The queen’s belated her head
to crown another day.
Her religion did not fit the roses
swaying each in their meticulous way,
in the land where hearts slowly decompose
crushed love petals are crafted by the dead.
Each thorn hoping to show the wonders
of her handpicked world,
all factored from the fractures of the royal
Hand, controlling the written narrative
of all the begotten land.
knights and queens
kings and fiends
flowers in fields
pollen in the wind,
all burnt dragon breath eventually
the golden narrative finds
its way to Alice’s dreaming head.
The queen of hearts painting black roses red.
Sheaves of wheat form the densest hearts
of barley consumed men. Defined in labor
punch cards. If the sun rises late, does the grain
still grow upon strands of genetic code meshed
between sorrow and harvest snows. To make a rare fruit
my father dare devoured. The juice dripped along the tree.
The hollow grandfather oak mirrored a reflection of me. In
mourning the chicken still will crow. As men don’t mind the setting
son. And dandelions will shrivel in the wheat dried heat
of days turned from washrags to iron strings.
A guitar solo for the gallows. Of a squirrel’s lament.
this autumn turned to spring. Echoed in a hallowed tree.
Answered by a bird humming the notes of forgotten
melodies. A toothless man’s hopeless soliloquies.
The key of wheat feeds a thousand men.
Jesus fed fish in basket weaves. A storyline
unraveled to a younger me. The power of a church’s
extension to the masses. If Adam were asked.
He’d say Hell is a no-till field. Where no crops
are placed. Only a pasture fit for horned men
shepparding a land of goats. In that world, i’d eat the fish,
if offered I’d drink to wine
at the end of a grapevine of vulgar truth.
No plant makes a honey tree smell sweet.
Yet the taste of burnt leaves cannot replace the drum
of the loss of another heartbeat. But enough seeds
of barley beads dripping from my cup allows me
the nice balance to live with regret of hearts I’ve eaten
and lives never labored on in a proverbial world
where my word is the densest brick of foundational youth.
This house a home,
I live this house alone.
A space formed of trapped misery
Living as a mouse
smiling because when he roamed
his house was home.
Where he found another bite
a sliver if I’d say
of a trapped piece of misery
A simple one of cheese.
One worth dying for, lying on the cold floor
in his house his home.
So, if you please…
Don’t let me know the truth about to be
Of his trapped misery.
Can’t you see?
He is happy to take the cheese,
in his house his home
his everlasting misery.
A Life Conducted
I began life before defeat
I stepped up and missed my beat.
Sweating knees and broken backs like the rest
is an eight-track my father has played on repeat.
For he wanted to be a music teacher, but when
I think of my father, there is no angry melody
that will do. And if dreams were symphonies,
I have heard my father sing and I’d note
the key change poverty can bring.
Because if life is an orchestra, I’ve been playing second
string, still listening to the beat of tired feet trying to get
So I still wonder will my future children actually be
defined by their traits or by eviction signs posted on their
But as my grandmother told my mother
who then told me all we are is dust and death.
And I think all I want to be— is more.
Snip grey snout tip, whiskers kiss her bit
Of unwashed chin- the piece of hair sticks
With the grit of a man, who cannot forget
What love had been. And how love had felt
In a moment the embrace was nectar made
A head to chest cavity. A heart beat more steadily
If this was goodbye, he’d rather life would end.
Ironic as a knife slit wrist wrapped around his waist
And her look. Was the look that cries not begs
To ask life for more than a hug to forget
And the eyes that pry to say I loved you
long before, but never again today.
In time age greyed his moral alibi, the line of right
In wrong shifted the sand. His mind lied
to who he once was, to keep who he was alive
And a salt stream dropped from her eye.
The sign of a solid goodbye.
Biographical Note: Joseph (Manny) Heilman is a Senior at the Ohio State University, where he studies a double major of Political Science and Creative Writing. He writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This is his first publication, and he is honored to be a part of this journal.