a forest grew by S.K. Brownell

Graveyard by Nam Nguyen

inside my chest one day
a rumbling of bones
cracking lungs wringed in bark
wreathed – splintering to expand
they want to grow but catch and catch
desirous lovers – throats in late nineties chokers
skinny jeans without the stretch
they are wanting – wantful – willful – wanton
they itch and stretch – crack – ache
every bronchiole a splinter i am screaming
[my name] sound echoing through through through my pleural cavity
clacking like manual keyboards – cracking like F Scott Fitgerald – rolling like
shoulders – clicking – licking – croaking – sticking – catching
the voice of every horror movie character from the early aughts – a grudge
slithering up stairs – rewound and backward – reaching — stretching — striving for [a name]
snapping – splitting – bursting – ticking – screaming [my name] at least
I am protected the diaphragm beneath them thrumming – taught – no sound
will slip between my knees – over my rib cage to
impregnate me a splinter lodged in my endometrium at least
the forest is only in my lungs – liver – gallbladder
maybe soon my spleen but I will never crack
open – cough out – spit up – expectorate the frog
in my stomach – lungs – atria – throat and
cry out [my name] louder than
the rustle of leaves

S.K. Brownell is a writer, artist, and educator from Wisconsin. Their poetry, prose, and drama have appeared in Great Lakes Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, Cathexis Northwest, Punt Volat, Decoded Pride, and elsewhere. Brownell is a 2018 Sewanee Conference Tennessee Williams Scholar and winner of the 2015 National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Excellence Award. They hold an MFA from Boston University, teach writing at GrubStreet, and create with Artists’ Theater of Boston. More at skbrownell.com.

Nam Nguyen is a multimedia artist who enjoys photography, writing, and filmmaking. He has been published in Glassworks, Jabberwock Review, Cirque, J. Mane Gallery, Sunspot Lit, The Ephimiliar Journal, The Esthetic Apostle, Cardinal Sins, Ember Chasm Review, The RavensPerch, Wild Roof Journal, Havik, The Paragon Journal, The Finger Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Glass Mountain, and Chestnut Review.

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