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Bruised Mother, by Ashley Kirkland

Updated: Jul 14

topless in the grey light of the master bath, accompanied

by store-bought seashells and soaps, a painting

of dune grass, remember how we planned to ablute

the suture, running straight down your chest? Clavicle

to abdomen. Remember your breasts? Unrecognizable

things on your body: mottled like stormy skies, tortoise

shells. I never told you how sorry I felt for them, how sad

they looked. I never told you how much I hated

that surgeon and his clean, clean hands that held your heart

(even though he saved you) and shook my father’s

work-worn hands. I never told you how, as you

recovered, I would lay in bed with my hand over my heart

as though there were secrets in its beats: Listen: everyone tries

to slip through someone’s hands. Hold tight. Beat.



Brick archway covered in vines and branches in black and white
Crown Hill 1, by Beverly Rose Joyce

Ashley Kirkland teaches English in Ohio where she lives with her husband and sons. This is her debut poetry publication.

Beverly Rose Joyce lives in Brecksville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, with her husband, Carl, and their two daughters, Mallory and Samantha, along with their two dogs, Shadow and Reggie. She holds a BA in English from Baldwin-Wallace University and a MA in English from Cleveland State University, and she was a public high school English teacher for sixteen years before taking a voluntary respite from the profession to spend more time with her children and to better focus on her writing and photography. Her poetry has been published in Plants & Poetry Journal and in the anthology titled Inner Eye, and her photography is forthcoming in The Closed Eye Open.


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