“Iris the Goddess of Iridium and Rainbows,” “Rust-swollen Seeds” and “End of the Line”

Issue 25 by Lisa Alletson

Iris the Goddess of Iridium and Rainbows

your slow tongue peels my name

letter by letter by letter

Iris

my goddess

my platinum resistance melts

its afterthoughts drifting to earth

I must go

I want to stay with you

play with you

crush grapes on your mortal skin

roll you in purple mulberries

eat your earth

drink your blood

fill my pitcher with your nectar

delicious and lavish

remember me by my rainbows

— a message in each

nothing softens the sear of separation

my sobs cannot split,

my skin too dense to bleed

no.

i will carry your body in my iridium skin

your soul in my salted heart

never corroding

we’ll travel, my love

where no one can find us

bonded forever

Rust-swollen Seeds

The limp woman's lips were the last thing to bleed

from her mouthful of warts and rust-swollen seeds.

From the gore and the sod of her mother’s dead body,

grows Sylvie.

Sylvie pulls herself out from her dead mama’s gut;

like a skinny green stalk shooting from compost glut.

She smiles as she burrows out through mum’s furrows

with glee.

Green and new, she brings joy to all those around

but she aches as she works and starts to turn brown.

She sweats to her bone. Her glee turns to stone.

She bleeds.

A man takes her in and makes her brew mead.

He has a mouthful of warts and rust-swollen seeds.

She bears sons for this man to fill up his clan.

He beats.

Sylvie grows thin, blood and fat leave her face.

Her cuddles lose juice, her joy dissipates.

Crust-caked in mud, flung by her thug.

She screams.

She slices herself from top to toe,

reaches under her ribs where she keeps her green glow

to pray in her garden for release and pardon.

"Help me."

In her garden she grows the thorniest rose,

a creamy-cream rose that Oscar Wilde knows.

In response to her prayer, a nightingale in the air

comes to Sylvie.

The nightingale presses her breast to the thorn

that is sharpest and highest, so her heart will be torn.

Sings her sweet final note of beauty and hope

for Sylvie.

But even a nightingale with the hope of the world

has no powers to help our sweet skinny girl.

The bird slowly dies. The dead rose dries.

Poor Sylvie.

Sylvie gives up all hope, sinks deeper than deep.

Her body is torn, she just wants to sleep.

Peace rests in her breast, and perhaps this is best

thinks Sylvie.

Her children are fed, their prayers have been said.

Kissed on the head, and dead now in bed.

The bills are all paid. The man didn’t stay.

She will die clean and quick in her stove made of brick.

Sweet Sylvie.

End of the Line

A strange man on the last bus home touches the religion between my eyes

You are chosen, you are special. You can leave.

Perpetuating my transparency fantasy

these ghosts brush through me

I fill my backpack with memories of my daughter

pills with names like alphabet candy

a daisy for Leila

two arrows

a bow

with a ribbon for you

But you don’t come

You send petal-wrapped prayers

and sentimental pink thoughts

I toss them (and me) in the river

to see what will float

Today it stops.

Never written.

Read no further.

Love is a reel for your twenties

Memories you dreamed

I won’t be in them

About the Author

Lisa Alletson

Instagram

Lisa Alletson is an emerging writer. Her first short story was recently accepted for publication in a literary journal in 2020.