Delicate Emissions Vol. 1, Issue 3
June Solstice Poetry Zine
Happy Solstice! This issue, we offer you ten poems by eight poets. Once again, our issues aren’t themed, but when reviewing submissions, an editor gets a vibe for what’s going to go down. Our poets all had life cycles and transformation on their hearts, and we’re thrilled to share their takes on birth, adolescence, aging, and societal changes.
In “fingerprints,” Aashaya draws us in to consider our relation to nature, what possession is, and how some dream for physical change where our outside body matches our inside body. We feel this again in “transitional ghazal,” (read about ghazals here); Avery Yoder-Wells explores “being trans, bodies and what to do with them. Hope, fear, acceptance. The complexity of living.” Lilian Rose McCarthy’s “Twine” and Evy Couling’s “Artemis” each visit adolescence in dark, knowing, and palpable ways. In part three of “post-suburban gothic,” Zoe Chuang’s narrator assesses the damage and debris of suburban childhood as they finish high school and prepare to move on.
Steve Denehan’s “Rain Is Coming” addresses aging, plainly and poignantly describing a simple change in behavior and communication. In “commodity frontier,” Max Henninger considers selfies and “the algorithm” that seems to drive the modern economy. Finally, we have a set of three poems by Natasha Murdock that intimately share the dangers that both infants and people with uteri face in the American health care system.
I probably say this every issue, but it’s always true: we humbly receive the gift of beautiful submissions from brave and lovely poets. May your reading today bring thoughtfulness, understanding, and hope.
Dusti RWF, Editor-in-chief
By Natasha Murdock (she/her)
skin to skin, head to chest
who are you you
with the tiniest ridge-dent burrowing in your eyebrow from resting wrongly, sideways-ly,
but who are they to say — wrongly —
who are we
late in the cul-de-sac
we circle in nights for night after night
we circle to soften to open
to break the wave of body in body
we circle to prepare departure
it is late & now the moon is always full we open our mouth & the question pours out
how can the moon remain full
& our answer circles back to us
night after night unnerving & pushing the moon is full, the moon is full
my body melts around a high scream screaming
to be put back, put back please, in the mother
it is wrong we know she & I but
she’s here / can you hear / almost 10 pounds on my chest here’s our baby and I am trying
streaming face straining
where is she
but I can’t even lift my head to see her it’s heavy like her like me
Natasha Murdock is a writer, a partner, a parent & apparently, unexpectedly a dog-person. Find her on Twitter: @notevenjokingmr.
By Evy Couling (she/her)
When I was eleven, my cramps were so painful that I slept in the forest, covering my mouth with
wool mittens so no one could hear me scream: This is the truth, and this is the poem.
Evy Couling grew up in Northern Michigan, and now lives and teaches in Arcata, California. You can find her on Twitter @EvyCouling.
By Lilian Rose McCarthy (she/her/they/them)
I haven’t changed
Since twelve, since
Thirteen, since eleven
I hide and
In me hides so much poison
I like tiny things
They are holy
The most sublime
Lilian Rose McCarthy is a disabled, queer, nonbinary woman who lives in Boston, MA and Dublin, Ireland.
By Aashaya (she/her)
i suppose it is the distance of the sky
from the merciless hands of the people,
that shelters its magnificence.
and i suppose, of this beauty,
i was made to be a watcher, a desirer and
a lover, although never a possessor;
for my hands today are coarse and jagged.
and my fingerprints stain like blotches of ink
over every page of tender poetry.
still, i hope someday when i am wiser,
poetry will be soothing in the caress of my voice,
orchids will bloom in the embrace of my palm,
and a heart will seek safety in my softened arms.
Aashaya is a teenager who loves poetry, dyeing her hair various colours, and the rain.
post-suburban gothic (part three of four)
By Zoe Chuang (she/her/they/them)
that street there, named after a horse, used to
be the home of sprinklers and backyard playhouses,
machetes that got taken and basement classrooms
made of barbie doll dreamhouses.
i lost my first tooth on that street, a schoolbus casualty,
the brown bus seat taking something i would
if this is what is left after the seventeen-year storm,
it is a shame that there is no tangible proof we were really
a yearbook photo with a
misspelled name in the subtitle. a rain-soaked cap and a gown
hanging in the closet of
a room you’ve outgrown.
Zoe Chuang is a longtime poet, aspiring librarian, and sitcom enthusiast from Alabama. They were the 2022 Collegiate Winner in the vday.org Dismantle the Patriarchy contest for her poem “an elegy for medusa.” In 2019, she was the Category IV winner in Saint Mary’s College California’s Center for Environmental Literacy River of Words Poetry Contest for “Creekwater Girl.” Parts 1 and 2 of this poem appear in Issues 1 and 2, respectively. The final part will appear in the September issue.
By Avery Yoder-Wells (they/them)
when your body unsticks / refuses hello, break
only bottles of lacquer / live out a mellow break.
bathroom bonfires / sear eye-lined faces
your best skirt yells / fire, your hands bellow, break.
sunrise pink bubble spools / crammed under cuticles
stretching flame-taffy / the skyline’s sweet yellow break.
kinship in grand central / dysphoria in hand-metal
love cracks through the selfsame / kissing a fellow break.
clean blood from your bed / allow yourself eyes
met in the mirror / i am in-progress. i say, “hello, break.”
Avery (they/them) is a trans, queer poet. They enjoy word games and love. Find them on Twitter: @averyotherwise.
By Max Henninger (he/him)
all those selfies like so many
porn stills — interchangeable.
obeisantly inviting their split
serial emblems of an ongoing
letdown. or surface dynamics
of an algorithm busily solving
for a stable outcome.
Rain is Coming
By Steve Denehan (he/him)
When it rains
he tells me
that he cannot wait for the sun
when the sun shines
he tells me
that the rain is coming
my father is eighty-four
he was not always like this