Poetry Showcase on Megha Sood in Fevers of the Mind Anthologies

Nothingness

Some days are like days
where sorrow creeps out
from every nook and corner
trying to pull you in

like hoarfrost on the succulents
the bright shining death
shining through your smiles
devouring you
slowly but surely

like the snake taking you all in
and spitting you out
your hands are covered in sorrows
devoid of you lines

you look into your empty hands
mirroring your life
when the pain creeps up on you
death shrouded like a mystery

where nothingness
is a well-acquainted feeling
the lonesome feeling
you ever felt so
deeply in your pores

Loneliness Begets Second Chance

The half-finished wine glass on the windowsill. A pile of books collecting dust and memories in equal –
measures. Loneliness screams through every nook and corner of my room. Dying Lilies in the broken –
vase with its serrated ends gaping for its last breath in the muted stench of the water. The paint –
scraping off the walls is a reminder of the scratched pellicle. Remembrance is a metaphor for –
acceptance. The unfinished sweater once tangled around the bony fingers of my granny now remains –
orphaned at the base of the couch. Dangling specks of dust in the ray of light, a measure of the –
congruous amalgamation of the despair and agony seeded in the porous soul of this deserted room. –
They are huddled together for warmth for the company. The parquet floor still waits for its due from –
the summer sun and begs for its apricity. A humbled heart strives for its sustenance. The sun-soaked –
mahogany desk has a pile of unsent letters. The longing and unfulfilled desires piled high up as my –
disappointment. Waiting to be acknowledged, waiting to be read. Skewed painting on the walls waits –
for its due, a second chance. A hand to wipe off the dust, a gesture of love, a gesture of acceptance.

The Uprising

The calm and serenity of my demeanor
is a facade for those hunger laced eyes

who like scavengers are circling me
poking me to get a rise out of me.

Their indifference towards me
Their sharp razor words are slicing and shredding me

Indolent words laced with blatant ignorance
that not all hearts are sliced the same way.

Our hunger speaks in different ways and languages
not known to everyone. Not aware of this, they keep poking

& my anger rises like a steaming kettle till I scream
like a whistling pot failing to keep my thunder within.

She Never Had the Chance

Those warm untimely hugs
Precious smiles with a caring persona

Buried under the string of the incessant fights
And the trauma which hides within the fold of her skin

Breathing, slithering, and coiled in the corner of her room
Waiting to strike at any given moment

Pain which traveled and mold and morphs
every fleeting moment of her childhood

Those giggles and laughter lost in the meaningless
fights and incessant screaming across the room

There is pain carved in every corner of her room
She still waits for her share of happiness

In the house now which she never calls home
Nine years old and she never had a chance.

Juxtaposed

Suspended between the intangible state of dream
and reality a state so profound yet so surreal

the tangible moments slip through my open palms
as the gossamer truth of realities weaves a noose

around me tightening like a storm around my waist
with each repetition cutting close to the wounds

pushing deeper and deeper till the flesh gives in.
This juxtaposition state of carnal and survival desires

are the secret language of the soul when it
whispers closely to you, a hushed whisper with

a heaving bosom and a bated breath
syncopating surreptitiously with our heartbeats

ONCE MORE

The deep long treacherous shadows
cast on the bedroom wall
the hallucinations of the clock
the monsters lingering in the hall
the clever and long nails
of the desires clawing their way in
your deep supple soul
and with an ashen mouth
soaked with the crimson
a touch of your tangerine love
I ask for the forgiveness,
Once more.

Sitting in the pews
reading my verse from the holy book
trying to absolve my sins
by dipping my
knuckles in the holy water
shedding my sins
and lecherous desire
to clean my tainted soul
Once more.

Stretching my legs
and arching my back
to stand in the long
wretched queues of the soup kitchen
looking away from
those empty glances
scraping away the curse and abuse
from my sullen mouth
washing it again
to make it pure
Once more.

I stand for forgiveness
in front of my creator
and a devil on the shoulder
perched and feeling at ease
crooning my neck as he, please

I’ll be the god’s holy son
until I stab that knife
in your chest
Once more.

That grim smile on the
devil’s face
I’ll fall down from my grace and
ask for forgiveness
to be absolved again
like a hamster on a wheel
Once more.

