damselfly press http://damselflypress.net A Gathering of Women's Voices Mon, 18 Apr 2016 12:52:41 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.1 Publication of Thirty-Fifth Issue and Call for Submissions http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-fifth-issue-and-call-for-submissions/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-fifth-issue-and-call-for-submissions/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2016 12:26:47 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=841 Yoga teaches there is wisdom in stillness and joy in movement. Good writing is rhythmic, inviting us to pause before compelling us to action. The work in this issue embraces the balance.

The thirty-sixth issue of damselfly press will be available July, 15, 2016. If you’d like to submit, please first visit our guidelines section and send us your submission by June 15, 2016.

As always, thank you to our readers and submitters.

 

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Issue 35 Poetry http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-35-poetry/ http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-35-poetry/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2016 12:15:46 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=833 The Woodworker’s First Attempt

She had tried once before to make a living thing
but it had not turned out well. She can’t even remember what it was,
but it became a special nightmare, her failure,
that consumed her day after day
so she could barely eat
barely saw the sun when it covered the mountains
with gold on those days when it didn’t rain,
when the fog settled beneath the trees
with a sigh, echoing her own sigh
as she lay in bed unable to get up or smile
not even when the shadow of a bird crossed the ceiling at 2 in the afternoon.

Now she thought she would try again, try to make a bird,
a living thing out of the living tree in her yard
that spoke of its desire to fly, just to the mountains
and back, but really to fly on its own
and then join with the earth and be done with earthly things.

- Penelope Weiss was born and raised in New York City and now lives in Vermont. In 2010, her collection of stories, Storiana, was published by Casa de Snapdragon Publishing.

 

AUGUST IN GEORGIA IS A PIGEON-PALE FIELD BLOOMING

1.

And here we are,
nestled between two haystacks—
needles with no want for thread.

Stars scar-white settle
onto our spines like dust
settles on a windowsill.

2.

Locusts swarm this time of year,
yet; we run wolf-wild through open fields.

3.

If my body were a map, would you pin me to your bed-
room wall? Mark red X’s where you’d want to explore?
(How about here, and here?)

4.

Stirrupless, the last star slips from the sky,
falls into the dirt. You brush it off, press it into my palm.
This is where we memorialize.

5.

The hours hang, heavy with owls.
The sky, a bruise, purples.

Still, your body goes: cornfield, cornfield,
cliff—
a farmland         forgotten,
feet loam-stained, yet taprooting.

- Sarah Escue is a poet, editor, and Florida native. She is an editor at The Adirondack Review and Saw Palm and has received fellowships from Writers in Paradise and Bucknell’s Seminar for Younger Poets. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Gulf Stream, Milk Journal, and elsewhere.

 

Chasing Zeno

On the road with you, I’m the witch of navigation.
Add a minute, subtract a mile. Presto—time
becomes distance, and here’s Tucson on a short stretch
of hours. But no magic, in my mothering.

This morning’s call reached Lisa’s roommate.
Sorry, she said, Didn’t keep her number.
Tower to tower, up the eastern seaboard,
I’m hunting our daughter’s voice.

According to Zeno’s paradox,
arrival is impossible. Before a traveler can reach,
that first half distance, she must pass
the quarter mark,

before that the eighth.
On and on, while years pass. Miles.
You, my love, would rather not hear about it.
You like the world framed by windshield,

the two of us moving
and enclosed. You promise
to drive me anywhere, as long
as it’s farther away. But once, a child in pig-tails

slipped from a tall stool
and danced to me across the kitchen floor,
dividing the distance
by half, by half, by another half

Witch Grass

I leave the kitchen door wide so I’ll hear
the baby cry. Tug a strand of witch grass,
and a dozen seedlings come with it. I want to walk

under the power lines, past the VFW,
the reservoir. This was my choice—
to root out the tangle of blackberry canes,

pace off a garden, string a fence.
Jane Eyre said, Reader, I married him, then
went silent. Last night he looked at the vacuum

marooned in the living room and asked,
What have you been doing?
All those folded onesies straining to spring open.

Reader, I married him and in the maternity ward,
tiny fingers gripping his thumb, he told me:
You did good, dear. Now every day he leaves—

two hours out. Two hours back.
And on the flyleaf of his daybook
in calligraphy—Dear God, Get Me Out of Here.

