Volume 3, Issue xii
Wild Greens 3, no. 12 (October 2023)
Welcome to the October 2023 issue of Wild Greens
Welcome to our roaring Hearth issue. Hearth can mean different things to different people. In designing the Wild Greens logo this month, Maggie Topel, our in-house artist, described what hearth means to her: “food and drink for sharing, books to read, a companion with which to share the warmth and light of the fire.”
Or, as our arts-editor Hayley Boyle said about her watercolor cover, “the outdoors and mountains have always felt like home to me, and the thought of a colorful sunset over that home is like the hearth of that space.”
Press play on KIKA’s song “Strangers,” light a candle, find a blanket, and cozy up with this issue.
Evyatar Kanik’s drawing reflects on the Hebrew word for hearth, explaining that “a fire pit, through each of its logs, relies on its ‘siblings’ to light and stay lit.” In E.M. Friedman’s poem, “Boy under glass,” the poet reflects on the difficult period of being tightly packed at home during Covid. Maureen Flynn’s watercolor and digital art “Where We Love Is Home” takes a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes to bring her illustration to life.
“An Ode to the House in the Hollow,” a poem by Laurie Rosen, savors the comfort and imperfections of a Vermont house that’s been in the poet’s family for 35 years. The pen drawing and digitally colored “Scallop Chowder Recipe” by Melissa Lomax gives inspiration for what to cook in the kitchen this October. “In Health and In Sickness” by Linda Dreeben is about the magic of the home, and the memories, grief, and loss that live there.
Sam Moe’s short story, “Ultra-Blue House,” recounts a fantastically strange dinner that the narrator has at her father’s house.
Irina Tall (Novikova) in ink, gel pen and gouache depicts the artist’s home.
Leia K. Bradley’s poem “Green, With Tongue” finds home and self in the deep of the woods. The poem “October” by D A Angelo meditates on the mood of the season. Angela Patera’s “Autumn Nights” in watercolors and ink places festive jack-o-lanterns by the hearth.
In Saswat Kumar Mishra’s poem “Why,” the speaker seeks comfort at the hearth after a heartbreak.
Melissa Lomax’s white ink on red envelope “Light My Fire” gets creative in finding new places to create and new surfaces to draw on—in this case a red envelope replaces a sketchbook.
Home is where the hearth is. Thanks for being part of ours.
Table of Contents
Music and lyrics by KIKA
Getting used to something I enjoySo I resort to taking picturesI wish things were differentBut I'm shallow at heartIt's all concrete floors and traffic lightsI swear to god I have to leave the cityBefore it kills meA farmhouse with an empty barnAn open window and being aloneThat's what I wantCheck my phone three hundred times a dayI'm convinced you'll call and check up on meIt's embarrassing
Pick flowers for my friendsGive them to strangers on the streetA big empty front yardFeeling alone when I shouldn't be
A sun room and a glass roofNo one comes around unless I want them toNo one comes around unless I want them toNo one comes around unless I want them to
Inspiration: I wrote "Strangers" when I was 17 and dealing with the thought of leaving home and starting new. It is a reflection on coming to the difficult understanding that not every card you’re dealt will be right for you, and that it’s okay to pack up and make a new home for yourself. It was time to kindle a new hearth.
For mobile listeners: Pressing "play" will open a new tab. As long as you keep the tab open, most phones will allow you to listen to the song while you explore the rest of the issue in a separate tab! If the file doesn't play immediately, click "open in Google drive."
For desktop listeners: Press "play" and listen while you explore the rest of the issue!
Dear Hearths and Gentle People
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Boy under glass
by E.M. FriedmanFate and public policy clipped flight featherson my fledgling. My long-tailed Jay.Returned offspring saturates the study.Bedding spreads across the floorboards, T-shirts overflow a plastic tub, cereal boxes crowd the desk.
He tries. Flapping. Mask on faceeyes on screen.Body buzzing since he was born.Can’t stop won’t stop child— not child—must stupefy himself to be still.
Applies for jobs from bed. Only smokes weedon the back porch. In Caution Timethe jobs he finds are in red stateswhere science skeptics style themselves believers.He will befriend them all.
Basketball used to lift him. Park courtsclosed, he trains his gaze on tiny playerstheir saliva checked daily. Grown now, yet still his own icebox imagefive years old, a sandy shore, grippinga striped wood skimboard and a bucket full of crabs.
Flat-backed in the boring night heespies five shooting stars. Senses where to send his eye. Let it be a sign for unsafe statesand for his little brother’s neck, brightening,bolstered by his angled wrist.
