los lobos andan suelto By Antonia Silva

los lobos andan suelto

my father drowns in the rio grande
on a family vacation to chihuahua
all the brothers & sisters & cousins
are wild wolves, they shed skin & dive
headfirst into a swirl of carpsuckers

los niños grow fangs, shape paws into
flippers & catfish the other swimmers
their gills glub & gurgle & gulp water
bubbles into technique, bodies shift
into some semblance of river creature

& my father, the pisces, chokes
on the music of this familiar body
he loses sight of the pack & catches
a current traveling away from home
siempre alcanzando las estrellas

he snags a bosque branch & washes
ashore on a sandy bank, beneath a cluster
of cottonwoods he hums along with
gnarled gnats & la mariposa de la muerte
making peace with breaths that flicker out

in every season & at every party
stories sneak out of the woodwork
& into the mouth of memory
I shake the water from my ears
crawl closer to lineage

& listen close

my father escapes death more times
than I can count & all the brothers
& sisters & cousins are close behind
they howl to a smoky moon & bare
their teeth against rites of passage

as sound streams
into sanctitude.

By Antonia Silva

Biography:

Antonia Silva is a queer Mexican-American poet from Santa Ana, California who currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Antonia’s work is published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Cunt By Maham K By Maham K

Cunt

Desire unhinges. Pours hot oil,
probes & seethes. Yellow as dead leaves.

I wave my sticky little
fingers. Here’s the meat, here’s the grease,

here’s the blind orifice that
whickers & snivels & has ludicrous needs.

I eat coffee & air. I yearn the
groove slick. The purple fissure pleads

& bleeds, a faucet choosing
only to leak. Teeth grow sour. I remain a relic.

Outside, a sky ochre as outrage. The
sun slumps, a blond mangled wrist.

I rot in the glare
of phosphorescent angels.

By Maham K

Biography:

Maham K is a poet, artist & medical student from Karachi, Pakistan. She has been published by Indige Zine, Berry Magazine, Soliloquie Magazine, and Luna Rio Zine.

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans Chisom Okafor

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans

a dagger       navigating through      a gulf of wire curls
meet        the centre point         of my forehead
just after       he spells out          the words

lost between       the frontiers of         the things
i desire         and what        i must be
i want to tell him           about the ringing         cold

or about         the house sparrow         who homeless
after her tree         was felled          had made
her nest         just at the edge           of my windowsill

instead i say         baba         i don’t think          the telephone
line       is clear enough          for this
conversation

By Chisom Okafor

Biography:

Chisom Okafor is a Nigerian poet and Nutritionist, who was shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2019. He edited 20:35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and presently works as Chapbook editor for Libretto Magazine.

Sunken Garden By Sarah Street

Sunken Garden

To a world caught in a pandemic

There is a hemisphere of our island where the sea
laps in major sevenths. But at this point, I am past

mercy; the war clouds have been gathering for
weeks now, and the moon is but a hole punch

in the sky. This is where we exchanged ourselves,
where my tongue became too saccharin to utter

your name. It makes more sense if I count your
words with onions – tendons raw and blistered and

beet-red in the snow. But here in this sunken garden,
the world has already slipped through our fingertips

in a godless attempt to become lysogenic. And we will
never puncture the moon again. And you are already gone.

By Sarah Street

Biography:

Sarah Street is a junior and Writing Fellow at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where she also writes for the school newspaper and edits the literary magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Aerie International, DoveTales: An International Journal of the Arts, Just Poetry National Quarterly, The America Library of Poetry, and Live Poet’s Society among others. Sarah’s work has been recognized by the New York Times Student Poetry Contest, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest, and River of Words Poetry Project. Sarah’s writing frequently explores themes of children’s rights and social justice; she is passionate about promoting diversity, advocating for human rights, and inspiring unity through writing, music, and community service.

NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP- By Yejin Suh

NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP-

-brother (and I say brother because our rusted
smokestacks and exit routes run jagged, craggy,

crunching past borders) is descended from the
plumpest Channel Island, a fact I gleaned while

flipping Joe’s Peach Tea bottlecaps & buying Taylor Ham
breakfast sandwiches at a highway diner, swaddled up

in aluminum that crinkles in arteries like the notorious
Turnpike who bottlenecks victims in side veins

or the Garden State Parkway’s ten-car pileups. I
understand he’s a little bit neglected, a little homely,

maybe washed-up, like a rugged rebound or those cheap
Newark airport souvenirs I adore but don’t cherish,

but along the browning Hudson (where I’ve hiked
when Ramapo is in snake season) turn up calcified

squirrel skulls and musket balls that once picked off
Redcoats down Fort Lee. I’ve thought before that history

slapped New Jersey into something jaded in its
wintry boardwalks and grid plans: they go

city / suburbia / suburbia—but the cuts of it are still
sweet, like saltwater taffies on my lip.

By Yejin Suh

Biography:

Yejin Suh is an aspiring writer from New Jersey who appears or is forthcoming in Half Mystic, Juke Joint Mag, and Prometheus Dreaming, among others.

September 10 By Meimei Xu

September 10

The day our fourth-grade teacher projected peppered film
of static and ash falling indiscriminately,

I wrote a diary entry
and showed it to my mother. Only days later

in passing conversation did she remark
that the tenth, too, was her birthday and I

realized I had once again
left her in the dust.

My mother had been pregnant with me, in Nanjing,
when Manhattan caved into its

sea-level sinkhole heart,
when cinders lined the creases

of yesterday’s birthday cards. This doomed her.
How could she have known then, a new life inside her, another

waiting in America,
that she would wear the billowing gowns

of dust her whole life?
We are told by crinkled, crinoline

pages that former ladies
forgot their souls lived in the soft

concave and convex
of their breathing abdomens —

forgot, laced them still and pretty
and choked on their spirits as they were

squeezed out of throats.
My mother chokes not on thread and stitches

but on a mist of rubble, falling — not all at once
like the flood upon the city,

but slowly, layered over years and years
of caving in.

By Meimei Xu

Biography:

Meimei Xu is a junior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. She is a recipient of a 2018 National Gold Medal for Journalism from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, and her nonfiction and poetry will move onto national judging this year. Her work has also been recognized by the Library of Congress. She currently works as a content writer for the Adroit Journal and has attended the 2018 Kenyon Review Young Writer’s Workshop.

I am not Afraid of this night By Adeyeye James Oluwatobi

I am not Afraid of this night

Though shadows of scary creatures trail on the walls of our thoughts and the sky wears deep darkness,
I am not afraid of the night

Though the stranger’s flute sings pain, distress, sorrow…
My heart is still not pumping heaviness but hope
I am not afraid of the night

Though my mouth eats fake promises & my ears swallow fear & anguish
But i still spit white saliva
I am not afraid of the night

Though tough guys now wane
& mighty heroes are falling like Autumn leaves
But I am not a wind to this storm
I am not afraid of this night,

Though oblivion wears the face of people now, & the streets breathes fear & pain& anguish
I am not Afraid of this night

Because everything comes in monochromes, every night that comes is an evidence that the dawn is near
I am not afraid of this darkness, this war…

By Adeyeye James Oluwatobi

Biography:

Adeyeye James Oluwatobi is an Electrical /Electronics Engineer and a poet. He explores the intersection between human conditions and faith in his works. He was listed among the top 100 poets for the 2019 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize. His works have featured in many anthologies and journals