Issue #8

Cover Design by Sirenia Maciel

“You may forget, but let me tell you this, someone in some future time will think of us.”

-Sappho

Letter from the Editor

Our world is in turmoil right now. The Elephant Ladder is based out of the United States where a nationwide second wave civil rights movement is happening with the Black Lives Matter movement which all of us here strongly support. We have donated to charities, signed petitions, and those of us who were able to attended protests, but the fight is so far from over. Which is why I felt like the theme of our summer issue remaining as Pride was important now more than ever. Pride started as riots lead by black trans women, namely Marsha P. Johnson. Those riots are the reasons we have the rights we have today—those women are why.

Universal equality for those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community is still not a reality and for those of us in the USA, the trans community’s rights are under attack. Hearing from voices within the community, as well as our allies is vital to this fight. The Gay Liberation Movement of the 60s happened alongside the Civil Rights Movement, they were connected, and that’s how things must progress now with the LGBTQIA+ Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement. ALL Black lives matter. Below is the link to A GoFundMe to help homeless black trans women.

Sometimes Pride is about floats, and parades, and blaring Lady Gaga’s newest single, and sometimes it’s about protests, and riots, and fighting with your whole heart to help make the world a better place.

This issue features more content than any of our previous issues. There’s photography, artwork, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more. It’s all wonderful, and the creators who contributed are all wonderful people who are either members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or proud allies. Remember that art is a form of protest, so if you enjoy this issue, please share it around. Spread the joy and positivity and brutal honesty our creators have brought to their works. And please, please, keep fighting. We see you. We support you. And we’re with you.

Stay strong you wonderful elephants,

Molly Likovich (she/her)
Lead Editor


DONATE TO HELP HOMELESS BLACK TRANS WOMEN

https://www.gofundme.com/f/homeless-black-trans-women-fund


Although most Pride festivals are cancelled, you can still celebrate at home by rocking one of the adorable T-shirts from True Colors Pride. True Colors is dedicated to providing cute and affordable designs that celebrate a wide range of identities on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and, best of all, each purchase directly supports independent LGBTQIA+ creators, not some soulless corporation. 

Visit teespring.com/stores/true-colors-pride to check them out and use code PROUD for 10% off all orders for the entire month of June. 


Check out The Elephant Ladder merch shop!

https://teespring.com/stores/the-elephant-ladder


“If a bullet should enter my brain, let it shatter every closet door.”

-Harvey Milk

March With Pride by Alice Mason

Alice Mason (she/her) is an emerging urban photographer with a strong focus on documenting everyday moments, from protests to commutes. Having studied film at university she has experimented with different mediums before finding a passion for photography. Believing there is great beauty to be found in the everyday, she captures Londoners experiencing life in the capital. With the majority of her photography being in black and white she pays a lot of attention to light and shade and the roles they play in creating powerful images. The photo above was taken at last year’s Pride celebrations.


“Look, love is not something we set or control. Love is just like art: a force that comes into our lives without any rules, expectations or limitations. Love like art, must always be free.”

-Sense8

Outage

by Melissa Cannon


Orange Crush

by Melissa Cannon


Melissa Cannon (she/her) lives and writes in Nashville. Her poems have appeared in many small-press journals and anthologies and she has recently completed a manuscript on sexuality and gender identity called The Body Electric-Hybrid. She is currently working on a series of doll poems.


“But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable.

-Casey McQuiston, Red White & Royal Blue

Joyous Transgression

by Avi M. 


transocean by Avi M.

Avi M (he/they) is an aspiring writer and amateur photographer. He hasn’t published much yet, but does have a poem in X Marks the Spot: An Anthology of Nonbinary Experience and a blog https://transcendragons.wordpress.com/ where you can read more of their writing. They’re a queer, nonbinary trans guy. 


“Don’t end yourself, defend yourself.”

