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Alice Pettway


(Suzhou, China)

Lightful Trees by Fabien Beuchet

In the hospital, I learned
the character for pain,
a tangled rope of black
to be uncoiled and sent
into the stomach, anchored
in the hurt and then yanked
out through the mouth.
Without , suffering
is a blank space, one long
alien gasp somersaulting
into its own vacuum with eyes
taped shut. Anesthesiologists
know the dangers of silence.
In the theater, a brain
can spike a new language
across the monitors, rhythm
as uncertain as a mouth
tasting a foreign word,
mind projecting itself
through a single line,
electric brush stroke
while the body lies
perfectly still.


About the writer:
Alice Pettway’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, The Progressive, The Threepenny Review, WomenArts Quarterly and numerous other publications. Her first collection, The Time of Hunger | O Tempo de Chuva, was published in 2017; her second, Moth, is forthcoming in 2019. Pettway currently lives and writes in Shanghai.

Image: Lightful Trees by Fabien Beuchet (1982-). Fine art photograph. No technical information specified. Up to 18 x 12 inches. By 2019. By Permission.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporationsupporting writers and artists worldwide.

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