Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
Thank you so much for your patience while we dealt with some difficulties (both technical and personal).
The Rail is back this week with two poems that use all five senses to discuss bodies, longing, and motherhood.
We have two announcements coming down the pipe, so please stay tuned! Plus, our brand new fiction chapbook is out in the world and available for order here.
Happy reading and have a great weekend!
The Derailleur Press Team
Am I free? I dreamt I’d lost weight, the black leggings loose.
Before surgery, I almost threw them in the trash
can. Now they feel snug at the waist as I rise and muscle
down the hall with a scooter, right foot plastered. I want to
explain that I’ve weathered this surgery with Tuscan pizza—
fresh basil and tomato, mozzarella melted and stretched over
gluten. Lemon cupcakes from the corner bakery also
helped, tasting of Mother’s long-ago cake batter stuck to the
insides of her yellow Pyrex bowl and clinging to the mixer’s
joined blades, me perched over the table on my
knees to reach the silver curves with my tongue. Now I
languish in a dark room with hints of a Western movie set,
miscellaneous furniture collected from estate sales of
neighbors—red velvet rocking chair with curved armrests,
oak end table with a bad drawer and cracked
patina, and my lovely tasseled rose lampshade inspired by
Queen Victoria. I’ve tied the window sheers back with brown
ribbons, like doll hair pulled into long ponytails. On my desk
sits a papier-mâché frog prince, pillowy arms set forward to
tripod with his extended legs, keeping him propped
up. He is my talisman, my muse and sometimes
voyeur with his intense eyes. But mostly he is a bit of
whimsy, dressed in purple Elizabethan ruff and green breeches, his
expectant, slightly smirking amphibian countenance—he is my
yea-sayer, leaning forward on felt hands, asking,
Zaftig, my dear, what comes next?
Entomophagy At San Francisco's Pier 39
You could walk but insisted on being carried,
though we soon lost you at the carousel, frantic
until we spotted your face, sticky with pink
cotton candy, behind Bubba Gump. At the railing
overlooking the sea lions, I worried you’d lean too far, slip
over the edge. My back soon ached with picking you up
or bending to grip your hand in the crowded shops.
By the time you and Pop stopped smashing into each
other on the bumper cars, and I held too many
Skee-Ball redemption tickets,
the sky was dark, and we began the trek back
to the parking garage, last stop the candy shop,
meandering past barrels of saltwater taffy to the shelves
of tiny wax Coke bottles I used to bite the tops off of,
carmine wax lips, Necco Wafers, licorice ropes,
hard river stone candies, bubble gum cigarettes,
gummy rats, roaches, centipedes.
You settled on chocolate mealworms.
Driving away, we heard you rustling the bag, chewing, then,
Mommy, are these bugs real? These candies have little feet.
No, of course not. Silence, more chewing.
Pause. Are you sure? Absolutely.
Chomp. Silence. How do they get all the feet to be different?
Abby Caplin’s poems have appeared in AGNI, Catamaran, Love’s Executive Order, Manhattanville Review, Midwest Quarterly, Salt Hill, TSR: The Southampton Review, Tikkun, and elsewhere. Among her awards, she has been a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry, semi-finalist for the Willow Run Poetry Book Award, Best New Poets and Pushcart nominee, and a winner of the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. She is a physician and practices mind-body medicine in San Francisco. http://abbycaplin.com