Volume 3, Issue ii
Wild Greens 3, no. 02 (December 2022)
Welcome to the December 2022 issue of Wild Greens
Even in the cold months, Wild Greens is tending to our garden. In our December logo, artist Maggie Topel drew upon the language of flowers to express tenderness. Burgundy zinnia, morning glory, and sorrel wreath the cursive WG logo. It’s said that each plant represents “affection,” with burgundy zinnia representing “lasting affection.”
Inside this issue of Wild Greens, a sort of garden of art, poetry, and prose grows, planted in soft earth. We are especially proud to introduce our youngest contributor ever, ten-year-old Vivi Brecher!
In an unusual move from Wild Greens, we grouped pairs of similar media together this month. Robin Brownfield’s mosaic “Bonding” begins the issue with the intimate act of breastfeeding a child. Irina Tall (Novikova)’s “Cat” in ink and gel pen mirrors the image in cat and kitten.
Livio Farallo’s poem “in the bone” touches on the tenderness of the whole earth. Mike D’Andrea’s poem “A shrunken boy in a vacant classroom” finds that tenderness in a deep place buried within.
Lauren Kimball’s latest Turtle and Hare, “Tender Spots,” has Hare caring for Turtle by giving him a present.
In the latest installment of “Lost and Found,” the short story serialized across six issues of Wild Greens, Jo finally meets with long-lost friend Ethan. The years of their friendship breaks him open, and he promises to confess his story.
“I tend,” a poem by Sarah Freia, draws upon a baking metaphor to a loving relationship. “Cozy Snowy” by Melissa Lomax in colored pencil depicts a sweet wintery scene.
Vivienne Brecher’s “Hope Floats” in colored pencil depicts her stuffed pig, Bob, in flight. Vivi is only ten years old, and already her art evokes such tender emotion.
Saswat Kumar Mishra’s poem “An emotional conundrum” finds vulnerability in feelings for a hopeful love.
Melissa Lomax’s stitched felt on champagne corks “There’s Gnome Place Like Home” leaves us with a sweet holiday craft.
Tenderness, softness, peace —‘tis the season.
glass tiles, pebbles, beads
Inspiration: What is a greater act of tenderness and nurturing than breastfeeding a baby?
ink, gel pen, paper
in the bone
hugged of all thrashing, therodent at the crumbling edgeloved by a snake.mountains push up andfaults bury forests below. the earthis awfully light-headed to stand on its own two feet,but eternal as a dune.and love like that,frozen. i spinas the world refusesto lie down. dizzy,i go nowhere.though i could translatejapaneseif i moved to japan.if i had the timeto outlast human diseaseyou would hear mewalk out of this restaurantand sail.
A shrunken boy in a vacant classroomShe watches me, emotionless:A husk devoid of joy, sorrow, no anger, righteous fury, no shame, cowering fear.I’m neither big, nor small, proud nor loud butQuiet. Invisible. Gone.Just a whisper can collapse the Universe.So here I find ending, where I wither into nothing at all.
… can anything come from nothing?A whimper into oblivionor the crescendo of a Big Bang,or, something in-between,a plodding, perilous clamber,just one step at a time,forever,until,finally,
If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!
If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!
Lost and Found (part 4)
The next day dawned bright, not a cloud in the sky. Sunshine touched everything in sight and set it ablaze. Jo felt the nerves burned off her. This new day brought with it anticipation, a determination of knowing that left no room for anxiety. She dressed comfortably, ordered a ride and sent Ryan a crossed fingers emoji.
The diner Ethan had chosen was a bit off the beaten path on a rather picturesque road a few miles from the highway. There were only three cars in the parking lot as hers pulled in, and she wondered if one of them was his. They were all pick-up trucks and that had never been the kind of vehicle Ethan would drive. The diner had a fifties theme with a giant guitar in the center of its sign. She could see through the windows that each of the tables had one of those little jukeboxes you could scroll through using a single quarter to make your selection. She always kind of liked those, purposefully picking the most obscure song in the bunch.
And then, there he was— in the left most window facing the door. It was Ethan— her best friend whom she hadn’t spoken to in over five years. Just there. Jo discreetly crossed herself before pulling the door open. Cool air rushed at her, bringing goosebumps to her exposed flesh before going to battle with the Arizona heat behind her. The savory smell of coffee and bacon reached her instantly, reminding her that she was actually rather hungry.
