The curtains are not bodies, but we love them like bodies.  We close them as we open our dreams.  We see the faces we need to see.  We are disconnected from the carnage.  It is selfish of us, but it’s keeping us alive and in love with what it means to be alive.  If we have that, then we can be the fists we need to be the rest of the time.

By Darren C. Demaree


I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly” (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

Erwin Schrödinger Speaks on Dead Fathers By torrin a. greathouse

Erwin Schrödinger Speaks on Dead Fathers

hypothesis: a father’s funeral, unattended, is only a gathering

of bodies. agitated particles confined to a space. maybe grief
is liquid. consider, liquids take on the shape of the container
in which they are placed. the church is flooded with tears,
sunday best drenched in salt, all the light refracted
stained-glass blue.

hypothesis: a closed casket funeral bears the chance of resurrection. if you

seal any animal in a box with the word death, they maintain an infinite
capacity for survival. i have never killed an animal, but i dream
in a language of their bones, black soil & spill of corpses, chalk white,
a field of blurred equations.

hypothesis: any child who has named their father in the hard mathematics of

gravestones knows the body’s infinite potential for decay. maybe if
you blink at the right moment, death is only waveform collapse.

experiment: take your father’s potential for disease, wicked inheritance,

call this radioactive isotope. when you open a bottle do you
hear his voice? when you open a bottle is he casketed inside?

By torrin a. greathouse


torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer, schizophrenic, cripple-punk from Southern California. They are the Editor and Co-Founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Assaracus, Heavy Feather Review, FreezeRay Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Polychrome Ink, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Thought Erotic, Emerge Literary Journal, & The Feminist Wire. torrin’s work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Rust + Moth. When they are not writing or editing poetry, they are trying to survive in america long enough to earn a degree.

I’d Tell You to Kiss My Ass But Then My Girlfriend Would Sue For Trespassing By Zaynab Quadri

I’d Tell You to Kiss My Ass But Then My Girlfriend Would Sue For Trespassing

you say that it’s a sin,
a goddamned sin,
for my girl lips to touch
her girl lips,
for her girl hands to roam
my girl parts,
for me to find pleasure or sexual catharsis
in anyone who dares not possess a penis.

the disease: Gay Perverted Evil Wrong.
the cure: a bath in holy water.
you tell me i just need to find The Right Man
(who may or may not be jesus).

but that’s because you don’t know
how the room smells like candy and gasoline
after she’s had her way with me,
sweat glistening like magic on her skin,
the covers warm with her heat – our shared joy.
you don’t know how her chapstick tastes,
how soft her lips are when pressed against my teeth.
you don’t know how she laughs into my neck
when i sing her name to the ceiling,
turn these four walls into a church
with a prayer to something
bigger and holier
than both of us.

if the bigots find their way to heaven,
clutching their beads and crosses in sweaty palms
while stampeding towards the pearly gates,
my girl would be the onesitting on god’s shoulder
smoking a cigarette and
creaming them in cards against humanity
while all of humanity looked on in amazement.
because not even the almighty creator can resist
the way her nose crinkles with delight,
the impish mischief in her voice,
her quick mind and her sparkly eyes.
neither would you, if you were ever brave enough
to meet her gaze head-on.

your old testament morality is overrated,
your bigotry boring and uninspired.
i don’t need your straightlaced heaven
or your tepid hellsauna
or your fist-shaking, ball-busting,
vein-rupturing judgment.

heaven is her giggly sigh between my thighs,
and hell is the way you look at her
when her hand finds mine in public.
jury’s still out on the judgment bit, but
i’m fine right here for now,
walking in the park and feeding ducks
and watching her stop to pet every dog in sight.

if loving her is the greatest sin i’ve ever committed—well,
that makes me a better candidate for Future Angel
than the sullen ugly stone of your heart
ever made you.

By Zaynab Quadri


Zaynab Quadri is a first-year PhD student in American Studies who dabbles in poetry and fiction whenever she’s not wrestling with research papers. She thanks you for your time.

Werewolf By Clare J. M. Patterson Werewolf


It started age 11, with the cramps
white hot and new
Deep in your stomach
Like something died, like something grew

Then came the hair, up under and between the legs and then
It spreads across the chest
Your mother hands you razors, creams and wax
But every time that you remove it it grows back

Your fingernails, too, grow
Long and pale as finger bones
Your sister paints them in pale pinks, bright reds, they are
As sharp as knifes and able to
Caress, or slice

And of course, you are pulled
By the moon, the tides and by
The warmness in your blood they bring each month;
And when the moon waxes to her peak, and shows her full, round face
You know it’s time to hunt

All girls, they say, are scared to walk alone at night –
Not me
Not with my smile, not with my teeth
You think of penetration, I think of guts,
And when you drag me by the wrist so some dark alley where you plan to rut
Like animals,
I have something more violent in mind and I
Will tear you open with these claws,
I’ll leave you sprawling on the floor and calling for your mother and
before I get too gory I shall pause

But beware
I eat men like rodents
I eat men like air.

