As It Ought To Be Magazine is proud to announce our nominees for the 2021 Best of the Net Anthology, published by Sundress Publications.
Nadia Arioli: On “I Walk Without Echo” By Kay Sage
Frank Gallimore: The Shape of My Name
Ken Hines: What the Children Know
Dan Overgaard: Drifting Off
Ilari Pass: Delayed Rays of a Star
Melody Wang: All That My Mother Cultivates
Congratulations to our nominees, and thank you to everyone who contributed to AIOTB Magazine this year!
When I Die, Liken Me to the Sparrow
Tread lightly near the clearing in fading
light; there is no telling which plants
contain pure poison nestled in
waxy-smooth petals and stems
Pretend not to notice striated pink-purple flowers
strewn about the forest floor — unsuspecting
creatures pulled from their nesting
place and tossed aside as an afterthought
Seek and find near a clump of irises: the cold
sparrow, cramped on its side, lurid flesh showing
more than it had in life, features oddly twisted and
sleep-softened eyes closed eternally
Revel in the sacred realization that it belongs
to the earth now, requiring neither proper burial
nor the slightest acknowledgment of the fact
that it is no longer among the living
About the Author: Melody Wang currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband. In her free time, she dabbles in piano composition and also enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her dogs. She is a reader for Sledgehammer Lit and can be found on Twitter @MelodyOfMusings.
More by Melody Wang:
All that My Mother Cultivates
Image Credit: Illustration from “Coloured illustrations of British birds, and their eggs” London :G.W. Nickisson,1842-1850. Public Domain. Image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library
All That My Mother Cultivates
On the morning of his death, my mother: a lone
cypress, statuesque in her mourning
even as rising smoke clouded her vision
Plum blossoms cast downward, she morphed
into a resolute blackthorn boasting branches
bursting with tales of courage amid darkness
Autumn crept in and she invited the lost
to harvest her fruit as the fading world
oscillated between darkness and light
She teaches me how to forage wild fennel
and radish greens — the spiced aroma of anise waltzes
with a subtle mustard melody of earth-warmed resilience
Umbel flowers extend proud heads upward,
amber brilliance quivering over parched land.
We delight in spotting whimsical wood sorrel
Heart-shaped leaflets grouped in threes
fold up at night and unfurl again
with the sleepy smile of dawn
As golden hour illuminates the first buds
of magnolia, sporadic blooms appear,
eager to take in the first rains of June
Amid the deserts of Southern California,
an unmistakable fragrance permeates
the night air, not soon to be forgotten.
About the Author: Melody Wang currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband. In her free time, she dabbles in piano composition and also enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her dogs. She can be found on Twitter @MelodyOfMusings.
Image Credit: Digitally enhanced image of a Magnolia from Curtis’s Botanical magazine. London ; New York [etc.] Academic Press [etc.]. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Creative Commons License 2.0.