Hall light slits the table, your hands on the tabletop,
nails splitting at the tips, knot of hair missing
from the center of scalp where you picked it clean.
It's almost as if our father is in the room, shadows
enveloping your dining room set, our bodies in symmetry
stooping over it. He used to spit on me,
you tell me, and it's like we're kids again tattling, pressed
away from one another, the darkness overtaking
the splintering light in your green eyes. I can
imagine it now . . . his head in the doorway, pushing
you out sight. His hands were always on you back then.
Your body falling against the bathroom rack, in the kitchen,
where he squeezed a gallon of milk over your head, when
he would lead you into the back room and I'd only hear
the belt snap and delayed scream like
lightning only a millisecond away. You still
hold your arms to your chest like you're trying
to receive a hug that was never given.
You never wanted your face touched, that simple action,
like liquid on your skin. I wish
I could remember it or take the saliva from your eyes
and the tears from your cheeks, or the tongue
from his mouth. But all that's left is this, the growing
darkness in your home and two sisters connecting
memories like constellations in the night sky.
Laura Ohlmann is a MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Lindenwood Review, The Maine Review, GASHER, South Carolina Review, South Florida Poetry Journal and others. She's one of the Associate Editors of West Trade Review. She currently lives in Asheville, NC and enjoys traveling in her converted Honda Element and biking up mountains with her partner and dog.
ZephyrZ is a computer programmer from Kearns, Utah, and a self-taught artist who uses code and a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to create modern art. Since artificial intelligence is already used to generate faces, music, and even poetry, his artistic endeavors continuously explore how machine intuition and program splicing can not only emulate human-created art, but push the boundaries into something original, too. The end result is an ever-evolving process of creation and destruction. Each workpiece is unique, with its own story and personality. You can commission original pieces on his website: https://www.zephyrzart.com.