-Beetlejuice The Musical

Writing Through Fear With Pride

by Gabrielle Elaine

In Chapter 9 of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, starting on page 202 and ending on page 211, a scene is described through Milkman’s memories. Milkman and Guitar are pulled over for an unknown reason. While searching the car, the cops discover a skeleton in the green sack the boys had stolen from Pilate. The policemen arrests them. Pilate arrives, and she’s not the strong, unmovable force Milkman knows, but a little, old, fragile black woman who quotes the Bible and says things like “Yassuh, boss.” She spins a tale to get the boys out of jail, and it works. Guitar’s near-murderous at her for bowing and scraping to white men. Milkman understands why she did it, but it’s an understanding born out of ignorance and fear. 

This juxtaposition between Guitar’s reaction to bigotry and Milkman’s is one I have struggled with a lot in my own life. Not because of my racial identity, but because of my sexual orientation (I recognize my white privilege, and I do not mean to conflate the two issues, nor ignore the experiences of those whose oppressed identities intersect. When I read Morrison’s words, I recognized a part of my own life that I hadn’t been able to describe on my own, even if it wasn’t an exact translation).

My senior year, I took a concurrent online writing class. The assignment? Write a creative nonfiction essay about an experience that changed us. I chose to write about my job-from-hell working as a waitress for  $2.50/hour: 

“I’d been enslaved by Pizza Hut for about six months at this point. A white couple came in. They looked to be in their fifties, obese but not morbidly so, and the man wore a wife-beater beneath filthy overalls and a nipple-length, gray-and-yellow beard. 
‘Booth or table?’
‘Table.’
I led them to a table. They got up and moved to a booth.
‘It’s too bright in here,’ the woman simpered. I pulled down the blinds in
the entire section, leaving the restaurant in shadows. 
The man then, with extremely colorful language, complained about the music—both the station and the volume….
…I turned the station to country and the volume down, and they were great after that. I sat another table in their section — three college guys. Their shorts and their voices were a tad bit higher than the might-be-heterosexual marker. They weren’t holding hands or making out or causing a disturbance, but still, it was obvious. I didn’t think anything of it until much later when I was checking out Overalls.
‘$45.67 is your total,’ I said. He handed me the money. 
‘There’s not some kind of pen we could put them faggots in?’ His southern drawl was syrupy, dripping from his half-joking lips. 
I blinked and stared at the register, then his face. I must have heard him wrong, I thought.
‘Huh?’ 
‘There’s not some kind of pigpen y’all could put them faggots in?’ He jerked his head at the boys’ table. ‘They’re puttin’ me off my food.’
‘Uh, no, I don’t… um—here’s your change,’ I stuttered, holding out $4.33. 
‘Keep it,’ he said, smiling.
After they left, my entire body began to shake. My jaw and fists clenched, and a wildness came into my legs, carrying me out the back door of the restaurant. …I breathed deep and kicked the wall again and again, my face the color of marinara sauce. I wanted to scream and rip the building apart. To rip myself apart. 
There was no way that man could have known that he had a queer waitress. He didn’t know what he’d said would hurt me. But I was. And he did.”

A few days after turning in the essay, I was looking online at the peer reviews. The more I read, the more confused I became. 

“Why were you so upset about what the old man said?”

“Do you just hate the word faggots?”

“Why did you react like that? There’s no lead-up or explanation! Maybe include that in revisions.”

Even the professor seemed to have missed it. I clicked on the link I had turned in to reread the essay. I thought I had been clear.

The line, “There was no way that man could have known that he had a queer waitress. He didn’t know what he’d said would hurt me. But I was. And he did.” had been deleted from the essay.

At the time, my mom had access to my high school Google drive. But I thought, Surely not. Surely she would ask me first. Maybe I deleted it when I was revising and forgot about it.

But no. I asked her about it when she got home from work that day, and she admitted to deleting it. 

“Sweetie….” she said as I cried hot, angry tears. Once again, I was too hurt to move, too shocked to respond, but it was worse this time because it wasn’t a stranger. Like Guitar in Song of Solomon, my “anger was like heat shimmering out of [my] skin, making the hot air blowing in through the open window seem refreshing in comparison” (pg. 207). 

