Emily Wang – Ponder Away

(For the children aborted or separated from their biological parents as a result of China’s
mandated one-child policy which restricted most couples to have only one child)


In a snakelike dream, oolong stretches
to a sun-dried face pressed up against concrete,
nose breathing in the soles of sweetly caked dirt.
This overpopulated city. This overrun city.
Neon signs pass a loveless woman’s eyes,
time going under in maple blur.
She listens closely to the current of people going home.
Filled to the brim with harmony of grandmama’s cooking
and the light of their lovers laughing in their stomachs
when she herself holds an empty belly
void of her daughter, void of the light of her life
empty without the lovesong of her child.
Woman cradles her aching feet, the rhythm of her body
going back and forth, back and forth
Sway. Forth and back.
Blood bruises in a desolate color beneath her palms and legs
in the shape of plum hearts.
Woman feels for bright peony plumps
where cold air grips her thumb.
There can only be one, she knows.
One body of damp breaths,
a single cry echoing from the womb.
Half a lullaby to a one child policy.


Artist:

Emily Wang is a high school student that currently resides in Montville, New Jersey. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing awards and aims to use writing as a means to express emotions that can’t be confined to a single word. She can usually be found watching films or brewing tea.

Ruth Kozak – Ponder Away

MIDNIGHT MUSE

My Muse comes after midnight

nudges me awake.

Whispers urgently,

“Get up! Write!”

I curse her,

stumble across the dark room,

search for matches,

light the candle wick.

Where has she been in the daylight?

How many hours did I wait for her

listening for her voice?

“Where were you?” I ask.

“Was it your voice I heard

while I daydreamed in the sun?

Or was it only the sound of

of sheep bells on the mountain?”

“Write!” she demands. “Write!”

If I wait til morning

the words she whispers to me

will be extinguished

like this candle flame.


Artist:

W. RUTH KOZAK is a published historical novel writer and travel journalist who sometimes writes poetry. Several of her poems have been published in anthologies including the most recent, “Precious Moments on the Beach” in Limitless, an Anthology Charity Project by McGrath House with proceeds going to refugees and immigrants.  Ruth plans to publish a book of poems written during her many stays in Greece titled “Songs for Erato”. She is currently working on a YA historical novel titled “Dragons in the Sky” in which some of the chapters are written as Bardic verse.

Chella Courington – Ponder Away

Dancing Together

Adele constantly played the twenty-year game. Twenty years ago I was thirty, twenty years from now, I’ll be seventy, counting years like a handful of coins, knowing they would be spent for trinkets, a pair of gold earrings or the mermaid wind chime sculpted from copper wire, its tail outlined in green with amethyst squiggles and silver glitter, a dream no doubt as all mermaids are but a tangible vision with a gold star in one hand and a blue shell in the other, and Adele held it in the breeze to catch the currents before hanging it on the ornamental apple tree outside their glass doors, an ageless woman with golden locks reminding Adele of the ballet dancers who hung in frames on her childhood wall, their forms perfect in pink, toe shoes never scuffed or dirtied, perpetually on point, waiting in this moment, unruffled by the past or future and later when she read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” she thought of her ballet dancers and how lovely they would look encircling any vase, almost touching hands, the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for Gelsey Kirkland to reach out from the ceramic, alive and offering Adele a charm, a talisman for longevity, a silver marble almost an inch in diameter, that she placed in her left palm, and suddenly she felt the continuity of it all, how the urn and Gelsey and the mermaid met at the center, life converged, and there were no tears since existence was a sequence of bubbles, fragile and full of color, busting into another and though Adele could see them vanishing into the distant light, she felt they somehow would continually be, not in her sight or that of anyone else standing on earth now, but the bubbles were always somewhere always becoming something new because today, June 23, was the day she felt, for the first time truly felt, those she loved endlessly around her, leaving snatches of notes and crumpled tissues to remind Adele that time was arbitrary and depended on limited eyesight but existence continued forever to wrap her in its threads.