I tell him I’m afraid, and he thinks I mean
afraid of burglars.
Somewhere in Narragansett,

I would rent a second story room—
with shelves for books, with casement windows
letting in a clear, silky light. North light. Witches

were burned in Salem. One, convicted
for sending her spirits out on a fevered baby,
who lay sobbing for its mother.

- Gail C. DiMaggio watched her husband pursue his music in a world where no artist ever gives up a day gig but refuses to become discouraged. Her work’s appeared in Blue Lyra Review, Adanna, Antiphon, Allegro, and elsewhere.

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Submission Period Closed for Thirty-Fifth Issue http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-fifth-issue/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-fifth-issue/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:46:09 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=830 The submission period for the thirty-fifth issue of damselfly press is now closed. Look for the issue April 15, 2016.

As always, thank you to our submitters.

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Publication of Thirty-Fourth Issue and Call for Submissions http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-fourth-issue-and-call-for-submissions-2/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-fourth-issue-and-call-for-submissions-2/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:54:03 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=811 We pause in moments of stillness. Something crystallizes and makes us catch our breath. Maybe we are stricken by beauty or maybe by something mundane. The work in this issue focuses on the pauses as we wait.

The thirty-fifth issue of damselfly press will be available April, 15, 2016. If you’d like to submit, please first visit our guidelines section and send us your submission by March 15, 2016.

As always, thank you to our readers and submitters.

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Issue Thirty-Four http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-thirty-four/ http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-thirty-four/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:39:14 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=799 I Remember Saying

Don’t do that.
Don’t walk down the driveway
to your car without looking back.
Better yet, don’t open the front door
before you kiss me and don’t read
the new novel I just brought home
before I do. I hate that—you getting

ahead of me. So don’t
eat the last slice of apple pie
without sharing half, bite by bite, crumbs
in our laps. And please don’t slip into sleep
before I tell you how the bluejays
rocked the birdfeeder back and forth
while I wrote this and don’t let me fall asleep
before I feel the sheets ripple with your quiet laughter.

- Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Florida Review, Natural Bridge, Gravel, Cave Wall, and Poet Lore, among other magazines. Her most recent poetry collections are The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press) and Snack Size: Poems (Mello Press). She is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado.

 

Mystery upon Mystery
For my sister Gale

But no, it is simple.
You and I stand at the corner of Willow and Morgan,
looking up at a street light’s yellow globe.

Inside it, the flakes falling toward earth look different
than snow falling everywhere else in the neighborhood.

I am eight, you are twelve.
We’ve walked in deepening lavender for blocks and blocks,
trying to decide which house is decorated best for Christmas.

I can’t see your face,
but I think that like me
you are almost perfectly happy.

Your body is now ashes,
yet we are standing on that corner.
Snow settles on your satin-fine hair.

- Francine Marie Tolf has published two poetry collections as well as a memoir and five chapbooks. Her essays and poems have been published widely in journals including Water-Stone, Poetry East, Under the Sun, Christian Century, and Contrary Magazine.  Francine lives and works in Minneapolis. Her latest book is a collection of essays, Joliet in My Blood (Port Yonder Press, 2015).

 

In the Dark

When our grandson stands still,
you could mistake him for a tree.
Still growing at eighteen,
this slender trunked sapling
stands among us like Gulliver.

Once a month, he comes to garden.
I have taught him how to plant a tree:
digging the hole in the shape of a cross for the roots to grow.
He laughs when I marvel at how he swings a mattock,
slicing through the soil as if it was butter.

He was still a baby when you died and we sold the farm.
He has no memories of the place.
I’m not sure if he is the world’s kindest boy but when he visits,
he asks me questions about the land, the river and the trees,
knowing that in my mind, I still live there.

In a day, he has planted, weeded and pruned this city block
and I take the afternoon tea tray up to the house
where, from the picture window, I watch him rake and tidy
for soon his love will arrive.

I make sure they don’t see me; I stand back a little in the shadows of the room
to watch her clamber up his back like a bear cub.

He walks around with her like that, gathering the tools to put away as they talk,
but the time will come when he stops,
sliding her around to the front of his hips, to kiss her.

With her legs still wrapped around his waist, her cheek against his chest, he saunters up the steps.
She drops to the ground outside my door to say their farewells.

When they have gone, I sit in the dark with two whiskies,
although I have to help you with yours.