BLIND MEN

Our whole life is nothing but a sine wave
the rise and fall of our deeds decide our fate
the crest and trough of our wealth
decides our relations and friends
The ups and downs of our life
decide about the strength
and grit in our character
and the lows and highs in the life
tests our faith.

Anybody showing you the mirror
otherwise is a bad reflection of reality
a pseudo-truth
a distorted reality
based on the dark and dystopian future
which will suffocate any
hope for your fragile
dreams.
will prejudice your dignity

You are on a rollercoaster with no breaks
the speed and the place
where you stop
decodes your faith
so stop believing in destiny
and pull your own breaks
carve those lines in stones
let them see the daybreak

Cause no one can ever tell you
who to believe in
we are all, in the end,
a group of blind men
trying to feel the actuality
a face of the stark reality
we are living in.

SILENT CHAOS

Sometimes there are
hushed whispers under the bated breath
sometimes there is a cacophony
the dissonance
drowning our minds
leaving us numb and frozen

sometimes the laughter gets lost
floating through the trees
frozen on the moss
on a cold misty morning
a frozen ghost

Sometimes a loud thud
when the old chestnut
breaks down and opens itself to the wild
love is always a sacred offering

sometimes the scars tell the whole story
untouched yet cutting through the bone
sometimes the silence seeps in the wrinkles
those folds on the skin
bereft of any emotion

Sometimes a pale face
holds the mystery for the closed palms
and sometimes the crow’s feet
carries the laughter for eons

a still face holds the mirror to life
look closely at the reflection
floating in the swirls
of the deep those obsidian eyes
sometimes silence screams the loudest

Choked

Your vapid thoughts
lodged in my throat
stuck between
the ashen dreams and the reality
like an illusion
a mirage,
like an impossibility of the summer rain
Your pungent thoughts
settled like arid leaves
with its stench carried
throughout my body
those capillaries of failed promises
like the bowl of milk left overnight
left to curdle
baring the stench of a failed ambition
a continuous struggle of my existence
I’m feverishly trying
to regurgitate these sullen thoughts of you
from my reticent mind and screaming soul
a moment sublime:
to breathe fully
to finally feel alive.

That Searing Pain

How can a fleeting emotion
a mere mention of your name
or a visage bearing a semblance of yours
torments and rattles my soul
the searing pain hasn’t stopped yet
the blood hasn’t
chipped or dried yet
those memories
hasn’t turned into a bookmark
a thing of the past
an affair to be forgotten
that smile
still not foreign to me
as the memory of
your warm embrace too
these old memories
with pointy and dagger precision
splits and shreds me to pieces
the pain comes flashing back
as I trample the
unburied consciousness of time
moments so precious
spent in the company of yours

It leaves me baffled
startled how much
a mere sense of your presence
can rattle me from within
aching from the core.

BROTHERHOOD

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

We are all broken, crumbled
rounded again
made from the same clay
caked and baked in the same
unforgiving oven

We all have cracks in us
from where the light gets in
frayed at the border
pulling apart at the seams

Peeling off and
breaking down into pieces
in all our miseries

We are all the same
living under the same
ashen cloudless sky
and blue moon in its reverie

Breathing the same air
swooning over the same
melody of the souls
and crooning our necks
to the same broken chords
in unison, we roll

We all are the same
laughing and cracking up
With welled up eyes
With bruises we endear

Getting stabbed by the same knife
bloodied by the same bullet
cast creed or religion
doesn’t seem to discriminate
Or beg to differ

We are all the same
same heartbeat
sliced and splintered
in million pieces
and the same God we worship
holding books with different verses

We all are the same
from within
laughing at our scars
with abject profundity.

We are brothers
together we shall live.

SCARRED MOON

Untethered,
Unhinged
like the other half of the moon
denied existence by its bright half
a deception like no other.