By Clare J. M. Patterson


Clare J. M. Patterson is a writer and poet based in Glasgow, Scotland. A student of English Literature and Celtic History, their work draws on both literary and folkloric storytelling traditions, and often focuses on femininity and non-binary gender identity.’

When I Used to be a Little Girl By Juliet Cook

When I Used to be a Little Girl

My sisters and I picked bunches of the dead
off the ground and formed a mound,
then carried one of the cats in front
of the cicada mountain
and watched the cat eat our offering.

At least the insects were already dead
and we were children who later grew up,
became our own individual living creatures.

We were not adults with show off child brat brains.
We were not adults who wanted to be in charge of everyone else
even though we didn’t really care about anyone else.

We did not want a leader who would tilt nests upside down,
watch the baby birds fall out
and call himself the boss as they died.

By Juliet Cook


Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Hermeneutic Chaos, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaboration with Robert Cole called MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), and a collaboration with j/j hastain called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), with two more forthcoming. Cook’s first full-length individual poetry book, “Horrific Confection”, was published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, “Malformed Confetti” is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, “A Red Witch, Every Which Way”, is a collaboration with j/j hastain published by Hysterical Books in 2016. Find out more at

The Meal By Emma Bleker

The Meal

I told two men
half-naked on an overflown
bar’s ballroom, of
the cicadas I swallowed
as a small girl.

I told of crunch
and the last buzz of wings
against bone, of
listening as their families
mourned: in yelps.

I showed them my
canines, the knives of my mouth,
let them run their fingers
over the ridges,
the grooves
that make me now unsafe.

I tell them I have killed
and their hands change.
They do not fear

becoming exoskeleton,
do not see their limbs stuck like
bone scattered clean on hard wood
between my teeth.
Their hands say,
“Let me show you kill.”

They do not see themselves
dangered, but
I am rendered dirty teeth.

To light matches
within the meat of the wound,
I tell them I am killed
(and here is the meaning)
I tell them I am killed
and again,
their eyes see me
as cicada without her skin.

By Emma Bleker


Emma Bleker is a 21 year old writer working for her English degree in Virginia. She has previously been published in Persephone’s Daughters, Cahoodaloodaling, Yellow Chair Review, Thought Catalog, Rising Phoenix Review, and Skylark Review, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.

Failure’s Chase By Jillian Lopez

Failure’s Chase

She runs away from the darkness that lurks,
hoping to find a sun-drenched room that welcomes

the year with tender-soft warmth. Failure is a monster,
and it is enfolding her tendrils of thought and the

shadows that define her. It is a fragmented little thing,
a carcass fresh out of its grave, a vacuum of souls meant to

seep joy from already shattered hearts. It only seeks for more.
But she will not give it that. For years, she wore sadness like a coat

with despondency coiled around her throat until shadows
only spoke. Her voice is but a tiny squeak that cries out

from the abyss from which a single soul is out of reach.
The ground trembles at every drop let out by the darkness

of the sky that had held her close, that caressed her with tears
instead of hope. She was stripped out of her strength and

confidence by the people she cared the most, by those who
had told her: These surely won’t fit.

Find something else to wear. With a fresh set of clothes in hand,
she wore them like it was hers, but unfamiliarity was its

strongest scent, which she knew she could not wear.
She’d rather be stripped naked from wrongness than to

wear clothes that weren’t hers. There were so many grievances,
but she knew she couldn’t speak. By inserting each foot into

the crevice of the mountain’s side, it was already enough for her to
bear how erroneous it must be to be a ghost of someone else

they initially hoped would be she. Enough is enough.
There are days and years ahead in the path that lay beyond, which is

worth the chase from the failure that had chased her
from the start.

By Jillian Lopez


Jillian Lopez is a 16-year-old student from Manila, Philippines. Currently, she specializes in the Humanities and Social Sciences as a junior in senior high school, where she is pursuing her love for law and literature. She is a correspondent for her high school publication entitled Facets, and she has been publishing news and features articles, as well as editorials, for nearly two years. Jillian may be found at her book blog