He flicks a blue lighter, flicks again. Cut feathers float down.
Where We Love Is Home
It is here in the hearth, the heart of the home, where we are nourished and loved.”—Maureen Flynn
This excerpt helps to give meaning to my piece. My family and the passage by Oliver Wendell Holmes, used in the illustration, give it life.
An Ode to the House in the Hollow
by Laurie RosenBecause the 40-year-old linoleum curls at its edges, the linen is worn, the towels frayed, all the pillows lay flat.Because the kitchen cabinets––mismatched knobs and sun-faded, hold chipped and favorite mugs.
Because we all dread trips to the musty basement. Because door and window screens need repairing, light bulbs replacing and the stars and moon fill the night sky lighting the house better than a lamp anyway. Because myriad windows lack shades, because no one lives close enough to peek in, still our neighbors beyond the woods remain faithful as family.
Because of mice, ants, deer, moose, an occasional bear––though mostly mice. Because of cows. Because howling coyotes, screeching hawks, bellowing frogs. Because of the quiet.
Because my daughter celebrated her engagement here and my son hosted his wedding festival here. Because many friends ask to visit while others don’t quite understand. Because board games, art supplies, pillow forts, just picked blackberries for pancakes, real maple syrup, apple trees with tasty, tiny fruit, bonfires and backyard sledding. Because the pool is freezing, the wasps dive onto our heads and skinny dipping is known to happen.
Because goldenrod, Queen Ann’s lace, buttercups, lupine and lilies. Because summer dazzles with infinite green, fall roars ochre, crimson, and gold, stick season paints brilliant shadows, the winter sky astonishes like lapis hovering above rolling white meadows. Because the loop walk in every season except mud season.
Because not everyone successfully drives their car up or down the snow covered hill, but Harold always shows up to tow any hapless drivers out of a ditch. Because old flannel, ripped jeans, band t-shirts and always a stash of toothbrushes for anyone who forgot. Because we never tire of 80’s ski videos, Grateful Dead or Phish. (maybe a little)Because we sit by the fire chatting for hours and sit without a fire chatting for hours, dinner begins late, ends later, plates, pots and pans piled high. Because dance parties go all night, startle the old wood floor and have to be brought outside even in winter.
Because on arduous days and on jubilant days we nestle in its saggy, blemished embrace, never dreaming of journeying anywhere else.
Scallop Chowder Recipe
In Health and In Sickness
by Linda DreebenA Saturday drive into another world houses drooping like thirsty leaves boats floating on cinder blocks fields of maize, acres of marshes turtles, like rocks, crossing the road, some not making it
Over a bridge that swoops up then down onto a narrow island, between a wide, glistening bay and choppy river to a rectangular yellow house, that had grown up and out for 87 years Beckoning to us with fiery yellow orange sunrises and deep crimson sunsets wafts of fresh fish and overripe crab majestic liftoffs of great blue herons soft landings of elegant egrets in brittle browning marsh ospreys, mated for life, returning each year to their nest, taking turns sitting on eggs
In health we bought it
In sickness we longed for it
Visits were shadows of their former selves we clung to them like invasive vines binding us to the place, to each other stolen moments to breathe until there was breath no more
Do we desire a world without death, without sickness or simply a just world reaching for medical miracles and the immense comforts of an imperfectly perfect place
See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.
by Sam Moe
Father’s house is a new shade of blue never before seen by humans. Perhaps by lobsters, yes manta rays, maybe even squid.
The squirrels in his front yard gossip. There used to be thousands of peppers here, Father is saying. So many peppers and my garage door closed on their bodies, it was a blood bath. I wonder if he means red peppers, but I can’t ask him because late one night a witch entered through my closet and turned me into a stuffed lamb. I am held by Half-Sister who doesn’t know it’s me. She squeezes my body so tight, she is upset about the vegetables. “We all are,” Father says. He’s pissed off, but he still has to make breakfast.
There are ex-wives in the bathroom. Ex-wives on the staircase, some of them spilling onto the porch. They are responsible for painting the house with new blue, everything seafoam and smooth, thick comforters made from wool, everything warm and golden in the winter, crisp and aqua in the summer. The women keep Father young, cutting angel wings from his back each night, no death yet, unclear if he would go above or beyond, into the lost realm, where all absent fathers go for cigarettes and jars of milk.