We sing the songs of the moon
of its beauty and serenity
while the other hides the darkness
the scars,
rejected by its own self

never been a sonnet written about it
bathed in the beauty of the gibbous moon
when the crescent white
is engulfing the other half
devoured slowly and completely forgotten

the night scowls and screams
at the injustice.
I sit and sing my songs of despair
imbued in the silken moonlight
while the two halves
continues to struggle

More About Megha Sood

Megha Sood is an Assistant Poetry Editor for the Literary Journal MookyChick and a Literary Partner with the “Life in Quarantine” Stanford University, USA. Her works are widely published in literary journals and anthologies including Better than Starbucks, Gothamist, Poetry Society of New York, Madras Courier, Borderless Journal, WNYC Studios, Kissing Dynamite, American Writers Review, FIVE:2: ONE, Quail Bell, Dime show review, etc. Three-time State-level Winner NAMI Dara Axelrod NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019/2020 and First Place National Winner Spring Robinson Lit Prize 2020, Finalist in Pangolin Poetry Prize 2019, Adelaide Literary Award 2019 and Erbacce Prize 2020, Nominated for the iWomanGlobalAwards 2020 and many more. Works selected numerous times by Jersey City Writers group and Department of Cultural Affairs for the Arts House Festival. Editor of ( “The Medusa Project, Mookychick) and ( “The Kali Project,” Indie Blu(e) Press). Chosen twice as the panelist for the Jersey City Theater Center Online Series “Voices Around the World”.She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16
Description of the Projects/Chapbook

  1. Co-Editing the “The Medusa Project” by Mookychick, UK Based Arts and Literary
    Journal
    “The Medusa Project” drives inspiration from the magical winged warrior and a Greek
    Gorgon “Medusa” who rose above all the struggles, atrocities, and abuse in her
    patriarchal society and carved a niche for her, finally becoming a beacon of strength and
    resilience for generations to come. This anthology celebrates the 100 years of the woman
    suffragist movement in the United State which led to the 19th amendment of the US
    contribution allowing women to vote.
    This anthology is a deep exposition of that pain and angst carried by the women for
    generations. It encapsulates the entire angst, rage, and passion and transforms it into
    thirty poems, mixed with art, poetry, fiction, and the magical rituals spreading throughout
    this e-book. Released on October 31, 2020, this e-book is free to download. You can
    know more about the e-anthology here.
  2. Co-editing the “The Kali Project” by Indie Blu(e) Publishing, USA
    An anthology of Indian women writing poetry. The Kali Project is a once-in-a-lifetime
    speak-easy for Indian women of today. Their struggles, their triumphs, their truth.
    The Kali Project is another example of setting alight the inequality of women in India by
    sharing their talented voices with an English-speaking audience. We want to introduce to
    our Western readers, those talents within India who speak with the same fierce voice and
    share the same goal of equality and an end to oppression. Indian writing has gravitas and
    brutal honesty that has existed for millennia, influencing poets from around the world.
    The Kali Project has brought together the voices of Indian women speaking their truths.
    Be it infanticide, family violence, the emerging LGBTQ community in India, or the
    marital inequity Indian women face, these struggles are penned in exquisite poetry to
    enlighten and bring awareness. You can know more about the project here. The
    anthology will be published around January 2021
  3. Literary Partner in “Life in Quarantine” Project by CESTA (Center for Textual
    and Spatial Analysis)
    Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is a Digital Humanities initiative
    sponsored by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford
    University. Launched in March 2020 by three doctoral students and a group of
    undergraduates, LiQ is an online community platform that addresses the transformations
    we’re experiencing in the age of COVID-19.
    At the core of the project, there is an online historical archive that houses personal written
    accounts in a wide range of languages from various countries. These stories document
    how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the lives of people from various backgrounds
    across the globe. Additionally, our website provides a space for different types of creative
    expression; personal stories, creative writing, blogs, and visual art.
    The website is designed as an open education resource for students, educators,
    governments, organizations, and businesses to promote cultural solidarity and global
    interconnectedness with inclusivity at its center.
    I’m acting as a Literary partner for the Life in Quarantine Project, responsible for curating
    the works from the literary community for the “Words in Quarantine” section of the Liq
    Website. You can learn more about the project here.
  4. First Chapbook “A Potpourri of Emotions”, Local gems Press, NY
    https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/2020/09/18/chapbook-published-by-the-local-
    gem-press-long-island-new-york/

NEW! The Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 available in Deluxe Edition, Kindle/ebook, and Split Editions Volumes 1 & 2 on Amazon. An interview with musician Austin Lucas included in Deluxe & Volume 1

