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Bryana Joy

Bryana Joy is a writer, poet, and painter who works full-time sending illustrated snail mail letters all over the world. She has lived in Turkey, East Texas, and England, and currently resides in the Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared in an assortment of literary journals, and is forthcoming in Delmarva Review, Bracken, DIALOGIST, and others. She has a thing for thunderstorms, loose-leaf tea, green countrysides, and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Find her online at

Kukla Kebap

there is a wounded thing inside me going on about
something but I do not know what it is
going on about

in a long room full of chairs
I wanted my mother to see the marionettes
when I was five and small enough
to be lifted to my father’s shoulders

is it going on about the puppets going
up and down on their strings that my mother
never saw even though I looked for her
in all those smoky people and found her
too late

how cold the street was
the taxis coming and going

when my sister turned five
I begged my mother not to get
her a brown baby tortoise that would
eat lettuce and make her too happy to speak

I was seven but I knew already
the danger of loving fragile things

the tortoise of course died in only a week
we had a funeral in a plot of weeds
the high-rise apartments all around us
we wrote epithets on a large grey rock
how much we had to say to this
small shelled animal who was in our house
only a week and almost never
showed its face

we laid its little body in the red dirt
a brittle mustard bush
spilled pods of black seeds

how fast you went away before I was ready
you were saying something but I do not know
what it was

Campus East

In that springtime of long walks, I was always saying Look,
pulling at you to pause for a predictable ecstasy like
Oh the hyacinths are out! or THIS will be our picnic place. The daffodils.

When the world becomes so small, everything small
takes on stature. The hillock atop the rise took on a city of
rabbits. Puddles took on tadpoles. Black slugs took on names.

You said if by some accident I turned into only a head with
nothing attached all would be well still. The swallows came
back from Africa and each eave turned peppy with their nesting.

So few things go as planned. In the end we left without taking
even one picnic in the corridor of yellow trumpets, never
even once sipped our tea ringed by that fringe and fragrance.

But I regret nothing. You said you would slip the little
oval of me into a mesh bag every morning and bring it along.
You said no leg, no limb could come between us.
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