Crescent Moons and Hidden Hymns.

 By Elina Kumra.

“The wall’s tough against my back, his omnipresence firmly against my front. The dawn spills into the sky, a light I’d rather dodge as much as the truth in my heart.”

Contemplating Change ride by Ivana Sepa.

We lean against the factory’s unforgiving side—me and my guy—while the American midwestern air of 1954 clings to us, a hand about to close in a fist. Ahead lies the Mattachine Society, but for now we’re wrapped up in an era’s arbitrary hold, overshadowed by the recent arrest of Bayard Rustin for an act of love similar to ours.

The wall’s tough against my back, his omnipresence firmly against my front. The dawn spills into the sky, a light I’d rather dodge as much as the truth in my heart. His jaw wears the remnants of a fight—a fading bruise, a maturing memory. Today, I’ll call it quits with him. This love, this fight, it’s not worth dying for, I rehearse in my mind. His thumbs trace crescent moons on my hips, urging me to think twice.

But life’s tugging at me, my double bass in tote, towards smoky bars and jazz-infused nights, far from here, maybe beyond the ocean. I’ll put on my derby shoes, pull back my longing with pomade, and lose myself in music, not in him. My dad didn’t survive the war’s grim reel for me to skulk and hide like some scared critter.

Then, his foot, free and bare, brushes over mine, the grit from his skin and the rustling of grass between my toes jar me back.

“What’s on your mind?” he queries.

I start, “I’m heading—”

His hand interjects, grasping the fresh stubble on my chin. “Getting scruffy,” he jests with a smile, coaxing my gaze to him.

I correct him, “Pulling myself together. And—”

His touch is gentle on my stubble, a kindness misplaced. “It suits you,” he affirms, softening my determination.

I need to lay it all out. “We can’t carry on like this.”

His words spill out, “I’m leaving her.”

“I’m leaving—going on tour,” I declare.

“Take me with you,” he pleads.

Before I can argue, “Okay” escapes me.

There he is, leaning towards your shoulder with an air of quiet and comfort. Then you hear footsteps dangerously close. You and your lover start running. For the first time, you forget the rule to run in opposite directions.

The Blood Pudding – February 19, 2024

Elina Kumra is a student-poet whose pieces place introspection in Fiction and Poetry under a lens. She is a YoungArts Finalist in Poetry and Fiction, Recognized by Rattle, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and nominated for the Best of the Net. Her work appears in Up North Lit , Typishly Lit, The Blood Pudding, Writers Digest, StreetLit, Coffin Bell, Polyphony Lit and the Peauxdunque Review.


Artwork: Canadian-Serbian artist Ivana Sepa studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Relocating to Canada’s west coast introduced Sepa to natural beauty on a scale she had never experienced before. The bold colors, sharp contrasts, and strong lines in Sepa’s paintings suggest the range of feelings that surface in nature—from the dreamlike sensuality of complete immersion to the contemplative appreciation that comes with regarding the world from a distance.
You can find her work here.