Art: "Empire of Innocence No.3" by Brenden Kocsis
Poetry: "While Today’s Home Fires Burn Hotter, Widows Continue to Fight Fire with Fire" by Jill Crammond
It was a dark and stormy day.
Not the day my father died,
but the day we buried him.
I can say that now: buried him.
Because the dirt was soft and loamy,
beautiful even. Because by the time
the cemetery welcomed us,
the rain had buried itself below
ground. I can say that now: buried.
Because my feet,
in my mother’s black boots,
sank into the earth beside his open grave,
and I knew a part of me would slip
under with him.
I can say that now: grave.
Because my children gravely
became grave scholars of grief that day.
They tasted its tang, smelled its cologne,
breathed deep of its soot and ash.
Grandchildren as smoke eater’s grief eaters.
The day my father died dawned bright
and sunny as any day I woke up with a man
my father would have loathed,
warm as any Indian summer Tuesday in a cemetery.
The day he dark and stormied, we were buried
in rain. No forest fire survived
that day. We traveled in a fogged caravan,
Cadillac of mourners following a firetruck,
tires playing Taps, my mother’s skeleton
hand in mine. We were en route,
answering the fire whistle’s
siren call, putting out the last fire,
no ghosts, no injuries to report.
Published October 18th 2023
Jill Crammond’s first book, Handbook for Unwell Mothers, was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Jet Fuel Review, Limp Wrist, The Shore, SWWIM, Mother Mary Come to Me: A Pop Culture Anthology (Madville Publishing), and others.
B. A. Kocsis is an Australian poet and collage artist whose work has been published in Into The Void Magazine and forthcoming in The Oakland Review and Tofu Ink. Kocsis served in the Royal Australian Infantry. He holds a BA from the University of Queensland and is undertaking a Master of Teaching.