Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Little Wolf #7 
March 2018 

The Cave
by Caleb Ramsell

I lived in a cave for most of my life. Alone, I stayed in my home which was cold, damp, and dark. Without any lights it was hard to see, without any food I just wouldn’t eat, and without any sleep I became weak. But it wasn’t all bad, sometimes people would visit me, I would invite them in and we would spend a lot of time together. Sometimes they would bring a candle, or a little food. Sometimes they’d keep watch so I could sleep, sometimes they could even get me to leave, but only for a moment.

It’s not that I enjoyed the cave. It just felt safe. Nothing could get me with its walls protecting me. Nothing could make me hurt, more. Yes, it was lonely at times. Yes, I wanted to leave. Yes, I spent most of my days shivering in a corner because no matter how many blankets I wore I’d still be shaking cold. But I couldn’t. I hated it, but I couldn’t leave. I hated it, but that wasn’t the worst. The worst was when I would shut someone out or drag them down with me until they’d get sick and kick me off. Sometimes I would even help them find their own. Without realizing what I was doing, I’d push them to the point that they would leave me, but crawl into a cave of their own, refusing to leave out of fear of finding someone else  like me. I hated it, but I couldn’t stop.

But eventually I left my cave. It took a while, but I did. It took so long because even though living in a cave is hard, leaving one is so much harder. See, caves aren’t like homes. A home you build, you plan, you save, until you eventually build one with those you love. Caves are different. Caves are something you fall into. A place that protects you from harsh weather, but a place that keeps you alone. When you live in a cave it’s hard to build a home. It’s hard to find someone to build one with. You become your cave-cold, dark, and distant. You become hard to see, even by yourself. If you can’t see you, then how can anyone else? But sometimes, something or someone can help you. They can bring in a light, drop down a rope, or destroy your cave completely. They gain your trust and show you the truth. It doesn’t matter how they do it, who they are, or what they say, as long as they get you out. Reaching the top, you will be scared, vulnerable, and exposed, but eventually you’ll see the truth, not all weather is hail.
Brink 12/03/17
by JB Winter

Sometimes I sit alone and I think. Sometimes I'm just right on the brink. I don't want to look rinky dink. I'm not some sap. Yet, I'm always all over the map. Call it whatever you will. I just sit here and chill. Everything I do is of my own free will. Wondering what life's got in store. I wait here and snore. I do my best not to cause an uproar. I'm not lazy, just a bit crazy. I do my best not to snap. I Take what falls in my lap. I'm never alone in my head cuz there's so much in there that I dread. I'm in no hurry to die because there's so much left to try. Anytime i get an urge, I try not to scourge. When I get a sudden surge, I do my best to purge. I do occasionally splurge. Sometimes life gets in the way, I don't know what else to say. I don't want my life to waste
because I know I've only had a taste. I feel there's still so much to do
that I can't waste anymore time on you. My life has so much meaning, but I've spent so much time dreaming.

As Cruel as Ice
by Nicole Gilliand

Two ice swans that were once forming a heart with their necks are now almost unrecognizable three hours after their delivery. A puddle of water is growing on the floor beneath the decorated table, soaking presents wrapped in silver, blue, and gold. ‘To the happy couple,’ most of them read. The cold water almost reaches the pink and peach bouquet that was dropped in the aisle lined with a white carpet and sprinkled with pink petals. Empty chairs with peach covers are strewn randomly around round tables as if their previous occupants had suddenly vanished. Four different pairs of little dress shoes are scattered throughout the hall.

A disappointed mother tears the pink and peach hearts from the walls, dark mascara staining her wrinkled face. A
bewildered father wraps dim fairy lights around his arm, his eyes fixed on the growing puddle. Shocked sisters sweep up heart-shaped glitter that once decorated the tables, but now decorates the floors. Worried groomsmen stand over a table with a peach-colored cake on it, trying to decide what their next move will be. Children of the sisters and groomsmen sit silently in the corner, their shoeless feet
dangling over the edge of tall chairs. A dazed best man searches the room for a mop, tired of slipping in the ever-growing puddle.

A groom sits on the steps outside the chapel, staring at the
silver band in his palm as it shines in the insufferably optimistic starlight. Tears silently fall from his brown eyes, landing on the sleeves of his brand-new tuxedo.

A love that was once so beautiful and clear now puddles on
the ground, foggy and tarnished, soon to be mopped up and
by Maria Maldonado