Kelly Sargent

The Mushroom Caves in Madrid

remember when we descended the dank hollow,
hollow like the cool, clay ashtrays cradling the
spent brown butts we found cowering behind the whiskey bottle

that they swilled in the mushroom caves
following the bullfight
and you huddled at the foot of my bed in the tangy orange afghan we shared
after the beast trickled blood uncauterized that night

in the pen dusted crimson.

you liked the banderilla’s pink crêpe paper;
we willed it pretty.

we crawled under the table, sticky
oak legs spread wide,
swollen, soaked, and stiff.
garlic burned more than sangria.

my twin, my deaf mirror,
sign with your tiny hands and
tell me:
what time are we allowed to eat stuffed mushrooms?

My Voice

I am Deaf.
My fingers speak.

A coiffed paintbrush in my grasp,
my voice streaks turquoise and magenta
across a parched canvas.
Vowels coo through thirsty linen.

Click-clacking keys with my mother tongue,
I chew hard consonants
and spit them out.
Sour, a scathing sonnet can be at dusk.

Fingertips pave slick exclamations,
punctuated by nails sinking low into clamminess.
I sculpt hyperboles.

Born and adopted in Luxembourg, Kelly Sargent grew up with a deaf twin sister in Europe and the United States. Her articles, essays, artwork, and poetry have been published in numerous magazines. She also wrote for a national newspaper for the Deaf. Her most recent 2021 poems will appear in Kingfisher Journal, The Purpled Nail, and Wingless Dreamer. Her artwork in 2021, including a current Best of the Net nominee, was featured in the U.S. and abroad in Awakened Voices, The Bookends Review, Prometheus Dreaming, Sheepshead Review, and Beyond Words. She currently volunteers as a reviewer for an organization dedicated to showcasing works by sexual violence survivors.