The Fevers of the Mind Press has a huge collective of poets, writers, interviews, recommendations & more in the new book https://amzn.to/3sjgWnz (Deluxe edition) https://amzn.to/35EJ8Yl (Volume 1) https://amzn.to/2LyiedF (Volume 2)

Volume 1 includes contributions from myself (David L O’Nan), HilLesha O’Nan, Rob Z photography, Ankh Spice, Catrice Greer, the Poetry Question & Chris Margolin, Jenna Faccenda, Ethan Jacob O’Nan, Icefloe Press, Robert Frede Kenter, Moira J Saucer Darren Demarree, Abdulmueed Balogun, Bradley Galimore, Anisha Kaul, Foy Timms, David Ralph Lewis, Paul Brookes, Sidney Mansueto, Lawrence Moore, Karen Mooney, Jenny Mitchell, Makund Gnanadesikan, James Lilley, Richard Waring, Vern Fein, Ediney Santana, Rachael Ikins, Samantha Terrell, Al Matheson, Ceinwed C E Haydon, Will Schmit, Dai Fry, Barney Ashton-Bullock, M.S. Evans, Megha Sood, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Matthew M C Smith, Lucy Whitehead & Merril Smith as well as an interview with Americana/Indie/Punk musician Austin Lucas

Volume 2 includes contributions from myself (David L O’Nan) HilLesha O’Nan, Rob Z Photography, Troy Jackson, Book Reviews for Hokis, David Hanlon, Susan Richardson & Norb Aikin, Karlo Sevilla, Steve Denehan, A.R. Salandy, Steve Wheeler, Sher Ting, December Lace, Ken Tomaro, Kushal Poddar, Tan Tzy Jiun, Amy Barnes, Jason DeKoff, Raine Geoghegan, Jim Young, Tim Heerdink, Damien Donnelly, Kristin Garth, Mela Blust, Jackie Chou, Rickey Rivers Jr, David Hay, Kari Flickinger, John Ogunlade, Z.D. Dicks, Julie Stevens, Gayle Sheridan, Wil Davis, Samantha Merz, Iona Murphy, Gerald Jatzek, KC Bailey, Samuel Strathman, Mike Whiting, Peter Hague, E Samples, Ann Hultberg, Jane Dougherty, Michael Igoe, Maxine Rose Munro, John Everex, Lacresha Hall, Kelly Marie McDonough, Gabe Louis, Linda M Crate

Deluxe Edition is over 300 pages and includes all of the Poets, writers, interviews, musicians, photography & more.

An Interview with Brett Siler of Rebore Records in Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest Issue 2

Q1: When did you first learn that you had a love, niche for music? What was your first favorite style of music (NKOTB obviously)? When did you get your first guitar?

“For niche music I would say when I became a teenager. I got into BMX and would buy BMX videos and the soundtracks to them would be a lot underground music, mostly punk rock. I just went down the rabbit hole from there. I made friends in with people in high school that also liked punk and we started going to pretty much any local show we could; most of which consisted of punk, hardcore and metal. I later got into lots of other styles of music but that was where it began. My first favorite style of music when I was a little kid was probably classical. I loved Tchaikovsky, particularly Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. As a teenage when I would say punk rock had a life altering impact, particularly Black Flag. I got my first guitar when I was in 3rd grade but I didn’t really have to focus you need to learn an instrument then (what 3rd grader does?). I’d much rather play with Ninja Turtles at that age. I later started playing guitar more obsessively at 13.

Q2: What made you lean towards learning production, engineering side of music? Was it out of necessity, or did you study/learn from others?
initially when I was a young teenager I just wanted to record my own music. I recorded my first bands album on a cassette tape answering machine. I later got a cassette 4 track as a teenager which I recorded the Sludgephone album on (Rebore’s first release). When I was 18 I had the classic ultimatum of going college or get kicked out. A nearby college had Audio Engineering as a major. That sounded less scary than being homeless. So I went school for that. I used the loan money to buy recording equipment. I also figured if I was charging money to record people I should get good at it so I started obsessively studying it. Recording my own band for free was also a big motivation.. I mostly learned from just doing it first hand, and reading books and internet forums; more so than college. I eventually dropped out of college and just pursued recording on my own. So It was a little of both out of necessity and learning from others, and just trial and error.