“Sweetheart,” she said again. “You don’t know your professor. This is an online class, and writing is so subjective. What if she gave you a bad grade for being lesbian? ( I am not a lesbian. My mom does not believe that liking boys and girls at the same time is a thing that exists.) This is the first essay. She could fail you on every assignment you turn in if she knew about this.” 

“Then why didn’t you ASK ME first?” I will admit that at that moment, I was screaming at my mom. “Why go behind my back and delete it? You made it worse. No one understood the point I was trying to make or why I was so upset. It’s my writing. It’s the only thing I have complete control over, and you took that from me!”

“I didn’t know when it was due.” Mom was not yelling. Mom was quiet. Mom was calm. Mom did not apologize for deleting me out of my own experience. However, she did apologize for hurting me. And I could see the fear in her when she talked about people knowing, and I understood it. I understood it the way Milkman understands why Pilate “did a little number for the cops” to get the boys out of jail (pg. 210). The part of me that understood what my mom had done, my inner Milkman, felt like the part of me that was angry, my inner Guitar, “had no cause to look at her like that” (pg. 210). After all, during revisions I had taken it out, then put it back in, fighting the same moral battle within myself that I was having with her. I resolved to do what I’d been taught. I would just not write about stuff like that anymore, and if I did write it, not to let anyone read it.

Fast forward to freshman year of college. I was going to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators MidSouth Conference in Nashville, Tennessee and pitching my book to an agent as part of a graduation present. My mom wanted to read my novel before the conference. I had put off letting her read it for a long time, making excuses about the quality or that it wasn’t finished. Really, I did not want her to read it because of the relationship between the main character and her best friend. 

The pitch for the book is, “The first installment in a young adult fantasy duology. A girl teams up with a bounty hunter to find her girlfriend’s killer. But this is a book with magic, so if they can mind the murderer, the main character can bring the love of her life back from the dead.” 

Still, she was paying for my opportunity to pitch it, so I shared it as “VIEW ONLY,” feeling guilty for not trusting her. 

One week before my pitch, I received this text from my mom:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about ASWK. ( ASWK: A Soul Worth Keeping, the working title of my book)
It’s very well written and fun to read. However, please consider changing the nature of Drace and Belladonna’s relationship to reflect your friendship with Sydney (
My best friend of five years. Her name is spelled S-Y-D-N-I) or a sisterly bond like Aspen/Skylar ( I am not close with Aspen and Skylar. They played on my basketball team in high school). Replace the word lover with friend/sister. Maybe she got the lashing from her father for stepping in to take Bella’s punishment or defying her father’s treatment of Bella’s mother ( Drace is whipped when her father finds out about her relationship with Belladonna. It is an attempt to “fix her”)
I want your dad to be able to put it in the classrooms of the junior high without parent uproar. I want Mrs. Ham – one of your biggest fans – to recommend ASWK to her students. 
Please consider this. It’s a change that is doable and more relatable to a larger readership.
Your book has great possibilities. And you know I’ll support you and be there at your first book signing *stack of books emoji*.”

I did not reply for an entire day. At 7:30 p.m., she called and apologized. She apologized for upsetting me, for that text being the first thing I woke up to that day, and for not finishing the book before she made a suggestion. She did not apologize for trying to, once again, write me out of my own story. Deep inside my gut, I felt this intense twist of fear and anger and mistrust. I had been right to share it in “VIEW ONLY,” to write the novel under a new Google account. A part of me believes that she would have just changed the book I’d been working on for five years if I had let her. It would have been to protect me, but also, I realized, to protect herself and my dad from the repercussions of me being out. She wanted me to turn Drace into the Pilate from that scene in Chapter 9 permanently when the character is supposed to be this person who loves with an intensity strong enough to rip a soul to pieces.