Some nights I go back to our farm.
I start at the beginning, at the white gate at the top of the road,
gliding down to where the gap in the trees frames the waiting valley, always lucerne green.
I hear the soft hymn of the tree lined river and imagine, low above the water,
the Azure Kingfishers flashing upstream.
I graze over it all, past our sun warmed house on the rise above the river flats,
right to the edge, to where the farm ends and the forest remains.

But every night I go back to you.
Lying beside you,
trailing your contours,
your mouth sweeping mine.
Every night, I go back to feeling the depths and lengths of you.

- S.E. Street’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry has been published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. She is recipient of The Dymocks Short Story Prize for fiction, the 2014 Hunter Writers Award, and the 2014 SCWC HARP award for poetry.

 

enouement

darling, younger darling with a heart purer than hailstorms, lovelier than the manes of galloping palominos, hindquarters glistening with sweat, eyes bright and eager to get going – we made it. that skirt you wore, the one with silhouettes of fragile birds and brown feathers, you won’t ever forget it, but you do miss it, miss the way it reminded you of grandma, her handmade things and peppermints, how a few of them probably spilled on the pavement that night, how the plastic wrappers only reflected pools of light beneath streetlights, not the pain of your rasping throat or the cool feeling of sweat trickling down your sides like melting icicles. remember that winter only lasts for a season. I wish I could tell you how to listen to the constellations, which were there long before the culture that perpetuated violations of traffic tickets, migration patterns, and bodies.

- Kelsey May’s work has recently appeared in The Maine Review, Mouse Tales Press, and Paste Magazine and is forthcoming in Barking Sycamores and Pine Hills Review. Her work has also received numerous awards including a nomination for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She loves wearing overalls and ice skating.

 

December

You broke a bale and scattered August on

the frozen stable boards. December sagged,

her arching tail switched steadily at dawn.

We waited, talked of heifers, fogged and flagged

the conversation cleverly around

a frigid barn. December didn’t care,

she raised her head, was bearing down,

preoccupied with something in the air.

She pushed until we saw two hoofs appear;

the long gestation ruptured, braved the chill

and steaming, slipped into the atmosphere.

December stood and letting down her milk,

wasted streams of warmth around her feet.

We watched until our silence stretched like hands

through polar fronts and taciturn cool sheets.

The moon fell down, the newborn tried to stand,

but vapor veiled our faces as we laughed

together at December’s wobbly calf.

- Lea Markuson has spent most of her life living and working in remote areas of the Northwestern U.S.  She writes formal and free verse poems and is passionate about poetry and nature and how they both reflect our existence.

 

ICE STORM
Listen to the Poem

Nothing changes but the words.
And even the words
reappear, argument
after argument –

Rain on the roof
pings into sleet, freezes
into silence.
We are jolted awake
by the sound of trees
exploding.

In the morning,
it is as if Midas had wished
for the gift of crystal. Every
detail of the world – leaf,
twig, bit of rusted metal
is encased, inviolate and
glittering, secret and
exposed. Our argument
could be preserved
forever. But somehow – perhaps
the burden becomes too heavy
to bear, perhaps the heart begins
to thaw– somehow,
all the gods of Olympus let
go, and we do not know
or care whether it is a wedding
or a barroom brawl that sends
their wineglasses crashing
down.

Drunk
with freedom, we walk
through inches of shattered
ice, the forms of our
thoughts suddenly
irrelevant, in this world all
broken and
made new.

- Winner of the 1977 Radcliffe Poetry Prize, Eve Kodiak (aka Deborah Polikoff) has published poetry in various journals including Madison Review, Radcliffe Quarterly, and Annapurna. A consultant for the A Room of Her Own (AROHO) 2015 Women Writer’s Retreat, she is currently working on a journal of sonnets.

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Submission Period Closed for Thirty-Fourth Issue http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-fourth-issue/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-fourth-issue/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2015 19:11:39 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=790 The submission period for the thirty-fourth issue of damselfly press is now closed. Look for the issue January 15, 2016.

As always, thank you to our submitters.

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Publication of Thirty-Third Issue and Call for Submissions http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-third-issue-and-call-for-submissions/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/publication-of-thirty-third-issue-and-call-for-submissions/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:38:11 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=786 For us, this time of year holds an increase in creative energy. We feel invigorated to recommit to the writer’s life. It is with pleasure that we present our autumnal offering, poems and an essay about love and loss, two of life’s greatest inspirations.

