issue 32 poetry


by Calista Malone

Unique Beauty by Kateryna Bortsova


With the neon pink light flashing OPEN
in the storefront window of the arcade
calling up kids like dogs for dinner.
You see your eyes, almost as wide as
oranges under the glow. You can hear the hum
of the hulking speakers around the plexi-glassed
screens. At the bottom of your bag, you find
enough quarters that, you could, if you wanted,
spend the rest of the evening enjoying
the company of Pac-Man. The night sky is
daring you to be some kind of teenage metaphor again,
meet some dumb boy’s eyes from across
the room. You hope that maybe,
he notices your fading favorite band tee
that you wear once a week, in spite of your aunt who says
that the color washes out your face like a moon. Maybe
he says your eyes are more like
two entire flaming orange Suns. Maybe,
they are big enough to dictate planets, moons,
silly boys with brown hair and brown eyes. Maybe
he just asks your name. Maybe
he says he’s never heard one that sounded
like it belonged to a star. Maybe
he asks you to coffee. Maybe
you sit across from him drinking it black. Maybe
you decide you liked him better from afar. Maybe
you never see him again. Maybe
you do. Maybe
it’s ten years from now. Maybe
you spot his slumped shoulders
from across the lit-up screens. Maybe
you say hello. Maybe
he remembers you. Maybe
you like the way he picks at his hands. Maybe
he hates the way you constantly twirl your hair. Maybe
neither of you are ever the right person. Maybe
it’s just never the right time. Maybe

you know your eyes have always looked more like
ladles than oranges much less suns, even under
the glow of the OPEN sign in arcade window.

Calista Malone is a poet from the North Florida Panhandle. She is working towards her MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an MA in Creative Writing at Auburn University. She has poems featured in Saw Palm, Sheepshead, Pampelmousse, Broadside Print, and In Parenthesis.

Kateryna Bortsova is a painter–graphic artist with BFA in graphic arts and MFA. Kateryna’s work appeared in many international exhibitions (Taiwan, Berlin, Munich, Spain, Italy, USA, etc.). In addition, she won a silver medal in the category “realism” from “Factory of Visual Art,” New York, USA, and the 2015 Emirates Skywards Art of Travel competition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.