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IR Online Poetry: “Portrait of a Boy” by Katarina Merlini

     for MP

The ruined illusion of a body held
together by threads: dark grey T-shirts would catch
on black metal surface bars. Forced removal,
a night spent on prescription Xanax, twin
scars sit just on top of well-defined pectorals.
Edges sharp as sullen swords, a two-winged
collarbone flows into an unremarkable neck
(neither elegant nor plain). Then, an unassuming
jawline, overly full lips—I say feminine,
he will insist shapely. A rounded nose, snub,
the septum piercing would catch on my nostril
and hold our faces close. Eyes, disappointing
in color and shape. Hair kept long to shelter
soft cheeks. The portrait of a boy lost in transition.

*

Katarina Merlini is a poet, writer, and alleged human being who studies screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-10-41-01-pmEnglish and Psychology at the University of Michigan. When she’s not dressing her dog up in thrifted sweaters or tending to her windowsill cactus collection, she enjoys working as a mentor for local LGBTQ+ and at-risk youth.

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IR Online Poetry: “Lake Winnebago” by Hannah-Marie Nelson

I see boats with solid anchor roots
hovering awkward on swaying ripples
like feet tethered to graves of their own souls.

I see a drained woman
not watching a bright-eyed boy
who is watching the boats rock
as he walks towards the shore.  

I see people floating pressed against ground.
A little to the left, a little to the right.
And back again as if leaving were
sinking.

So I’m sinking, swaying,
broken beneath boat bottoms
to see what you last saw
before false air betrayed your body.

I wonder what water-air feels like.
Did lake water overfilling his lungs
feel the same since he’s autistic?
Either way, drowning must feel so
lonesome.

Either way, she was supposed to be watching him.
Then he wouldn’t be dead.

*

Hannah-Marie Nelson is currently a sophomore at the University hannah-nelsonof Minnesota-Twin Cities who is majoring in English and minoring in creative writing. Writing poetry and fiction is her greatest passion, and she aspires to continue on to get her MFA in creative writing after graduation and become a creative writing professor and professional writer someday. She’s originally from Neenah, Wisconsin where her wonderful and supportive family lives. Her family and the amazing teachers and professors she’s had throughout her time as a student have helped her get as far as she is today in her writing journey which she greatly appreciates. She’s had poetry published in Dream Quest One, the Belleville Park Pages, and the Blue Heron Review and always appreciates publishing opportunities such as this one that give her the opportunity to share her work.

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IR Online Poetry: “Wuthering” by Indigo Baloch

     I will haunt this home until it collapses upon me. I will stain the walls with mold and black water; make her uninhabitable for new use.

     She is mine. Her yellow frame, and white trim are all the good I can remember of my painted youth—each window a portal to my glittering realm.

     The mirrored panels of the basement were my studio; echoing white houses and tiptoed, bumblebee ballets. I drew from my reflection and got my own mouth wrong.

But give me time to amend. Do not rush me.

     The catacombs were perfumed with sweet dry clay, a phantom of bitter acrylics permeating each sunroom. This was my laboratory—my invention: hope.
     The unruly garden and its empty fountain was an Eden of lavender and crab apples, hidden caves and stone lions. I explored these lands ‘til the moors grew grey, but will not lend you the maps. You must find your own.

     I will keep her disarrayed and enchanting.
     I will be so profound in my rage that it will force you to silence.
     I will shudder and hiss:

This is my house. This is my house.

     until you find yourself trembling in your bones.

You have borne a whispering poltergeist, and I hope my restless aching brings you an

unknown sorrow.

     But only leave her a specter—a wound that repeats itself—a skeleton overgrown with wisteria and ivy—only let her be to rot. Let her ruins sink into the earth like her ancestors, her creators, mothers and churches, orchestras and summers, beetles and marshes.

     This temple of my childhood, this tower of my innocence must deteriorate with my time.  So do not groom her. Do not tame her. Leave her foolhardy and wild.

Love,

The Heath.

*

Indigo Baloch is a senior at Chatham University earning her Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism with minors in Graphic Design, Woindigo-balochmen’s Leadership, and Asian Studies. She is the Editorial Assistant of Maniac Magazine, the Campus Correspondent for Chatham’s chapter of Her Campus, the Editor in Chief of The Minor Bird Literary Magazine, and a Poetry Booking Agent for FoundSound Music. Her poetry has been featured in multiple issues of The Minor Bird, and she has performed at the International Sigma Tau Delta Convention in 2016; she has also participated in many readings around the Pittsburg, PA area. 

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IR Online Poetry: “Hay Fire” and “Public Gardens” by Nora Sullivan

Hay Fire 

It was like watching the moon wane,
her child crawling toward me,
like watching a field go up at night
in hay fire, small tufts
embering and fast-moving
toward the forest, humid smoke
dimming the clogged sky.
This lack of oxygen, a gasp, unbreathing.
If the child had stopped, I would not have leaned
down and picked her body up. If the girl’s small frame
was less red, less milk fed, less whole
I would not have rested her against
my shoulder, curved against my breast
in an imitation of nourishment.
My task was to hold her head, to support
the neck, to not upset—the instinct
was to coo. I know nothing of how
to pacify fearsome creatures. One hand out,
one at the base of her gossamer spine. Cobwebs,
paddocks, bales. The tongue peeked out
from the mouth. Smoke, pointed warmth,
the body’s heat matched mine even in its smallness.
Holding another woman’s child was like spanning an underworld,
a foreign atmosphere, no breath, yet some sweet
moment of discovery, and vapor, and heat,
and a suffocating end like water.

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IR Online Fiction: “A Hundred Magnificent Shades of Red” by Navid Saedi

Why would he sit there?

Look at him, sitting on a rock.

Sitting on a rock beside the lake, he stares into the center of the lake where the moon is a perfect sphere glowing like a dentist’s lamp.

It glows for his eyes.

He is alone.

The others are sleeping.

Most of them are sleeping, one of them is crying.

The crying man deprives his friend of sleep, as his friend listens from a neighboring tent to sounds that he first mistakes for a rodent in distress.

But please don’t pay attention to the crying man.

He is unimportant, for now.

Instead, look at the man sitting on a rock by the lake.

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