Q3: I have most of the Stationary Odyssey stuff, and fascinated by the strange visuals in the videos. Who came up with the strange visuals such as Zombie-Santas and such in the video “My Baby is Black”

I believe that was our friend Shawn Knight’s idea. He in an amazing band called Child Bite (as well as a few other rad projects coming out). He also released the very first Stationary Odyssey album on a label he ran called Boy Arm Records. Super talented dude!

Q4: Tell me about Rebore Records. When did you first establish the label. Discuss some of the artists who have recorded under your label. I guess this isn’t much of a question, as it is giving you the soapbox on your label

Rebore Records was established in December of 2013. I was doing a similar thing called Dyspepsidisc with Aaron Tanner previously but that dissolved and I started Rebore up with my buddy Nick Schenk. It’s a home for my friends and my recordings. Luckily my friends are super talented! There’s no real theme genre wise for the label. I trust and respect my friends as people and artists. I just want to help them and be supportive.

Q5: I know you have also done some acting in movies, have you explored doing more acting, or do you see yourself as more of a musician than an actor? What do you enjoy doing more

That all came about after befriending Mitch Massie. We had similar taste in movies (both of our favorite movie is Gummo) and he was very supportive of my bands I was in at the time of meeting him, Gratis and Stationary Odyssey. He asked if I want to be in a movie he was making called The Anathema Report (the soundtrack is released on Rebore and is one of my favorite releases on there). That started a 10 year relationship of acting in 3 full length movies and somewhere around 60 music videos he made! He is extremely talented and hope to work more with him. Plus, he is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I worked on a few other peoples things here and there but 95%
has been with Mitch. I’ll be in something my friend Zach Zint is making starting this weekend. I mostly see myself as a musician, but I do think I started getting good at acting after doing so many videos. As far as what I enjoy more…I just enjoy creating in general and being apart of things that I cool so I enjoy both.

Q6: I know you are more into the music side of songs & musicians. I know that you are a big punk, metal, alternative rock fan. However, being this is also a Poetry & Art Magazine, what are some of your favorite lyricists or lyrics? Is any Fugazi related?

Fugazi has amazing lyrics! I think Tom Waits is a great lyricist. Dennis Lyxzen lyrics off of Refused “Shape of Punk to Come” are excellent. Jello Biafra’s work in Dead Kennedy’s and LARD. Dimtri Minakais and Ben Weinman’s lyrics on Dillinger Escape Plan’s “Calculating Infinity”. I’ll give examples of lines that I really like by each artist. Fugazi: “You hear something outside? It sounds like a gun Stay away from that window, boy It’s not anyone that we know Only about ourselves and What we read in the paper Don’t you know ink washes out Easier than blood?”

Tom Waits “T’aint no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones” (William S Burroughs song that song, not sure if he wrote those lyrics or if Tom Waits did.. Burroughs rules)

Refused: “I got a bone to pick with capitalism and a few to break Grab us by the throat and shake the life away Human life is not commodity, figures, statistics or make believe”

The Locust “Is this the dumpster of your dreams?”

Jello Biafra “Peeling back the foreskin of liberty”

Dillinger Escape Plan “Alfresco slapsticked Foam mouth sunshine”
Q7: How do we get out of Evansville? Let me word this differently. Evansville, Indiana hasn’t always been known to have a huge art, music & poetry scene. What can small cities such as Evansville do to be more proactive in creating opportunities for bands, poets, art in whole? It always seems once we have a decent venue for music or poetry then it disappears rather quickly.

That is a big and hard question. I think one thing that is stacked against Evansville and cities like it is, it is economically depressed. Most people here don’t have very much money and are usually working some shit job. Music and art programs are usually the first to be stripped from schools, so there isn’t much education on music, art, poetry; so, there are going to be less people interested in it. Evansville is also very isolated. Culturally there isn’t much emphasis on being creative. It’s mostly focused family, Christianity, work. The reason a venue disappears rather quickly is because it gets crushed by the economic realities, we all have to deal with. I think without the material infrastructure to cover even just basic needs it is very difficult for there to be a sustained art scene.

