Two Poems by Jaclyn Youhana Garver

Maybe She's Born with It

Have you heard of that girl who
graffitis in Kabul? They say she’s
Afghanistan’s only female graffiti artist.
She’s not there? he asks. You mean she lives
here, where the paint in her can is no
threat, where the pigments can’t
haunt bearded men who peer between the cells
of pork, paintings, and pigeons as pets
and shout It Is Forbidden. Here, where girls
can fly kites, take orders at drive-
thru windows, or prosecute ex-
football players. They can study
the musculature of a hand, which can cup
the tender nub of the clitoris or strike
the cheek, can set a broken finger or sketch
its knuckle lines and nail beds,
embedded veins that give life to picture
and person. And anyway, yes, this girl, this
woman, Shamsia Hassani, (say it
right), still lives there, where they kill
the pet pigeons. She still gifts
her faceless models with thick lines
of eyelash, that feminine flutter. She still risks
makeup, music, and the hope
of the snowy,

This Was My Alarm This Morning
                song lyric from “Bowl of Oranges,” Bright Eyes
I had to hold hands
with a stranger
on a flight cause they
were too scared
to land, the radioman
crows from his pink
and snarling mouth
of loam. Like he’s so great
for deigning to hold a stranger’s
hand with all its wrinkles, germs,
hangnails, hidden pins of poison
in the fold. I’d rather be like Conor
and his bowl of oranges
and his doctor. Just hold my
hand. I think that that would help.
Handholding can’t cure
ugliness or illness, but
my heart might sigh at the press
of palm to palm, the income
of your skin
to the surface of my
        	or kingdom.

Jaclyn Youhana Garver is a freelance writer and editor from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the communications specialist for a national marketing organization. She won a trio of honorable mentions in the Writer’s Digest’s Annual Writing Competition in non-rhyming poetry in 2021 and 2022. Her poetry chapbook, The Men I Never:, is scheduled to be published by dancing girl press in 2023, and her contemporary fiction is represented by Savannah Brooks of KT Literary. Her story “The Butterfly Catcher” will appear in This World Belongs to Us: An Anthology of Horror Stories About Bugs, out this May.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.