two poems

by Emily Tuttle


“A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as “the boarder.”—I doubt if he had any other home.”
–Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I play every night because he asks me,
smiles, and tells me
my fingers give his circus its glamor,
his drinks their alcohol—

Without me, he is nothing.

Thousands of hazy stars
dance in chandelier candlelight,
alcohol blooming
in strawberry field cheeks,
circle upon circle—

I guide them.

“She’ll come,” he tells me
before the abyss of the ballroom is
and it’s only him and I
like Grecian statues—

He is the Apollo and I am the Atlas;
I hold up the world as he entrances it,

smashing keys
like others kill ants,
every note

a grope into the next,
reaching for his hair, his neck,
his eyelashes, until

the ballroom exhales,
and his hand is on my shoulder,
That’s enough, old sport.”

His lips kiss the empty air,
syllables like smoke rings,
savoring the sound it makes,

Old. Sport.

Everyone is gone—

he looks at the shore
like he wants to walk in—
and I wish we could drown together,

hot, naked
syllables tangled
in our chest—
both of us barely breathing,

his air flush against my air.


Who My Parents Were Before I Was Here

We grew in Baltimore
curled in a small brick box,
the living room, a trash pit,
my cradle made of beer cans,
teething toys, the smooth
gummy tops of
empty pale ale bottles.

My father called it inspiration,
strange animal sounds and
police sirens,
glass and smoke
playing out of crowded bars at 3 AM,
a human, grunting kind
of jazz.

My mother called him artist,
reached out to pet his hair,
oil paints staining brunette bangs
and thin John Lennon glasses,
she will write him.

He will paint her, naked,
thick, calloused thumbs over
gray white space,
coaxing coal into her eyes…
years later, I will find it,
wispy hair, smoky breasts
leaning into herself,

I name it children.

Emily Tuttle is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, where she was editor of two on campus journals and editorial assistant to Poet Lore for two years. She has been awarded the Jimenez-Porter Literary Prize for Poetry. Previously, she has been published in District Lit, Blotterature, the Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, and Sigma Tau Delta’s Rectangle, among others.

Artwork by: Emily Wiethorn

Emily Wiethorn (b.1991) is a photographic artist currently based in Lincoln, NE where she will graduate with her MFA in Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is an Instructor of Record and holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. She received her BFA in Photography from Northern Kentucky University. She has most recently been awarded the 2017 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging, was a Critical Mass finalist in 2017, a finalist for The Texas Photographic Society’s National Photography Award, and is a featured artist in the spring 2018 issue of PDNedu. Her work has been published online with Musee Magazine, Lenstratch, Loosen Art, among others. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in China and Italy. She works primarily in self-portraiture where she explores notions of feminine identity, societal constructs of femininity, and self-discovery.

Instagram: @emily.wiethorn