He loves his kitchen. The floor is mustard yellow and soft, small square patterns, spills of tomato soup, don’t worry, the puppy will lick up the puddles. Half-Sister is carrying me in her pocket. Father is angry she’s not wearing slippers. He tells her not to make a fool out of him. Half-Sister doesn’t understand. Stepmother, the only mother to survive, shoos Father away. He heads to his lab in the basement where he’ll examine the dreams of frogs. “You can’t make a fool out of me in front of your father,” says Stepmother. Half-Sister doesn’t understand, squeezes me once for comfort, heads out to the back lawn to pretend she’s in another land.
There are mushrooms like burger patties, large and meaty, everything is red and spotted, there is poison in a patch, there are daisies the color of skillets, there are confused tulips, the afternoon can’t decide what color the sky should be. Half-Sister sits in the ivy patches and reads Magic for Lost Kids. She wonders if she might fashion wings out of oak leaves and bark. She takes a miniature sewing kit, slowly rips plants out of the ground, and fashions wings. I want to ask if she’s okay, but my mouth is sewn shut, so I observe.
I’ve been left in wet grass, in mud. Half-Sister runs, half-melted candle in her hand, old pancake in the other. Father hasn’t resurfaced for hours, Stepmother is lost in the kitchen, which is a maze. If you’re not careful, you’ll be swallowed by the house. I want to tell them I, too, have been swallowed by this house, it requires blood, but I know no one will listen. When I was a human girl, they told me my blood was a joke. Even the nurse at the hospital was pissed, but my memory is salted and filled with sea, I can’t remember if she told me I was lying or if she was yelling at Old-Mother.
New-Mother is Half-Sister. She remembers me when it’s dinnertime, her wings long like aquatic snakes, electric eels, she has found some of the peppers, whispers she’s started growing them again in secret, next to the drain pipe, near the mussel mud, just under the amber-hued porch. Her wings bristle with excitement; all flowers and leaves love secrets and use them to stay alive when the sun is absent for the rainy season.
Half-Sister sits still at the dinner table. Father eats in darkness. He won’t admit he hasn’t discovered anything new in weeks. Stepmother slices avocados over the sink. Everything is so beautiful it hurts my button eyes. “Do you still love me,” Half-Sister asks me, though I know she means to ask Father. When he doesn’t reply, she tries to flip the table over but she isn’t strong enough.
“No jodas,” says Stepmother. Father has always been pissed he couldn’t learn Spanish. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” says Half-Sister. “Te callas,” says Stepmother, and this phrase, so miscellaneous, reminds me of my own mother. My mother’s mother and her mother, too. The bundle of mothers hiding out in our New York City apartment, avoiding Father, whispering in Spanish to each other, que hombre sucio.
There are ghosts draped over the dining room table, the Cousins have replaced the hallway lights, everything goes from yellow to blue, but Father is in Connecticut, and he avoids Broadway unless absolutely necessary. Even the fires have changed from amber to navy, crawling towards the edges of the fireplace, warming but never destroying.
Once, when I was still a human girl, we ate sandwiches at a pub near his work. I had steak fries and a milkshake, Father told me he was proud of me even though I hadn’t achieved anything. The bartender was named Destiny and she had tattoos on her arms of clovers. Father said something to her about luck. I swung my legs under the table, wishing to be a centipede or perhaps a sewer rat. Maybe things would be better that way.
Dinner ends and Half-Sister is still drowning. She paces her bedroom in her lime-green nightgown, its material sheer as dragonfly wings. She places me in her backpack, careful to leave my head out, gentle with the wings. Her perch on the windowsill is too high and I think, for the briefest of moments, we won’t make it, I’ll be cotton stuffing on the back lawn beneath the laughing moon. Then, she leaps.
We fly out of Connecticut in search of a new state to live, one with forests and materials for newer, better wings. She tells me her plan, to find a new Father made out of mushrooms and rotting logs, she’s going to make him a crown out of violets, and every night they’ll have dinner, soup in the bottoms of puffball mushrooms, they’ll dress the animals in formalwear, we’ll sleep under the bellies of soft cows, puppet tucked inside of Half-Sister’s soft arm, using bundles of lamb’s ear and Salix cinerea as pillows.
