I stepped on a praying mantis yesterday, the act unintentional, irreversible, my apologies sincere, profuse.
Can the dead forgive?
All that was once inside the worshipper now lay atop the pavement, as lime in color as the leaves, creased like origami.
Who designed the antennae and thorax? Or the wings, each set as fragile as koiy?
Some say the exoskeletal segmentation, as well-defined as papered folds, proves the Origamist exists.
Is life the art?
I wanted to cup the mantid in my hands, smooth out its creases, tape up its tears, blow gently into its mandibles, expand its abdomen like a paper balloon.
If I can take life, why can’t I breathe it back?
But I no longer believe I’m in the grasp of invisible fingers, ones that press and pull, animate and destroy.
Who says dexterity needs Divinity?
It’s an art to lose such certainty yet still try to paper the world beautiful, fill it with figures as fragile and dear to me as models to their Origamist.
My eyes crinkle in marvel, whenever I watch the creations I’ve made move, live: a paper crane flap, a paper frog hop.
About the Author
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher, a BIPOC writer, currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He has been published in Arts Alive San Antonio, The BeZine, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, Lone Stars, New Feathers, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, Synkroniciti, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Voices de la Luna, and Waco WordFest. His work has also been featured at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
if yellow were a scent it would be this top note of sunshine the first to fade heart note something like basil base note clover, or cedar I forget how I learned this and I couldn’t say why some random facts took root still, it’s all my fault: these amber blooms were right here crinkly-velvety soft waiting to share their secrets if I’d only stopped to breathe them in
About the Author
Madeleine French tumbled into love with books as a young girl, and never looked back. You may find her in front of a sewing machine, behind a copy of Persuasion, or occasionally on Twitter, @maddiethinks. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetica Review, Paddler Press, Words & Whispers, Hidden Peak Press, West Trade Review, and elsewhere. She and her husband live in Florida and Virginia.
the deepest wounds are caused by those we thought loved us, but only used us instead;
those who wasted our time, our love, and our affection—
they say not to regret it, but i do;
wish i had spent the right attention on the people who were always going to be in my corner rather than waste all my devotion on people who didn't deserve it—
i know there's a lesson learned in every bridge burned, but now i'm just jaded; and i don't know if i can let people in. -linda m. crate
About the Author
Linda M. Crate's (she/her) works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of eleven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: fat & pretty (Dancing Girl Press, June 2022). She's also the author of the novella Mates (Alien Buddha Press, March 2022). She has published four full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020), and you will not control me (Cyberwit, March 2021).