In the seconds before I responded, I realized I had three choices. I could be like Guitar, angry at having to change for fear of bigotry, but still altering my pitch for the conference so that my book would be more acceptable to a broader audience and therefore easier to sell. I could be like Milkman, accepting that this is the way the world works and doing what I had been taught was morally right: obeying my mother. Or, I realized, staring at the dorm ceiling as my mom waited for my response on the other end of the line, I could choose to go against everything I had been taught about being a winner, about being a success. The rules of the game were clear. Yet it was about more than just this one book to me. It was about all the stories I wanted to write but had chosen not to out of fear. Maybe it always had been.

I took a deep breath and chose, stepping further towards the version of myself I decided I wanted to become.

“Mom,” I said. “I would rather write from a place of honesty and authenticity and be hated for it than write something that will please everyone from a place of fear.”

I realized it would be an honor to be on a banned book list because my books and stories contain LGBTQIA+ main characters. I want to contribute to making the world come to a point where there isn’t a parent uproar if a book like mine, where the girls share a single kiss in-scene, is in a junior high library. Pilate shouldn’t have had to change herself in that scene, which is why Toni Morrison put it in her book. Drace shouldn’t have to change herself in my novel, which is why I’m putting her in mine. 

I want a fourteen-year-old girl to be looking for a high fantasy epic, open the pages of A Soul Worth Keeping, and see someone who is like her because that’s the book I wanted when I was that old. I want her to read my book and see that she isn’t broken, or an abomination, but that a love like that is worth defying heaven and hell. That she is worth defying life and death. 

I want her to be proud of that.


Ode to a Stranger in Starbucks

by Gabrielle Elaine

“Passing stranger! you do not not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be…she I was seeking, (It comes to me as of a dream,)”
-To A Stranger” by Walt Whitman


Gabrielle Elaine (she/her) Thurman is a pre-law creative writing major, professional editor, native Arkansan, queer woman, published poet, and aspiring novelist. Her poetry has appeared in The Global Poemic, The Vortex Magazine of Literature and Fine Art, and the Appelley Publishing: Rising Stars 2019 Collection


“Different is such a good word.”

-Jamie Clayton

Lena

by Joanna Vogel


This is The Last Stop on This Train

by Joanna Vogel


Joanna Vogel (she/her) is a teacher and writer living in Queens, NY with her wife, daughter, and nearly feral cat. She’s been published in Chronogram, The Emerson Review, and Plain China.


“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

-James Baldwin

A Hopeless Indian Migrant Worker by Afresh Frankincense

Afresh Frankincense (he/him) is 12-year-old in 7th grade. He’s a child art-prodigy from Odisha and lives in Hyderabad in South India. Though he loves math and science, art has a special place in his heart. His work has appeared in Moonchild Magazine, The Celestal Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and Kids 4G, amongst others.      


I’m done living in a world where I don’t get to be who I am. I deserve a great love story.

-Love, Simon

THE PROFESSIONAL WITNESS HERE COMES WHAT’S HIS NAME

by Colin James


PARTNERS

by Colin James


Colin James (he/him) has a book of poetry, Resisting Probability, from Sagging Meniscus Press.


“Make people see how the world could one day be if we take a chance.”

-The Prom Musical

‘Reverie’: A Surface Level Fun Read

by Bridget Barnsley

There was a lot of hype surrounding Ryan La Sala’s debut novel Reverie when it came out in December 2019. It was the January book of the month for popular book clubs like Booksplosion and Barnes and Noble YA. The story has many fantastical elements as well as great LGBTQIA+ representation, but faced some deeper issues with the world it was creating. 

The novel follows Kane Montgomery as he wakes up with amnesia; not remembering the last several months of his life. The police are questioning him about his accident where he supposedly stole his father’s car and crashed it into an abandoned mill. The reader joins Kane as he tries to unravel the mystery of the accident, but it quickly becomes apparent that there is more he doesn’t remember as he is pulled into different worlds or ‘Reveries’ which are the culmination of a person’s innermost fantasies and daydreams. 