Ethan’s eyes found her almost immediately. She recognized him, sure; five years of absence can’t erase nearly thirty years of memories. But the man that sat before her was decidedly changed from the one she once knew. He was much thinner— at least twenty-five pounds— but it looked like it had been taken from more than just his body. His spirit sagged a little— the energy and warmth of the old Ethan didn’t reach its fingers out to her. His expression was somber, he didn’t smile. If she hadn’t experienced it herself, she never would’ve believed that this person had once been capable of running a marathon or climbing the tallest mountain in the Appalachians or making a twelve-dish Thanksgiving dinner. She wouldn’t have believed he could spend hours playing in the sand with four small children or digging in the dirt of his personal vegetable garden. He just looked so… less… than before.
Jo made her way down the aisle toward her friend. She felt slightly ashamed to be focusing her eyes on the tiled floor instead of his face. Two other tables and a counter stool were occupied, all men. The lone woman in the building appeared to be the middle-aged waitress, who was refilling the cup of the man at the counter from a full coffee pot. She had given Jo a slight nod as she entered.
It wasn’t until she reached the table that Jo finally looked up again, observing that, up close, everything she had seen at the door was still true. Ethan still didn’t smile. He clutched his mug of coffee with both hands and looked down at them himself as Jo slid into the booth.
“Ethan,” she said, a little breathlessly. “Hi.”
Jo’s mind had swirled with dozens of questions, but none of them came clearly to her mind now that she was here. Her eyes fell over her friend— his hollow cheeks, the deeper setting of his eyes, the dark hair at his temples turned gray. Has it really only been five years, she thought?
He finally looked up at her and all of the anger and bitterness that Jo had felt intermittently over those lost years evaporated like the morning’s dew. She felt tears building behind her eyes the longer she looked at him. One spilled over the edge just as the waitress approached the table, the corner of her white apron held the red vestige of some former stain.
“Coffee?” she asked. She held the coffee pot, two menus and an empty mug in her hands.
Though she wasn’t sure she wanted any, Jo found herself nodding in the affirmative as she swiped at her eyes. The woman seemed to understand that something unspoken was transpiring before her. She laid down the menus, poured the coffee and said simply, “Take your time.”
Her entrance and subsequent departure had changed something in the air. Jo was shaken from her trance and that previously held anxiety returned though, luckily for her, in small measure. She busied her hands because that’s what she did when her emotions were threatening to get the best of her. She opened two thimbles of cream and poured them into her coffee, followed by two packets of sugar. Ethan hadn’t moved.
“Two creams, two sugars,” he said softly, finally speaking. “Same old Jo.”
He looked down at his hands again, the two of them knowing that nothing was the same, not really. Jo put a spoon in her coffee and listened to the tinkling of it hitting the sides of the cup, remembering the hundreds before that the two of them had conversed over. Before her appetite could be lost to her, Jo flipped open the menu and looked over the options. Ethan waited quietly, not touching his own menu. When he could see Jo had made her choice, he motioned the waitress back over. She came with the coffee pot, once again, its contents never seeming to diminish, and refilled Ethan’s cup as she asked, “What’ll it be?”
Jo ordered a Western omelet with a side of home fries. Ethan asked for only some white toast with strawberry jam. She collected the menus in her deft hands and departed. They were left, once more, with only each other.
With nothing left to distract her, Jo felt her scattered questions and emotions reforming. Making eye contact with her friend again meant she could hold back no longer.
She half-blurted, with more acerbity in her voice than she meant there to be, “What the hell happened to you?” At this, Ethan cracked the hint of a smile. There was his Jo, the woman could only hold her tongue for so long. He had been thankful for that a time or two. Life never really got the best of Jo. She never let it.
“It’s a long story.” Her eyebrows nearly touched her hairline. “One you deserve to hear. One you maybe deserved to hear a long time ago and I’m sorry for that, Jo. I really am.” He paused, fidgeting with the cup in his hands, unable to look at her. “It’s been hard.”
“It’s me, Ethan.”
After another moment, he took a deep breath, sat back against the bench seat, and explained the last five years.
Editor's note: Lost and Found will be serialized across six issues. Tune in next month for the fifth installment, and catch up on the first installments if you haven't read them yet.