The thirty-fourth issue of damselfly press will be available January 15, 2016. If you’d like to submit, please first visit our guidelines section and send us your submission by December 15, 2015.

As always, thank to you to all of our readers and submitters.

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Issue 33 Poetry http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-33-poetry/ http://damselflypress.net/poetry/issue-33-poetry/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:31:01 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=778 A LONG-AGO ENCOUNTER WITH A
MAN WHO I JUST FOUND OUT BY
INTERNET HAS BEEN DEAD SINCE
2006

Listen to the Poem

I liked the way the butter melted on the rolls. “Oh
Come Let Us Adore Him” with choral backing piped
through the speakers. Christmas lights sparkled over
the bar and a lighted Christmas tree decorated one of
the docks. The deserted rides at Cedar Point had
lights, too, and they twinkled in the distance. Later,
we went for a stroll because it was warm for the
season. Everything had an echo, the sea gulls’
laughter, their wings beating low over the tranquil
water, a dog, far away, barking at its own bark.

- Theresa Williams’s poems and stories have appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Hunger Mountain, Gargoyle, The Sun, and other magazines. Her novel, The Secret of Hurricanes, was a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize.

 

To the Child We Never Wanted
Listen to the Poem

When we met,
we knew we did not want you.
I lacked both the emptiness
and the room
necessary for you.
He lacked the feel of a father
and the patience
someone like you would require.

When we married,
we married late,
and we knew we did not need you.
We had work to do and places to travel
and people to finish becoming. There was no space
for your rattles and rocking.

And yet we named you.
In long car rides. On Sunday afternoons.
Family names, like William and Nora and Ann.
Names we liked—Inara and Micah and Cecilia.
Names for people your not-yet mom loved: Langston and Lillian and Zora.
Those names dwindled and disappeared
becoming the pudgy fingers
and pleading cries of our friends’ children.
No matter, we thought,
because still, we did not need you.

It was June
three years later—
hot, hazy, and languid–
when we realized
the spare room
in the house we bought
never would work as an office.
Perhaps, we thought, it was your room,
full of sunlight and shade, love and luster.
An idea of you was born—
small and secret and surprising.
(Your eyes would be blue. You would be left-handed.
You would have my love of reading and his love of adventure.)
So we opened the door,
called your name quietly,
and waited.

There are names for the syndromes and symptoms
that will keep you forever out of reach,
But those names are neither William nor Nora, not Micah nor Zora.

You are the child we never wanted.
And we are calling your name softly,
full of the emptiness and the room, the fatherliness and the feeling.
But no amount of patience will bring you forth.
Oh, sweet, soft, silly child we never wanted:
We miss you.

- Meredith Malburne-Wade is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Gettysburg College where she teaches composition and literature. She holds a PhD in 20th-Century American Literature from UNC Chapel Hill. New to the realm of writing and publishing poetry, she is nonetheless a devoted lover of the written word.

 

Shacondage

I no longer remember the true name of the Blue Ridge.
My blood memory

sinks when I hear you say “They eat people here.”
You tear at the I.V.
You taste chocolate pudding from the spoon I hold up
to your beard stubbled but two-year-old’s grin.

and I smile when I say
You cannot know this yet, but in just one month
you will write two words on the scratch pad
I hold steady. Your words will be “mom” and “scared.”

And by spring, you will feel sweat dripping
from your temples
as you concentrate, trying so hard to grasp
that single cat-eye marble with your toes
and lift its terrible weight just one inch above the floor.

But I will tell you again that the stones we are chosen to lift
are only the old bones of the ancestors, who whisper
tendons of strength.

Even now, each word I speak calcifies
talus, tibia, femur, mandible, ribs.

- Eliza Kelley is an Associate Professor at The Sage Colleges in New York. Eliza’s published research, writing, and art appears in national and international venues. Her book, Taming the Butterfly, will be published by Cawing Crow Press in November 2015.

 

Suhareka, in August

Five Albanian kids in their underwear
stand in front of a blow up swimming pool.
Green, pried opened walnut fruits
are piled on the table in front of me.
All the nuts had been dug out and eaten.
Adults speak rapidly in Kosovar-Albanian.
I follow for a while and then get lost.

