Crystal Ball, Dissolving
by Jennifer Schomburg Kanke
The ice caps will melt
all the things will go.
There will be
left, you hear me,
There will only be
of a trace
of a trace
the ones you’ve loved
the ones you’ve touched,
by Sharif Shakhshir
This game saves the fastest track time. It rebuilds a transparent rival from a copy of the player’s every move. Years after you were taken away, I play, and your ghost is there waiting for me, playfully revving the Subaru engine as the clock counts down. Go! You shift quicker, going ahead of me. The hollow red lights on the back of your car show me when to press B. Our two cars slide sideways through corners of digital Japanese landscapes. Pixilated tire marks dirty up the roads only to be left behind. Our wheels dip into the deep rain gutters of Mount Haruna, a risky maneuver but you guide me through. But the last hairpin comes after a long straight. I brake early, taking the corner tightly, but you go too quickly. The forces pull you away. I leave you behind. With the finish line right there, I stop my car and let your ghost pass. Some things shouldn’t be erased. Some things just aren’t expendable.
The Lost City
by Lev Mirov
In the hollow of my collarbone sits an empty city
that once I saw, awestruck, lit by a bright moon.
A tower that soared to the heavens, she was the Queen of Heaven
and I saw her streets full of light and dancing
as she was once, in the days of the kings
a vision conjured from the snow and the white fog of the days before the end of the world.
She is a tomb, now; a city of bones, and I pulled my shoulder apart
to tuck her within me, her spire the wound-mark that pricks red when my shirt is peeled off on a hot day.
I don’t care; as long as something of the city sits in the space between my luxated bones
something alive remains in my ancestral home. I dare not return; things worse than ghosts
walk among the barrow-hills of my mother’s kin, and nobody has ever walked that road alone and returned.
I saw a light shine from the empty tower once, before I took her from my dreams and made her very small—
it was pale and blue, like midnight at full moon, when everything is awash with milk on ink.
The voice called to me then—a voice like my father’s, but colder
like mine, but sharper—and I smelled a flower sweeter than jasmine across the bridge.
But you took my hand, and dug in your heels, and pulled until our fingers bled
and your will was the stronger, and when the light went out the shadow passed me by.
I let you dress the wound which is my inheritance sometimes;
unpick the stitches to reposition the city just so, white as bone among my torn fascia.
“A wound like that will kill you,” you say to me, your fingers pink with scars that never really healed.
“I didn’t pick it,” I say, but we are both lying;
a thousand things have killed me and will kill me yet again
and of all the towers in the world it is only the ones I cannot have that I keep inside my chest.
Silently you tick dead cities I have loved along my ribcage, like counting corpses.
the place you found me, where I cannot return
and the oldest library in the world, burning in the sand
the river-split astronomer’s archive, whose stairs are too crumpled to climb
the city swallowed by the sea
and the silent gates where I would have been buried with my kinfolk, if you had let me.
I hold you close and feel my heart beat in your chest;
thundering stormclouds and broody sunrises only my eyes have ever seen.
“There is nothing there but death for you,” you say,
you with your dead man’s hands and ghost-gold eyes.
So I turn my back, when the light in that tomb city glows, and do not go—
my death belongs with you, a seam across your heart
a burn mark in the late red autumn sky.
Sharif Shakhshir is a poet of Palestinian and Mexican descent. He studied creative writing at USC and UC, Irvine. His work is largely influenced by animation and cartoons. His poetry has appeared in The Anthology of Writing that Risks, West Wind, and Crow’s Hollow.
Jennifer Schomburg Kanke is originally from Columbus, Ohio and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida where she teaches critical theory and creative writing as a visiting faculty member at Florida State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and Nimrod. She serves as a reader for Emrys and will soon take over as the book review editor for Pleiades.
Lev Mirov is a queer disabled mixed race Filipino-American medievalist who lives with his wife, fellow writer India Valentin, and their two cats in rural Maryland, where he feeds the ghosts of Antietam when it rains. His poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award and featured in Strange Horizons, Liminality Magazine, Through the Gate, and other fine magazines and anthologies. His fiction can be found in the anthology Myriad Lands and is forthcoming elsewhere. To read more of his magical worlds, his medieval research, or forthcoming speculative fiction, find him at levmirov.wordpress.com or by following him on twitter @thelionmachine.
In reading the hundreds of writers who submitted to Remixt, I was reminded of the ephemeral lifeline that is poetry. Much of my own poetry reflects my own emotional state, observations of the world, and explores issues of my own body and grief. I never quite knew what the editors on the other side felt reading my work, whether I’m making an impact. In editing Remixt, I was able to experience the other side first-hand. This made me realize fully what I already knew: that the act of submitting work is in some way divorce—the artist lets go of their work, sends it out into the world as if shooting a bullet into the sky—never knowing where it will fall. I am infinitely grateful for the chance to catch a few stray bullets, and would like to thank each submitter who sent their work for us to read.
In choosing my final poems, I struggled at the last tier. I held about nine poems which were so excellent I could not decide how to formulate them into just three selections. In the end, I feel that the chord tying these three poems together revolves around emotion. Each poem is separate and unique in its structure, from empty space to prose-heavy longer lines. The language here is striking, littered with gorgeous phrasing. Each contributor’s background, unbeknownst to me in the blind reading process, is just as unique and important. But each poem conveys something about grief and loss in different forms which spoke to me. Each poem in this set gave the reader space to enter into that emotion, whether in time, memory, or the body. I found a bit of myself in these poems, and I hope the reader will too.
About the Editor: Holly Lyn Walrath is an author, freelance editor, and the associate director of Writespace, a nonprofit literary center in Houston, Texas. Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in Liminality, Abyss & Apex, Pulp Literature, and Literary Orphans, among others. Holly currently resides in Seabrook, Texas. Find her online @hollylynwalrath or hlwalrath.com.
“Crystal Ball, Dissolving” Copyright © 2016 Jennifer Schomburg Kanke
“Dad’s Ghost” Copyright © 2016 Sharif Shakhshir
“The Lost City” Copyright © 2016 Lev Mirov