Q8: Tell me about Plasticizer. How did this idea come up? Was it to see how fast you can bang out a good song? Plasticizer came up because all the bands I were in ended. I just started writing music own my own under that name. I was trying to impose a short time frame to finish a song at first just so I didn’t sit on the project forever. I hit a huge wall with that band because of a string of severe bad luck pretty much put everything to a halt. I was evicted out of my studio and living space then quickly moved into a place that caught fire and destroyed everything I own. I’ve spent the last three years working so I can get back to creating again. It’s been very hard. I hope to be able to get back to it very soon.

Q9: Everyone should listen to the Halloween Special from Rebore Records. Tell people how you can order music, your website, social medias, all the Brett Siler and Rebore Records people need to know. I agree everyone should listen to it! You can currently order our music from https://rebore.bandcamp.com/ , we are also the bigger social media site, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube Even better is if you sign up to our email list! ReboreRecords@gmail.com!

Q10: Are there any big projects you are currently working on, or just completed? Is there any colleague’s work you would like to promote? I’m currently working on finishing up a movie score that I am very happy with so far! Should be done with that very soon. After that I would mostly like to focus on Plasticizer,but I have a million side projects sitting on my hard drive, that I’ve collaborated with friends. Also have some albums from older bands I was in that are finally going to be released!

Q11: Talk about the music they play late in the Meijer. I know you have strong opinions on the Shania Twain, Edwin McCain, some current goof pop, or maybe out of nowhere you’ll hear that strange Benny Mardones song. Why is there no “My War” by Black Flag?

HA! One of the funniest/cringier song I heard there was some Reel Big Fish. I feel like people would get to amped hearing My War and trash the store and steal all the groceries.

Q12: Any writing contribution for this edition? Perhaps your own Canterbury Tale or such? *crickets chirping* I’m gonna write the Nu Bible

Picture1

 

Skeleton Tree by Kaitlyn Luckow

It’s not like she didn’t plan on coming here. In fact, if she was brave enough to be honest, a part
of her yearned to be here. It all led up to this: home.

The forest, with its skeleton trees that still produced impenetrable shadows, made her feel as if
this was where she belonged.

She looked down at her t-shirt that used to hug her chest, but she didn’t need to be hugged
anymore. This was no place for that. This was a place where all around you moved in. The trees
enveloped you in their arms and held you as close to their ragged trunks and fallen leaves as
they could.

She had been here before; the trees creaked to her and sang her a song that hallowed out her
soul so that she could make it whole again.

****
“You feel like you deserve this?”

“Yes.”

“And why is that?”

“I don’t know.”

“I think you do know. Can you tell me?”

“I’m nothing.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because it’s true. It doesn’t matter. I don’t matter.”

“Why do you think you tell yourself this?”

“It’s all I’ve ever been told.”

“By others or yourself?”

“By everything.”

“So, is that why you do this to yourself?”

“If I’m nothing, then I should be nothing.”
***

The roots of the trees, the ribs of the trees, jut out of the earth, but she didn’t try to avoid them.
She liked the twinge of the sharp points, liked the way the rough edges took her breath away so
she could try to breathe again.

She looked around, desperately hoping to see her again. Last time, she had disappeared into
the roses before she had a chance to finish. Not this time. This time would be different. This
time, maybe the thorns would keep her.

***
“You mentioned once that you feel better. Is that true?”

“I feel more…right.”

“Describe right.”

“I don’t know. Like, this is me. This is who I am.”

“But it wasn’t always.”

“That’s because I didn’t know.”

“What made you know?”

“She did.”

***
The shadows of the skeletons wilted away to make room for the stars that never came. But she
was still able to see. The only thing she needed to see was the dark.

A gust of wind overtook her entire body and she felt emptily whole as she smiled.

She was here.

She filled her lungs with the wind and breathed out ash. It danced in front of her like blood in
water until the ash started to come together to create her pointed face of razor cheeks and
jutted lips. Her black wings were her cloak that she bathed in and sparse feathers dotted her
skull as the remaining ashes blew away.

Her black wings folded down over arms and she held out her hand.