The concept of reveries is a fantastic premise for a book. Anyone can have an intricate world in their head that can become forced into reality. It’s an original idea that I enjoyed imagining. However, the world building surrounding this central part of the plot fell short. The boundaries of the magic system are never fully explained, so unexpected events can happen without any indication of the way the story will go. Reveries are promoted as this magical other world and it is, but it always follows different tropes and seems more like a random mashup of elements rather than a cohesive story element. 

The characters followed a similar pattern in being formulaic as each of them relied on a set of traits they would continue to emphasize throughout the book. That is a good basis of a character, but was less shown than directly stated to the audience as if they wouldn’t be smart enough to figure it out on their own. The relationships between characters were a good start. The romance between Kane and Dean is the best illustrated while not letting it overtake the story. The rest fall to the side when they could be more prevalent, especially between Kane and his sister which hangs in the balance at the end of the book. 

The villain was fascinating, and taking inspiration from the power of drag queens was a great way to craft a character. It made her really interesting to read about and led me to wanting more. Her background could have been fleshed out in order to emphasize her desire to create a new world in order to understand her better. The novel leaned more on the idea that this world is bad, so I’ll leave it, but doesn’t specifically link to her inner motivations to create a whole new one. 

The pacing of the novel was lacking at times. There were chunks of worldbuilding at the start that slowed the storytelling and the reveries became repetitive towards the middle. Similarly, the characters seem to jump to different conclusions without much build up. There are ideas linking them, but the way they got to that point was unclear. 

The writing style is easy to read and helped get invested in the book. The descriptions are vivid and allow for a complete picture of what was going on at any moment in time. As a person who lives in Connecticut, I personally appreciate the nuances La Sala used to describe the surroundings because they were so specific and accurate rather than stereotypes about what a small New England town is like. 

If you’re looking for a fun read with LGBTQ+ elements, then it is a good standalone choice despite its flaws. Reverie is an enjoyable adventure to dive into for fans of magic and mystery.

Rating: B-


Bridget Barnsley (she/her) is a proud ally of the queer community. She is an avid book reader and fiction writer from Connecticut. She is in her Junior year of college where she is double majoring in creative writing and film. She enjoys making in-depth reviews and analyses of books, tv, and films on her YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXUkfxfvG2dEF0Sa7WY-B0Q). She loves superheroes, comedy, and expressing her opinions. 


I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.

-Louisa May Alcott

Pride Cat by E. Cat Eaton

E. Cat Eaton (she/her) is a 25-year-old bisexual Iranian American from Kentucky. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BFA in Drawing and Sculpture. Currently she owns a traveling Pop Up Shop and spends a lot of time in Cincinnati. 
Instagram: @tiedyetomcat
@tiedyetomcat1


This above all: to thine own self be true.”

-Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Mid-Night Syndrome

by Nnadi Samuel


Nnadi Samuel (he/him) is a graduate of English & Literature from the University of Benin, who lives in Lagos (Nigeria). His works have been published in PORT Magazine, Gordon Square Review, Blue Nib journal, Artifact Magazine, Inverse Journal, Canyon Voices, Awakening Review, The Collidescope, Jams & Sand Magazine, Journal Nine, Praxis Magazine, Ngiga Review, and has work forthcoming in Quills & Lunaris Review. He won the Splendor of Dawn Poetry Contest April 2020, was shortlisted for the annual Poet’s Choice award, and was the second-prize winner of the EOPP 2019 contest. His first chapbook REOPENING OF WOUNDS is forthcoming in the WRR publisher. He is a co-reader at U-Right Magazine. You can contact him via email samuelnnadi4@gmail.com or on twitter Samuelsamba10


Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

-Oscar Wilde

Suppose

by Pitambar Naik


Pitambar Naik (he/him) grew up in Odisha in India. He’s author of The Anatomy of Solitude a collection of poetry (Hawakal) and is a poetry/fiction reader for Remington Review and poetry editor for Minute Magazine. His work appears or is forthcoming in The World Belongs To Us HarperCollins India, The Indian Quarterly, Packingtown Review, New Contrast, The Ekphrastic Review, Ghost City Review, Eunoia Review, Glass Poetry, Cha Journal, Vayavya among others.     


