V: Poetry by A.J. Huffman & Photography by Natalia Drepina


An Occultist’s Nightmare

I writhe on strings only we can see.
I threaded the needle myself, while you poked
me through spaces I should not have been
able to survive. Straining became my life.
I had no need of being
whole. I enjoyed the process of feeling
your fingers piecing me together again.
Too soon, you grew bored
with my ability to regenerate,
started hiding various parts.
I adapted, learned
to do without fundamentals,
often fell asleep listening to the echo
of winds passing through me.
Finally, I held your interest, and your hand
polished me to a new level of radiance.
You labeled me diamond, held me
in the light. I could not sustain
the prismic heat you desired.
You laughed, claimed you could see
right through me. I smiled,
let my eyes return to black, twin coals.
I hear you are still screaming,
but I know I am the one who is burning.


A.J. Huffman has published twelve solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are available from their respective publishers and amazon.com. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, she has published over 2400 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Natalia Drepina, born 1989, is a photographer, poet, and composer/videographer from Lipetsk, Russia. Her work has been featured in a number of specialty journals and small press ‘zines, including Anathema, Beautiful Bizarre, Bleaq, Flesh and Bone, Folio, Literary Orphans, and ND Magazine. She has also been the subject of online interviews at All Black Magazine, Biophiliart, and Les Éditions du Faune. To learn more about Natalia and her art for fragile, wounded souls please visit her Facebook, along with her Art Diary at Tumblr.


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