Samantha Malay’s work recently appeared in The Very Edge: Poems (Flying Ketchup Press 2020), Ponder Review and Qwerty Magazine. Born in Berlin, Germany, she grew up in rural northeastern Washington State. She is a theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, a mixed-media artist and a graduate of Seattle University’s sociology program. https://thistleandhasp.wordpress.com
in the seams of sleep
the curtains were stained where they stuck to the glass
answers were eavesdropped
and icicles dripped from the roof of the porch
while our coats hung on nails and bread baked inside
near a hinge in the floor where we left all our questions
like cups upside down to guard against bugs
and handwritten notes under root cellar jars
between bent hasps and splintered slats
pillowcase creases and windowsill light
I am pulling on threads and begging the ash
In summer we walked through the woods,
picking wild strawberries and naming the trails as our own.
The remains of a homestead lay half-buried, roof joists rotting around rusty cans,
books frail and dusty as moth wings. Grass seeds clung to our clothes.
Can you stop time so we can stay together?
In town, he drove with his arm across the front seat
to keep us from hitting the dashboard at intersections.
Leave your coat on when we get there.
He knew these people before he was married. Sad to see us, they asked us to stay.
But by then we’d seen dead animals and fires at the edge of the garbage dump,
smoke lingering in the orange peels and eggshells, cigarette butts and toys.
We’d heard arguments through the floorboards, moved into houses with dirty sinks
and medicine abandoned behind the bathroom mirror.
We’d departed together, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the school year,
to sleep in campgrounds and fields.
We’d listened to the snow muffle our voices as it lit the night sky,
tree boughs soft and heavy and quiet.
We felt the inward pull of family,
like underwater branches against our legs in the lake.
Will you leave us some clues before you go?
We need to know fool’s gold from the real thing,
the names of the people who broke your nose,
and should you kiss the girl on your right when you see a car with one light?
in winter we dreamed of birds
shoulder blades and arms and wrists
hinged as if for flight
a kinship record held in what we left behind
torn pages and ink blossoms
strands of hair in swingset chains
sand dollars in coffee cans
wait with me on the steps to the porch
until we’re signaled to migrate
by an unpracticed language
and an angle of light
in the dream
he sees his sister in the kitchen
cigarettes and brittle words
in after-dinner light
a car idles
early snow drifts
between leafless trees
the house refuge and snare
under the porch
shoulder blades scrape
where light slats through
to roots and dry dirt
a tarpaper nail
opaline insect shells
pull the bandage aside
we are stitched together
frost covers grass
in early night
we halve the distance
follow luck like ruts down the mountain
‘Inland’ was published in Projector Magazine, issue 2; reprinted in Heirlock Magazine, issue 3.
‘Sift’ was published in Burningword Literary Journal, issue 84; reprinted in Heirlock Magazine, issue 2.
‘Signal’ was published in Wild Roof Journal, issue 1.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.
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