A bee has found its way into a forgotten cup of Sola fruit punch.
I watch as it nears the juice, not as cautious as it should be,
quickly siphoning the sweet liquid.
It can’t possibly be anything but good.
The bee slips into the juice,
at first not realizing
that it won’t be able to get back out.
It bathes itself and rolls over,
abdomen turned toward the sky, wings soaked.
There is no going back now.
The realization comes slowly and then the bee is frantic,
backstroking in circles,
slowly sinking lower each time.
Round and round and round it goes,
drowning in the sweetness.

My name is called, and I turn my head.
One of the children races by, bumping the table as he passes.
The cup falls over.
The juice and the bee spill out.
Someone is speaking to me, but I am distracted
by a half-drowned bee
crawling through the grass.

- Elizabeth Endara grew up in Lilburn, Georgia and received a Bachelor’s in English from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She now makes her home in Suhareke, Kosovo where she teaches English and Ballet.

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Issue 33 Nonfiction http://damselflypress.net/nonfiction/issue-33-nonfiction/ http://damselflypress.net/nonfiction/issue-33-nonfiction/#comments Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:21:40 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=776 Coracle Dreams

1.
A coracle is a one-person boat without a sail or rudder. It is light and small and made of willow rods and animal skins. Think round, like a lily pad, or a Frisbee, or a twenty-five pound walnut shell. Think three-month-old Moses floating in a papyrus laundry hamper until Pharaoh’s daughter fished him out of the Nile. Famously unstable, a coracle floats on the water rather than in it, making it vulnerable to the wind and currents. Centuries ago Irish monks like Brendan and Columba took to the seas in these flimsy vessels, trusting that they would survive the tempestuous waves. A few of the most zealous didn’t even take a paddle. Perhaps that was part of the attraction.

2.
My son is in the Pacific Northwest camping with the woman he used to be in love with. Joel has posted the pictures on Facebook; I check them out more than a mother is supposed to do. Hunched like a giantess over my small laptop, I peer at their curated fun, scrolling through the images. Sky, trees, river. Click. Wood, whiskey, fire. Click, click. Tent, cup, clouds. Click, click, click.

3.
The name Joel means “strong-willed” in Hebrew. There was a moment, helping him pack for the trip, when I realized he was already gone. Loading the musty tent into the trunk, the feather-leaking sleeping bag, the camp stove and coffee pot, I knew he was miles away, already down the road, deep into his own life. We raise our children to be independent. We tell them to get lost, to be brave, to strike out on their own. Then they have the nerve to do just that.

4.
Pharaoh’s daughter isn’t named in the Book of Exodus. Even though she rescued Moses from the bulrushes and raised him as her own child, she barely gets a mention in the Old Testament. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a life.

5.
Joel crouches by a frothing river, skipping stones. I can feel the solid rock in his hand, its cool surface spackling his palm. The sky is dark and dense, even though it’s the Fourth of July. The girl turns toward the camera with shining eyes, her fingers curled into claws. Her brown hair flies about her shoulders. Caption: “I’m a bear! Grrr!” Joel mugs too, arms splayed at his sides, mouth puckered. Caption: “I’m a salmon!” This is the girl who broke my son’s heart, who kept him crissing when he should have kept crossing. He holds a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other. Firelight plays over his tanned face. Salut.

6.
I’m the mother back home, pacing in the living room, drinking coffee, stalking her kid on the computer. Seeing the camping pictures on Facebook floods me with a weird rush of envy. I want to skip stones from a riverbank too, wear an oversized wool shirt, drink moonshine by moonlight. Set me adrift, cut my line. I want time, days, nights, years of floating all over again.

7.
Moses’ mother Jochebed put him in a coracle. She let him go. She had to. The Pharaoh, fearing a slave uprising, decreed that all male Hebrew babies should be put to death. Moses was three months old, too big to be hidden anymore. Moses whimpered a little in the basket. Jochebed’s heart gave a little twist. “Shh,” Jochebed said, then bit her lip. “Hush.” She bent down and placed the basket in the Nile and pushed it away with her big toe. Moses frowned up at her from the reeds. Then the wind stirred and he began to drift.

8.
Joel is on the outskirts of Spokane, heading towards Montana. On the phone with his dad and me, he sounds tired. He’s ready to stop driving, to come home, but where is that? To sleep in a basement surrounded by boxes and old high school art projects? Jobless, unbound, his trip will prolong the inevitable.

