with the homies
when we discovered we were our own gods.
Our lives and our mistakes will never leave our fingers,
because there’s a great burden that comes with our freedom
when the line between right and wrong sometimes fades.
So, we write our own scriptures and try to walk within the light
but we’re still trying to figure out
where to go in the night.

I wrote ‘Sins’ as a reflection of the importance of vulnerability and having close relationships throughout hard times, especially for youth from marginalized backgrounds. When your identity is criminalized it’s easy to slip through the cracks, and a lot of people don’t understand that, but it takes a real toll on our spirit at times. It’s about trying to be good but being weighed down by the world you’re apart of and finding others that help you cope with this.

My gift to you

By Bryn Baker

to fathers with daughters:

you teach us that you are love
you gift to me lessons of short kindness
you give me life and now i must
with a framed mirror
only waiting to be broken

and when i cannot see you
i will find you in another
and another
and another
until the lines between anger and love
are lines no longer but instead
the thing i squint my eyes till i can find
what exactly it is that i am looking for
and dad,
i guess it’s you.

from: daughters with fathers

The Poem I Never Wrote In Time

By Morgan Nelson

The Poem I Never Wrote In Time

As I stare into an unknown ocean from the top of a cliff
I sit and try to describe unknown colors I’ve never seen
Words can be permanent, their existence taken too boldly
But I want these ones to be continuous
As the waves pound in rhythm
I transcend

I vow to sit still with the world’s little greens
The ones like me that grew in the winter
But struggled in spring
Nature I know will pass me in time
So I only take what I need
And stay simple in my dreams

I vow to finally let my eyes redden
As I watch the water break on the
Boulders that accumulated along the coast
Many stories ago
Tension will finally release and roll slowly off my back
I will imagine the sea water lick grazing my skin
Leaving single celled creatures
Way too small to see

I vow to visit that forest that encaptures my dreams
As my childish wonder fills in every piece of me that stays missing
I will chase rainbows I’ve never seen
And I will take the time to touch every tree
Observe every flower
Recognize every bee

I will sit on that cliff edge and take away all the harm ever done to me
I used to cover my grief with dandelion seeds
And that grief personified into a mass Holding breath hostage
Near impossible to breathe
As distinct iced pain raptured
Making me want to fully believe that nothing will ever crash
Nothing will ever be as surreal as me
Brief breaks were the only time in between

From carnage I sit estranged, changed
And now that my heart has been medically declared in pieces
Maybe this fighting chance will reconstruct what potential is already there
To start from the bottom
And work its way to the top

To count each piece
Love and take fragile hold on my very being
To adhere them back together
One by one
It could only ever be me
Repaint and polish my underappreciated bones
For the storage of memories to be cleaned out
My otherworldly miscreants will seem holy

I vow to no longer go undecided
I will still fall down
But the soothingness of the waves
Can always just take me away
So I run my fingers through the grass
And look blearily out to the almost set sun
The colors that shine in the back of my now shut eyes
Will paint me a new palette
A new ideal and imagination
I vow to repeal
It might take forever
But all I know is I’ve waited too long for forever.

I’ve been writing since I was 13, along with all my other artistic ventures. A switch turned and I wrote about what most teenagers write about; how lost they feel in the world. As a writer over the years, I’ve grown to be able to write just about anything. There is a natural gift, and my only reason to continue is for my own pleasure. I have many projects planned, and this is only a stepping stone. My work revolves around my own experience, thoughts, and imagined situations. As a lover of language, literature, and words, I feel that there is a much power to young writers than professional published ones.


By Jenna Gray

6/15/18 3:19 pm
girls all possess a unique power
some can gain energy from the clouds and others can gain energy from the stars
a girl’s rosy cheeks can mimic spheres so often that she has her own orbit
maybe ladies with sprinkles of fairy dust across their bodies are able to create healthy patterns in their
they can come with soft curves and lush skin, dashes across their seams like a doll brought to life
fire roaring in one girl’s eyes may be dancing across another’s fingertips gracing gritty pages, a hunger
for knowledge
gravity harnessed in their hands as they put their hair up, down, left, right, diagonal, and straight across
there are girls who can utilize the sunlight and glow from its rays as they bound across the world
and girls whose skin mimic rose gardens when the air is crackling with freeze
those high enough to reach their goals, those low enough to find what they are looking for
powers so strong that together, the universe stops in its tracks to acknowledge everything girls can be


By Ilana Hutzler

leather goggles. red bandana.
wings on wind, you tell me
love is like landing a plane.
wheels on world, never
slowing down. divine.
maybe, but our love,
your skin on mine
burns. say pilot,
pronounce it

This piece was inspired by a song I love.

I am very passionate about creative writing, especially poetry. I also enjoy playing piano, and spending time with family and friends.


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