Sharp Edges

That’s what it was, yes, the sun, a trapezoid on her bamboo floor. She wasn’t even sure if she knew what a trapezoid was, those days in geometry long ago, Mrs. Burgoyne in thick beige hose and a floral dress, exuding the mustiness of tobacco, and they stopped in their seats, held their breaths that Burgoyne would not single them out, ask for an answer, rapping the wooden desk with her nails. Yes, a trapezoid of light. Adele had remembered the shape after all those years, two parallel lines with uneven sides, the metal clothes rack on rollers, long shirts and short on plastic hangars waiting for someone to wash or iron or wear defined the side closest to the bed. Trapezoid. The sound, that’s what she remembered most about eleventh grade math, all those delicious words—perpendicular, quadrilateral, rhombus, isosceles, especially isosceles with all the s’s tickling her tongue. She would roll the syllables, listen to their sibilants whistle on ivory, and think of her new skates, the ones her mother bought at Loveman’s Department Store three weeks before Christmas. She handed them to Adele that day, a white box with white skates so Adele could slice parallel lines. Though her marks were often ragged, splinters glistening under Loveman lights at the store’s indoor rink, she dreamed of leaving the ice cut clean. Had she outgrown those skates and skating, giving them up for boys with pimples and their sticky hands, grasping, reaching like the tentacles of some kraken, leaving marks jagged and uneven? All that fumbling and pushing when no meant no or maybe or yes.


Artist:

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a Ph.D. in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of six poetry and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry and stories appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quaterly, The Collagist, and the Los Angeles Review. Originally from the Appalachian South, Courington lives in California.

Follow:

Twitter: @chellacouringto
Instagram: @chellacourington
Mother/Father Poems@Califragile https://califragile.org/2019/06/
Chella Courington on Facebook

In Their Own Way

Love Letter to Biology 250

Guna Moran & Bibekanada Choudhury – Ponder Away

MEMORY
Original : Assamese : Guna Moran
Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

Shall return
To this day
Turned into past
Someday

In the past
The mind
In the future
The body would stay

Squatting on the carpet of grass
Playing flute on a full moon night
There in the sky above
the youthfulness of the moon is dancing
behind the thin curtain of cloud
Listening to tinkling sound of tinkles
wafting to the ears

World is silent in the magical tune
I am imbibing moonlight getting oblivious of myself
Rain of moonlight is the favourite taste of lover Earth

Shall sit as past
In the holy place of my favourite memory
Shall repeat the same work
Feeling euphoric thinking about it


Artists:

-Guna Moran is an Assamese poet & critic. His poems are being translated into Italian and France language and have been published in various national and international magazines, journals, websites, newspapers such as The Tuck magazine, Spillword, The Merak magazine, The Setu magazine, Story Mirror, The Poem Hunter, The Sentinal, The Hills Times, Best Poetry and so on.

-Bibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothills of Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Ikechukwu Obiorah – Ponder Away

TELL YOUR TALE TO THE CLAY

Do not dwindle away in a motion of sway

The world needs that your green thumb in bay

To save situations at hand and  make a way

Where there is no fish in sea to help live in ray

Whether you are the bearded vulture of the day

All kinds of specialist are needed in isle of cay

To render some shoulders in building a railway

That will enable souls reach their nautical day

Time is the red sea flowing to every pathway

Spaying the crinkle of living souls that slay

Yet in crossing the divide you need to pray

To spray the anointing of heaven on the way

Don’t strike dumb when things are not okay

Though you are nothing but an earth clay

You have the animus to shift tale of the day

Just tell your tale to the faculty of the clay.


Artist:

Ikechukwu Obiorah is a Nigerian Writer, a Prolific Poet and Novelist. He studies B.A (Hons) English at the Benue State University, Makurdi; 400 Level.  He is a Student Ambassador of POETS IN NIGERIA (PIN). The Editor in Chief of Writers’ League (BSUM) and also a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA Benue Chapter). His poem “The Oracle Bard” has been published in “POETICA 2019” by Clarendon House Publications, England, UK. His poem “The Throne of Truth” published in Ponders Series by Ponder Savant Publications. His poem “Bat of the Underworld” published in Samhain Issue 2019, by Sage Cigarette Magazine, Florida USA. His poem “Skeletal Romance” has also been published in Nigerian Ero Gospel Magazine. He has been published in several reputable International Journals and Magazines. For a decade Poetry has been his sweet heart.