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RENTED BODY by Janavi Held

Editor's note: This poem has received a nomination for the 2023 Pushcart Prize:  Rented Body by Janavi Held   I live uneasily  in my rented body wondering when the surrogate season  of shadows will pass. Perishable memories ­­ I have clutched  within this rented vessel; so many forsaken treasures  slip like blinded angels  through the atoms ­­ of my rented jail. They do not land on rock; they come from my bones  like a hurricane,  as my rented flesh is uplifted  by hunger and money  as the two parts  of my soul search for eyes,  for the waterfall,  for the forget-me-nots  to thaw the frozen atmosphere of tears,  for the pale cathedral of doubt  to replace its dead shadow  with a constant heart. In my rented body I climb titanic, twisting stairs,  casting my own shadow  on the torn remnants  of these days, and mortal fibers,  I’ve torn them  from my rented heart,  those gentle atoms living as the symbol of silence,  of forever,  of the Master  of all destroyed things. ~This poem ori

TRANSGENDER ANTHEM by Jennifer Wenn

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today, we offer you a poem in honor of The Transgender Day of Remembrance which is observed  annually, today, on November 20th, as a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. The day was founded in 1999 to draw attention to the continued violence endured by transgender people, and as a call to replace it with peace and compassion.     Transgender Anthem by Jennifer Wenn   Since time immemorial, revealed or hidden, self-aware or suppressed, we have been here.   Through pain, confusion and joy, tearing at contrary, shrouding shells, we have been here.   We follow paths indescribable and incredible, yearning to shine forth our extraordinary iridescence, and we are here.   We are the convention-shakers,                   mould-breakers,                      trailblazers, and we are here!   We are not an illness                      or a theory                      or a debating point; We are flesh and blood, marvellous souls and childre

SISTERHOOD by Tara Anand

  Sisterhood by Tara Anand Sis, how I wish you'd been with me Through the trauma and adversity; Knowing you and I were one Together we would have overcome The family strife, the pain, the shame The lack of love, the lies, the games; Had I had you by my side It could've possibly turned the tide, I may have walked right off that stage Instead I went into the cage. Sis how I wish you'd been with me Through my months of maternity; To hold my hand, and stroke my hair When it all just got too much to bear; 'Time to celebrate' they said When I just wanted to mourn in bed. . .  My career, my life, my carefree ways You'd have gotten me through those days. Sis how I wish when I was five You had come into my lonely life— To play and ride the swings with me Act silly, laugh and shout  in glee; But while God had other plans for you Here's something I really never knew I've been hoping to find you to this day - In every woman who has crossed my way. Tara Anand is a C

SLOW DOWN, MIND by Vidya Chetan

Slow Down, Mind          by Vidya Chetan   We drift faraway from old ideals:  Have we lost our core values? This world runs behind wealth virtuous qualities seem obsolete.  Searching for  something , we tread unknown paths, sans concern for others.   With our gadgets, day & night: Connecting with far ones,  while snubbing those close by. Engrossed in this materialistic world we forget our own caretakers. Respecting elders—obeying them— has become a rare scene. Inconsideration and apathy empower us, our thoughts machine-driven, overindulgence in sense gratification slowing turning us into zombies and slaves.   We can’t live without our gadgets  but could manage without parents. Time spent with parents, siblings, friends: nothing but mere dreams now. We hurriedly meet and leave them.   Smart phones dumbing us down: having forgotten to play, read a book, chit chat with neighbors. Endlessly tied down to the gadgets, our brains on non-functional mode. Feelings of inner happiness lost. S

THAT SPACE by Carolyn Chilton Casas

  That Space by Carolyn Chilton Casas Asleep with the senses awake— that liminal space between  drowsiness and dreams where  the energy takes me time and again.   Minutes move slowly,  life at a standstill, nowhere  to be, nothing to do, only  inhale and then gently exhale again.   In a pocket of unknowingness from which creation springs,  I let go  of what I think I know,  unlearning and looking again.   Saying yes to uncertainty, trusting in the mercy  of a guiding source— a wink of assurance that  there’s still time left to get it right.                             Photograph by Elina-Sazonova Carolyn Chilton Casas   lives on the central coast of California, the perfect landscape for a love of nature, hiking, and playing beach volleyball. She is a Reiki master and teacher, whose favorite theme for writing is about ways to heal. Her stories and poems have appeared in  Braided Way ,  Energy,   A Network for Grateful Living, Reiki News Magazine, Touch, and in other publications.   You

WATER LETTUCE by Caroline Mellor

  Water Lettuce by Caroline Mellor The water lettuce has thick, spongy leaves and is covered in fine hairs. Its roots hang free so it is not anchored to the ground.  (I know this because David Attenborough tells me so, his blue eyes twinkling like fresh water). I think of all the unmoored souls on the planet, cast adrift, roots severed or cut. Not anchored in place. Those who, like me, feel the loss of connection to ancestral home and wisdom,  to themselves. The water lettuce has some remarkable adaptations, says David.  Its free-floating roots mean it can travel. What a beautiful teaching, I thought, for anyone whose roots have been torn up, for anyone who finds family to be a place of wounding rather than of anchoring. To know that they can travel the flooded rivers and the great highways of life gathering all the minerals and nutrients they need from the water  as they go; to know that, like the water lettuce, being rootless,  they too have one more remarkable adaptation.  Says Sir

LIGHTNING by Hafsa Mumtaz

Lightning by Hafsa Mumtaz  Flashing in the nocturnal dark, Breaking the wintry silence: Like a messiah is a glittering mark Swimming in your heart like fluorescence; Like Zuko's redemption arc Becomes The Avatar's essence; Like a knight on a galloping horse Vitreous in the moon's slashes; Like a kintsugi would enchant and endorse The trivia, the imperfections of gashes In pots or marvellous flambé ceramic – Glistening light violet cracks balsamic. Hafsa Mumtaz,   aged 23, is an emerging poet and writer based in Pakistan. She is currently working on her M.Phil. in English Literature. Her works (poetry, and short fiction) have appeared in  Visual Verse ,  The Rising Phoenix Review ,   Women’s Spiritual Poetry ,  The New Verse News ,  Poetry Potion, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Terror House Magazine, Ravi Magazine, The Sandy River Review, Couplet Poetry, Corvus Review, and is forthcoming in Bewildered Souls Anthology: Volume I, by The Black Inks Publications.  *For submission guid