I tendI tend to roll myself in restless knots, butyou come along and knead out every clumpevery kink, every pang, every pout and sprinkle gentle seeds of easereplacing those of doubt; and as you dofor me, likewise to all of your needs I tend
An emotional conundrumI sniff signs —maybe nonexistent—but I want—.Not sure whetherit's just my wishful thinkingor there is actually somethingin the way you lookinto my eyes, everytime. Sparks erupt every timeyour hand brushes against mine. they give me a few more breaths few more days to wait until you say it. I don't know if there is love rigorously camouflaged in your everlasting silences.
I tell myself that you must be loving me somewhere in those dark corners. I hear songs thatyou must be making for me putting beads of thoughts of mein a string of solitude.
Sometimes I get impatient
waiting for you to sing those songs for me.
I'll keep my gaze transfixedon your lips as they movealong with your handswhile you narrate
tales about your world
and without me.
These sometimes make me leap to the surface
searching for air.
Getting rid of the breathlessness
I dive again,
to survive more
I wait for the wait to be over
for the moment when I discover that you love me the same way I love you, within coy silences, behind the lights, in the shadows, on pen and paper.
Gnome Place Like Home
See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.
Artists and Contributors
Robin Brownfield (she/her) is a former sociology professor in Collingswood, New Jersey who turned to mosaic art after becoming disabled. She was featured in a FOX-29 (Philadelphia) News report, because after sharing a series of award-winning “Black Lives Matter” mosaic portraits online, she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched a rebirth of the Black Lives Matter movement. That portrait can be seen in the documentary “Bree Way: Promise Witness Remembrance.” Her award-winning artwork has been in galleries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York City, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, and San Francisco. She recently finished supervising a community mosaic mural project entitled “Childhood Memories,” which she designed at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood, NJ. Above the mural honoring her is a plaque making her one of those old dead people (in the future) who nobody ever heard of, but whose name is on a plaque. Visit her website, www.robinbrownfieldmosaics.com, to see more of her work.
Irina Tall (Novikova)
Irina Novikova (Tall) (she/her) is an artist, graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and poet. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art criticism and the Humanitarian and Technical Academy with a degree in design. The first personal exhibition "My soul is like a wild hawk" was held in the Museum of Maxim Bagdanovich (2002). She took part in more than 60 projects. Published in the magazines Gypsopfila, Little Literary Living Room, Harpy Hybrid. In 2022, her story was published in the collection Best 50 Word Short Stories.
Livio Farallo is co-editor of Slipstream and professor of biology at Niagara County Community College. His work has appeared in Helix, Rabid Oak, Landfill, Old Pal, Rise Up, Otoliths, Ginosko, and elsewhere. His collection "Dead Calls and Walk-Ins" traces his work as a taxi driver some centuries ago.
Mike D'Andrea (he/him) was born and raised in the Philly suburbs, though he currently lives in Hell's Kitchen in NYC, where he works in tech as a User Experience Researcher. Writing poetry is one of Mike's longest-held hobbies; you can find more of his work on his Instagram, @mikeyd231!
Artist and Writer
Lauren Kimball (she/her) lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.
You can find her comics on Instagram @turtle_n_hare_comic.
Writer 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.
Sarah Freia (she/her) is a multilingual author and actor, who has lived and studied in Paris, London, and Toronto. She recently graduated with an International B.A. in French and Hispanic literature and a French B.Ed (Sorbonne Université / Glendon Campus), and has continued to hone her craft by enrolling at Gotham Writers Workshop and The Second City Conservatory. Sarah is rarely seen without a coffee, or her miniature dachshund, Alphonse.
Melissa Lomax (she/her) is a freelance illustrator, art teacher, and cartoonist, with 20 years of experience in the creative industry. Some of her clients include American Greetings, Barnes & Noble, Sellers Publishing 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!
Vivienne Brecher (she/her) is a ten-year-old artist. When not attending fourth grade, she enjoys playing guitar, acting, writing, reading, and, most importantly, drawing. During the pandemic lockdown, she chronicled life with her stuffed pig, Bob, in a collection known as “Bob in the Time of Coronavirus."
Saswat Kumar Mishra
Saswat (he/him) has a thing for literature and gardening. An agriculture graduate plucking flowers of poetry from a meadow full of muse.
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) is a writer, editor, and copyeditor living in California. She 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 Mosaic Art and Literary Journal. She serves as 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 logo 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 or @haypaints. She accepts commissions, and you can find examples of her work on her website.
Rebecca Lipperini (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). 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.