Emily Linstrom

Emily Linstrom

Emily Linstrom is an American writer and artist residing in Italy. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Carve Magazine, The Wisdom Daily, Three Rooms Press, and award-winning feminist horror magazine Suspira. She was the first prize recipient of Pulp Literature Press’s 2015 The Raven short story contest, and has forthcoming work in Quail Bell’s anthology Her Plumage, a collection of women’s writing for RAINN. Linstrom is a regular contributor for Sabat Magazine. You can view her work at www.emilylinstrom.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at betterlatethan_em.

Cretan Love Letter

It was so easy, in Greece
to be 22 with you, fighting in the cobbled streets
while our landlady drank her ouzo and advised us
to marry already, for God’s sake

She should have convinced me that
happy women howl and hurl
Achillian sandals out of windows,
wear matching lingerie and say Hail Mary–
while turning the bed;

I could have learned the discipline of staying,
of shooing off the choir a woman hears
when she realizes she’s done better
than her savior.

I never told you: sometimes I’d wonder if vestal + virgin
was just another way of saying
You had me once, never again.

Men like you were made for growing old
on peninsulas, folk and fallow,
Byronic only because you share an appetite
and penchant for cruelty

We might have stayed
and prospered.

Originally published in The Literary Bohemian, November 2015

Nekros Nektarios

I dug myself up in the olive grove
or was it beneath the fig tree?

I only recall the clouded night,
so unlike the usual Greek blue,
the bells of the hunting dogs
and barefoot, padding on all fours,
a way out of this wormholed world.

I remember,
there was a miracle up at the monastery:
a twitching corpse, the eyelid of a saint
that could make it rain retsina
or raise the dead for an hour
to dance with long-lost loves again;

I didn’t join them,
but listened while my zombies
marched Orthodox through the orchard.

Have my travels made me fruit or flesh?
the disguised pilgrim seeking souvenirs
of past lives, bric-a-brac of Arachne,
no better than those small-testicled gods
who had to transform into bulls to fool
their women into mounting them?

Could I rig myself some faith
and join those women after all—
holy palmed, black shawled—
winding up the hill to call in favors
too ancient, too grotesque
not to savor;

could I trick myself into
something human?

On the ferry they tell me I do not look American,
that in the absence of faith there is only survival.

Originally published in Nature Studies Journal, November 2016

A Kind of Prayer (for my husband)

Love made out
like an Italian boy from the North,
courting the way of his grandfather
but without the slick tongue, the Catholic backwards
wish for sons born fat off daughters

and for you I knelt and removed my veil,
I said a prayer to the women in your blood:

Perdonami, madri,
polish my belly like Il Duomo,
sweep out the house of past & priest
and let me dodge future progeny
like a bullet

like a woman
wild for flesh unflinching,
tearing through the pasture of her girlhood,
damned if she’ll look over her shoulder
at the twisted trees that were once
her women:

mouths open,
branches frozen in a kind of embrace,
in a kind of prayer;

their thistle milk menses
and laureled hair
ripped out by the handful

season. after. season.

Originally published in Nature Studies Journal, November 2016

Poetry in this post: © Emily Linstrom
Published with the permission of Emily Linstrom