“Give me your hand, Lily,” the woman said.

Lily held out her hand and touched her finger to the woman’s. Black ink started to fill up her
hand with cold and the black danced around her wrist and rooted itself through her elbow.

The woman smiled down at her when it was filled.

“Welcome home.”

***

“And what has she told you?”

“That I needed to be better. That I wasn’t good enough.”

“Why weren’t you good enough.”

“I was too much.”

…..
….

“And do you feel better?”
***
The woman floated across the fallen leaves and wrapped her wings around Lily.

“My dear, I can finally wrap my wings all the way around you.” The woman kissed her on her
cheek. “And I can finally feel your bones.”

Despite the wings, despite the kiss, Lily was cold.

“Don’t be afraid, darling. It’s okay to be cold.”

She could always read her mind. That was Lily’s favorite part. Someone understood. Someone
made her not feel like, as her mother would say, “crazy”.

“Being cold only means that you can feel.” The woman smiled.

***
“Yes, I am better.”

“Your mother brought you here because you keep fainting. Do you think that’s really better?”

“Sort of.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It’s worth it.”
***
The woman lifted her wings and held Lily away so she could look at her.

Lily stared back. Hoping she wouldn’t see. Hoping she wouldn’t notice–

But the woman lifted her eyebrows knowingly. “Lily.”

“I know,” Lily whispered. “I’m sorry.” She dropped her head to look at her thigh peeking out
underneath her shirt. The skin bulged up, the lines a gross reminder of all of her mistakes.

The woman put her hand on Lily’s thigh. “Let me help you.”

The black ink flowed from her wings, through Lily’s thigh. As the ink dripped from her body, so
did the fat, so did the lines.

Lily felt relief.

***
“It’s worth it? Is it worth it if this kills you?”

“Do you want it to kill you?”
***
“Thank you,” Lily whispered to the woman.

But the woman didn’t smile back, she didn’t take away her hand. She only furrowed her brow. “It
is not enough,” she said in a flat voice.

Lily’s eyes widened as she looked down at her legs to see them dripping, dripping, dripping with
ink. A black pool filled the forest floor. But it just kept dripping. Her legs kept dripping.
Disappearing. Lily looked back at the woman, panic filling her lungs.

“Please,” Lily said.

“Not enough,” the woman said flatly, not looking at her, but smirking at the pool of black she was
creating.

Lily tried to move, but she was trapped. She couldn’t lift her feet. And it kept dripping.

But then, she spotted it, a flash of red. A flash of thorns behind the woman who wouldn’t stop.

***
“I’m so afraid.”

“You don’t have to live like this. You don’t have to be afraid.”

“Help me.”
***
The roses reached up like flames behind the woman and swiftly grabbed her by the by the
wings. The force tore away her hands. The ink started to dry up.

“But, dear. We’re not done yet. We’re so close,” the woman said calmly as the rose branches
started to lift her up. Her eyes told of panic.

Lily didn’t say anything, frozen to the forest floor amongst the ink.

The roses lifted up its branches and dug it’s thorns into the woman’s skull. The woman
screeched as her feathers started to give way to ashes.

“Lily, you don’t want this. You need to–”

The largest and brightest rose lifted its bulb over the woman face. It opened up its petals and
collapsed over her screams. The thorns disintegrated the darkness into mere ash and all was
silent.

Lily felt something warm slide down her hollow cheek. She lifted up her finger and wiped the
tear across her face.

Maybe she didn’t have to be hollow.

This forest never had to be her home.

Twitter: @kaitlynluckow  Instagram: kaitlyn.luckow

Website: Kaitlynluckow.com

“Skeleton Trees” is a short story that follows a main character as she deals with her anorexia through conversations with her therapists and a magical realism world that she creates to justify her actions against herself.

Kaitlyn is a writer based in Portland, OR. Her roots are in education and she was a high-school English teacher for five years before taking the leap to follow her passion for increasing compassion and understanding through storytelling in writing.

She believes in the ability of writing as a vehicle for empathy. In order to tell stories that unite, she believes in the power of well-crafted writing, honest storytelling, and creating stories that connect.

Her creative writing has been previously published at Wide Eyes Publishing, Barren Magazine, and The Crybaby Club.