“Unable are the loved to die for love is immortality.”

-Emily Dickinson

meant to be free

by Linda M. Crate


Linda M. Crate’s (she/her) works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published two full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020) and The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020).


Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.

-Lady Gaga

Feminist Sex

by Callie S. Blackstone


Two Underage Girls Sneak into the YMCA

by Callie S. Blackstone


Callie S. Blackstone (she/her) is still here, still queer, and still filled with existential fear. She is a lifelong New Englander and is lucky enough to wake up to the smell of saltwater and the call of seagulls. Callie S. Blackstone has been published in special interest magazine SageWoman. Her work is forthcoming in an anthology titled Tell Me More that is being published by East Jasmine Review. Find Callie at callieblackstone.wordpress.com.


“Am I allowed to look at her like that?

-Dodie

The Girl Next Door

by Madison Martin


Madison Martin (she/her) will be a Junior at Emory University in the Fall where she currently pursues a double major in Business and Creative Writing. Madison thanks all of her friends and family that have supported her in the coming out process. She also loves to travel and writes for Madi Travels which you can find @maditravels_ on Instagram.


“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”

-RENT

These Leaking Walls

by Bob Leak


Bob Leak (they/them) is a Liverpool based poet, video-maker, biologist, digital marketer and history enthusiast who hopes to build queer community and support for those struggling with mental illness through their poetry. Their life revolves around their cat’s demands.


“I found a rainbow, baby, trust me I know life is scary, but just put those colors on girl, come and paint the world with me tonight.”

-Kesha

SO GREY

by Kendreek


Kendreek (he/him) is a young aspiring writer in many fields, but primarily poetry. He Grew up in Nigeria but has travelled to several places on a journey of exploration in writing. He is currently an undergraduate of the prestigious university of Calabar. He dreams to take the pen to another level in the near future. He began writing as a teenager and has contributed a number of poems to literary journals including the Dayton Quarterly and Kenyon Review


“All you need is love.”

-The Beatles

Versible by Daniel Walters

Daniel Walters (he/him) lives in the south east of the UK and has a background in Computer Science. He enjoys keeping active, and believes that the best time is that spent outdoors. @danielmhwalters


“How sweet the thought that there is still another & better & happier world than this.”

-Anne Lister

Queer Decameron in East Hampton

by James Gaynor

The Last Night

Bill: Adjective Tasting

Bill has an MFA and has been published in a variety of online journals. He teaches as an adjunct professor at a community college in New Jersey. He freelances as a poetry workshop leader, where the members of the house who didn’t already know each other all met. The house on Further Lane belongs to his parents, who wanted him to be an investment banker. Bill has had sex with everyone in the group at least once, and in different combinations. He takes unwarranted pride in being a Scorpio.

[Favorite poet: Raymond Carver]

Now researchers in China have found that the coronavirus, or bits of it, may linger in semen.

the New York Times 7 May 2020

Elena: Packing for the Ice Floe

Elena, the relative newcomer to the group, came under pressure from her cousin Charlotte. She is working on a PhD in Byzantine Art would rather have gone to stay with her mother, but there wasn’t room. They talk every day, usually about her mother’s difficulty with masks and gloves. She is looking forward to forgetting about Bill.

[Favorite poet: Gwendolyn Brooks]

Chuck: Viral Fluency 

Before the epidemic hit, Chuck was taking an extended break from being a lawyer, working as a bartender and studying for his certification as a teacher of English as a second language. At the same time the epidemic hit, his boyfriend found out about his affair with his boss’s wife and threw him out. Chuck has no idea where he’s going to live when he goes back, but something aka someone always turns up. 

[Favorite poet: Robert Frost]

Charlotte: Cards Are So Last Century

Charlotte is an unemployed actuary and the only person in the house who actually knows someone who died from the virus — her mother’s aunt Margaret. There may or may not be some money but they were never close. At one point she thought she and Gillian might have something more serious than it turned out to be. She brought her cousin along as an insurance policy of sorts, but didn’t expect her to sleep with Gillian (and Gary, which was just strange). Elena doesn’t know that she knows, But Charlotte is looking forward to not seeing her cousin until the next obligatory holiday. Maybe Thanksgiving. More probably Christmas.