9.
I’ve never thought about where I was going. I don’t know if I caught the wave or the wave caught me. My life seems to have been a series of accidents, side trips and detours. I strayed, took short cuts, eschewed maps. I live by intuition and feeling. Small animals keep me warm. My hair is silver. I think of death and lighted Christmas trees with equal interest. When the streets flood, I worry about the woodchuck that lives in the culvert at the bottom of my driveway.

10.
Moses was a late bloomer. When he accepted the mission to lead the Hebrews out of bondage, he was an old man—eighty years old. They knocked around lost in the desert for forty years. At the end of his life, atop of Mount Nebo and within sight of the Promised Land, he could gaze into this fabled, long-awaited country, but could not enter it. I would be bitter about this, but then Moses had a complicated relationship with God. To say the least.

11.
I’m not good on the phone, but we talk anyway, my husband, son, and I, lassoed together by satellite. I imagine Joel driving across the monotonous brown plains, the western stars starting to come out, one by one, the sky turning deep navy. One time when he was little and mad at me, he said, “I always knew you’d turn out mean.” I had to leave the room to laugh. Now he’s saying, “I got to figure out a plan. I’ve got to do something.” Me too.

12.
There isn’t a town that I pass through where I don’t wonder, what would it be like to live here? Is that a bad thing? To imagine so many other lives?

13.
On one website, the coracle is described as “a personal boat.” You can carry a coracle on your shoulders like a rucksack and flip it into the water when you’re ready to go. I am not a monk or holy person. I don’t do yoga or meditate or go to church but let’s just say I’m open to the spirit. I would like to go on a pilgrimage, although I’m certainly nobody’s idea of a pilgrim. But leaving is difficult. I have five dogs and three cats. Who will love them while I’m gone? They are rescues, strays, rejects. With them, I’m a mother all over again. They don’t want me to leave. I imagine them lined up on the dock, looking anxious and forlorn. They require an ark, not a coracle.

14.
Coracle comes from Welsh the word cwrwgl. It’s a storm-tossed word, potent, brimming with risk and danger and adventure. Scary things can happen out there on the water in a little Celtic boat. Rogue waves. Exposure. Radical dread. Tempests. Loneliness. Exquisite blackness. There are sharks out there the size of VW buses knifing through the water clean as butter and whistling orcas and temperamental clouds. Also stillness, starlight, sunsets, and songs.

15.
I don’t have a map or a compass. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what time it is, only that it’s very late. I’ve dropped my cell phone and misplaced my glasses and can’t find my yellow slicker. The weather is shifty and the landmarks keep changing and the sea is running fast. Better to stay put and wave from shore. But I want a coracle, Flying Teacups, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, a sailing suitcase, a portable dream.

16.
I can feel the miles in the pictures Joel has posted. Colorado’s red rocks. Oklahoma’s dusty hills. Dust storms in Arizona, hail in New Mexico. Clouds. Sunlight. Telephone poles. School buses and cafes, tumbleweeds and road kill. All that silence, all that space.

17.
It’s settled. I’m going. Unplug the coffee pot. Pack a life vest. Pack a seat cushion. Pack Dramamine. Unpack drama. Pack heat. Pack light. Pack a black velvet flying carpet that can skirt above the waves. Pack an escape clause. Unpack excuses.

18.
Your own personal boat is waiting on the shore. Drag it the water’s edge. Wade through the bulrushes. Step into it. Settle down. Find your balance. Take a breath. What are you waiting for? Grab a paddle. Push off. Everybody in this story gets a name.

19.
Leaving doesn’t solve the problem of loneliness. It doesn’t make grieving or getting old or losing love any easier. How far to the Promised Land? When do we get there? Measure the distance in heartbeats, wave lengths, paddle strokes. Navigate by starlight, study how it shimmers on the wet backs of the whales. In coracle dreams, we are all going someplace new.

- D’Arcy Fallon teaches journalism and creative writing at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Her memoir, So Late, So Soon, published by Hawthorne Books, was about living in a remote Christian fundamentalist commune in Northern California. Her essays have been published in a number of venues, including The Sun and North Dakota Quarterly.

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Submission Period Closed for Thirty-Third Issue http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-third-issue/ http://damselflypress.net/editorial/submission-period-closed-for-thirty-third-issue/#comments Tue, 15 Sep 2015 12:46:47 +0000 Jennifer http://damselflypress.net/?p=771 The submission period for the thirty-third issue of damselfly press is now closed. Look for the issue October 15, 2015.

As always, thank you to our submitters.

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