Green, With Tongue
by Leia K. BradleyDear Selene,here the trees all change names so they can change facesand they teach me how to move in secret.This morning I awoke on a soft bed of needles,pine, and the damp yield of oak leaves,and found I was allowed to be older here, more true to youth in this wild green way, likeclimbing, hiding, nesting, fallingwere all synonyms for spellcraft, forfinding ways back to a selfI think I am beginning, at last, to name.I think, for this recovering, I need to be in nature. I needthe quiet, need viridian and cerulean and deep, aged browns,all dirt and hide and trunk and limb, fur and feather—
I sing a warbler’s note and remember warningis something the forest reminds us we can do for ourselves.So I lay back down in the soft, misting earth, or walk alongfallen bodies of oak so dampthey give way to my weight, feet sinkinginto pale insides of soft,pliant give, and the trees say, see, to fall can mean softness, too; you,too, can go soft againand still find a way to rush strongas any river. Hear the creek, the Carolina warbler, the Saint John’s wort and the cardinal's cue—the earth is yawning and staying up late to spite the moon.I’ve got to get to counting every petal of the forget-me-not, I’ve gotto count every bite of my teethjust in case, one day soon,I lose my hunger altogetherand slip into a future of singing throatsthick with psalms and gulps, to morningsthis green with tongue.
Read about the inspiration for this month's logo on Ko-Fi.
by D A AngeloThis is the month for watching sunlight huddling the clouds in autumnal sunsets, for watching every tree turn itself into a campsite for winter, for watching the landscape be a hearth for all it attracts: deer, rabbits, bears. This is the month for pumpkin spice, memories as warm as your grandpa's hot chocolate: peeling vegetables for a Sunday stew, log fire songs. This is the month when the land turns over like pages of an unwritten book and the stars are the ink filling in the blanks.
by Saswat Kumar MishraWhy didn't you hold my hands A lil longer Is this what you meantBy forever? You used to say that on winter morningsMy hands were warmer And cool in the summers.
Why didn't you hold on to me A lil longer At the end of the day I would have returned to the foyerNow I have learnt to cherish The peachy bowerThat we called ours.
Why can't I trade your return For these drops of tearAll the markets are closed No one's here Those lazy afternoons have become Memories I can live no longer
In evenings, the fireplace burns lost dreams And instead of warmth gives despairI sit all alone in the dark, gulping down cupsFull of sleep that the night prepares.
Light My Fire
Artists and Contributors
KIKA (they/them) is a California-based singer-songwriter drifting between the indie and pop scenes. They currently study at UC Davis while continuing to make music in their spare time.
Evyatar is a medical student and religious educator studying at St. George's University. Israel is his home and New Jersey is his residence.
E.M. Friedman admires the ways of people and plants, and tries not to second guess. A recent MFA recipient (Saint Mary’s College of California), she lives in Berkeley, CA. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Aôthen, Ekphrastic Review, Five Minutes, Nifty Lit Magazine, Sisyphus Literary Magazine, SugarSugarSalt Magazine, SWAMP, Zingara Poetry Review, and the anthology Odes to Our Undoing (Risk Press 2022). Find her writing at www.edithfriedman.com. Instagram: @edithword.
Maureen is a freelance surface designer with many years of experience producing original, provocative,and engaging visual content for major brands in lifestyle, print, and product such as Lenox, Garnet Hill, American Greetings, Barnes & Noble, Calypso Cards and Target. Currently, she has an extensive collection of greeting cards licensed to Calypso Greetings. She creates art and illustrations digitally and by hand, ranging in style and subject matter such as modern watercolor florals, inky black sketches of charming, everyday objects, digitally-manifested and watercolor-painted magical landscapes, and fashion-centric whimsical characters. Her current inspirations are the words and verses of various poets, the scents of cedar and vetiver in combination, the flavors of five-ingredients-or-less-recipes, the sounds of her favorite Chet Baker songs, and her teenage daughter’s cool and understated sense of humor.
Come say hello on Instagram: @maureenlynndesigner
Laurie Rosen splits her time between the Massachusetts coast and a home tucked into a Vermont hollow. Her poetry has appeared in The Muddy River Poetry Review, Gyroscope Review, The New Verse News, The Inquisitive Eater: a journal of The New School, One Art and elsewhere. Laurie won first place in poetry at the 2023 Marblehead, MA Festival of the Arts. You can find her on Instagram @rosenlaupoetryandpics
Melissa Lomax (she/her) is a freelance illustrator, writer, and cartoonist, with 20 years of experience in the creative industry. Some of her clients include American Greetings, Sellers Publishing, Great Arrow Graphics and Highlights for Children. Her comic 'Doodle Town' posts on GoComics.com, the largest catalog of syndicated cartoons and comics. When she is not in the art studio, she enjoys spending time in nature, drinking really good coffee, and 'everyday adventures' with her husband. Pop by her Instagram @melissalomaxart for weekly inspiration!