[Favorite poet: Dorothy Parker]

Gillian: Invested in Tulips

Gillian is a financial planner on furlough from her company, which will probably fold in the near future. Her encounters with Bill and Vivienne had more to do with her attraction to Vivienne, although Bill was a useful catalyst. She loves the garden and has spent a lot of time in secret trying on Bill’s mother’s sizable collection of vintage Chanel. 

[Favorite poet: Edna St. Vincent Millay]   

George: Funeral To-Dos 

George is a Kinsey 6, has a degree in English literature and works as a personal trainer at a gym — where he met Chuck — and which, like Gillian’s place of employment, is unlikely to reopen. He is working on a cabaret act in which he sings selected poems of Emily Dickinson to “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” He’s slept with Bill and Chuck both here and in New York. There was that strange moment with Elena in the pool. And he’s pretty sure he knows what happened to Elizabeth’s third husband.

[Favorite poet: Emily Dickinson]

Erica: Fun Ways to Grieve

Erica has an MBA she’s never used, thanks to her father’s guilt about leaving her mother (who then killed herself). She needed a break from sport-dating in a city of commitment-phobes and decided to think about these three months as a detox. She also decided to give up coffee, which has made her rather irritable, particularly with Heather. She’s the one in the house that everyone complains about when she’s not there. 


[Favorite poet: Sylvia Plath]

Hilary: Woke

Hilary, the only one who remains employed, is an editor at an online fashion magazine. She occasionally wishes George were bi, but has had sufficient therapy to understand that it’s something to do with relationship with her mother and better left alone. She likes to take photographs of the sunrise from the second-floor deck, and has created an album. She’s going to write a novel about this experience, tentatively titled “Sheltering in Place.”

[Favorite poet: Gerard Manley Hopkins]

Elizabeth: It Happens

Elizabeth has been married three times. A year or two older than the others, she is the house’s source of both wisdom and legal advice. She was best friends with Bill’s older sister and had an affair with Bill’s father when she was 16. She plays tennis well and can sail. No one knows what happened to husband No. 3. 

[Favorite poet: Tony Hoagland]

Heather: @HelenOfTroy

At 19, Heather is the youngest member of the group. She was one of Bill’s students and worked as a barista at Starbucks in Hoboken. She thinks Bill is an idiot, but she was broke, and he wasn’t the worst 25 minutes in her history of passable 25 minutes. Heather has no idea what she’s going to do or where she’s going to live when she goes back. But she’ll figure it out.

 [Favorite poet: Sharon Olds]

As the new day appeared, they arose and, having already dispatched all their gear in advance, they returned to Florence, where the three young men took leave of the seven ladies and leaving them in Santa Maria Novella, whence they had set out with them, went about their other pleasures, while the ladies, when it seemed to them time, returned to their houses.      


                                        — The Decameron 

Emily by Sirenia Maciel

The Elephant Ladder would like to thank everyone who made this issue possible!

  • Patron of the Arts, Susan Marie Doyle for always making the dreams of our staff and our contributors possible.
  • Our assistant editor Michelle Doering for helping make this issue the best it could be.
  • Our Graphic Artist, Sirenia Maciel for creating stunning artwork for our cover and our new merchandise.
  • True Colors Pride for being a sponsor of this issue.
  • All you wonderful elephants! Thank you for always supporting us and our dream of giving artists of all walks of life a platform and a voice!

Follow The Elephant Ladder on twitter @LadderElepant and on Instagram @theelephantladder. If you’d like to help fund the next issue of The Elephant Ladder, please consider donating to our ko-fi page at: http://www.ko-fi.com/theelephantladder Lastly if you’re interested in running an ad in the next issue of The Elephant Ladder email us at theelephantladder@gmail.com


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