Linda Dreeben is a retired lawyer living outside Washington, DC, and focusing on how not to write like a lawyer. She writes as part of a workshop of talented, supportive women. Her micro-memoir hundred-word pieces have been accepted for publication in Five Minutes 100 Words, and she recently published an essay in Struggle Magazine.
Sam Moe is the recipient of a 2023 St. Joe Community Foundation Poetry Fellowship from Longleaf Writers Conference. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Whale Road Review, The Indianapolis Review, Sundog Lit, and others. Her poetry book Heart Weeds is out from Alien Buddha Press (Sept. ’22) and her chapbook Grief Birds is out from Bullshit Lit (Apr. ’23). Her full-length Cicatrizing the Daughters is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press.
Irina Tall (Novikova)
Irina Tall (Novikova) is an artist, graphic artist, illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a bachelor's degree in design.
The first personal exhibition "My soul is like a wild hawk" (2002) was held in the Museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she raises themes of ecology, in 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chornobyl disaster, drawing on anti-war topics. The first big series she drew was The Red Book, dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. She also writes fairy tales and poems, and she illustrates short stories. She draws various fantastic creatures: unicorns, and animals with human faces, she especially likes the image of a man - a bird - Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week. Her work has been published in magazines: Gupsophila, Harpy Hybrid Review, Little Literary Living Room, and others. In 2022, her short story was included in the collection "The 50 Best Short Stories", and her poem was published in the collection of poetry "The wonders of winter."
Leia K. Bradley
Leia K. Bradley (they/she) is a backwoods Georgia born, Brooklyn based lesbian writer and performance artist, editor at Moot Point Magazine, and an MFA Poetry candidate at Columbia University, where she was also awarded the Undergraduate Writing Teaching Fellowship for 2023-24. She has work featured in Poetry Project, Aurore, Wrongdoing Magazine, Ghost City Press, Tarot Literary, Versification, and more, with her poem "Settle(d)" chosen as the Editor's Choice Best Overall pick for Penumbra Magazine's 2022 Pride issue. She can be found dancing through candlelit speakeasies or climbing barefoot up a magnolia tree with a tattered copy of Stone Butch Blues tucked into her dress. After climbing out from the coffin of her first divorce, she is accepting love and lust letters through her twitter @LeiaKBradley or instagram @MadameMort.
D A Angelo
D A Angelo (they/them) is a UK-based poet with work in Flights, Literary Yard, Rabid Oak, Bluehouse Journal, and several other journals. New work is forthcoming in Petrichor Mag, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Moss Puppy, The Amazine, and Skipping Stone Review.
Angela Patera is a self-taught artist whose art has appeared in numerous publications, as well as on the cover of Selenite Press and Penumbra Online. Her art usually draws inspiration from the genres of horror and fantasy, but also from folklore and nature.
You can find her on both Twitter and Instagram as @angela_art13
Saswat Kumar Mishra
Saswat Kumar Mishra has a thing for literature and gardening—an agriculture graduate plucking flowers of poetry from a meadow full of muse.
Poetry Editor and Copyeditor
Myra Chappius (she/her) is the author of six works of fiction and poetry. While her passion lies with shorter creations, it is her aspiration to complete a full-length novel and screenplay someday. She enjoys reading, music, travel, and learning. When not doing mom things, she is working full-time, seeing the latest movie, or waiting an acceptable length of time before returning to Universal Orlando to satiate her Harry Potter obsession.
Jessica Doble (she/her) holds a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She's published two critical works: “Hope in the Apocalypse: Narrative Perspective as Negotiation of Structural Crises in Salvage the Bones” in Xavier Review, and “Two-Sides of the Same Witchy Coin: Re-examining Belief in Witches through Jeannette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate” in All About Monsters. Her poetry has appeared in PubLab and Wild Greens magazine.
Jacqueline (she/her) earned her BA in English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. She was a 2021 publishing fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books and an editor and co-editor for PubLab and UCR's Mosaic Art and Literary Journal. She is currently the fiction editor for Wild Greens magazine and a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Arrow Journal.
Maggie Topel (she/her) is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logos and social media avatar.
Hayley (she/her) creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and storyteller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home and wouldn't have it any other way. You can find Hayley on Instagram @hayley3390.
Rebecca Lipperini (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine. She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same. Her essay on the soothing aesthetics of the supermarket was recently published in PubLab. She teaches in the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.