a 20% chance of rain By Allya Yourish

a 20% chance of rain

I am a virgin without much explaining
to do, I
let a boy touch me and he touched me more than I wanted,
I let a boy touch
me and he told me what he was going to do to my skin, how I was going
to open my legs for him. How I was going

to like it.
And an act of protest, I put distance
between us, I filed all the official paperwork,
not to get him in trouble, only to get it on the record

if only I would stop talking about it, I would be a good victim,
the kind you tell other girls to be
when their trauma is knocking on the door.
For the record, I am not a good victim

I can’t stop talking about it and I
didn’t let anyone else touch me for a long time
My trauma is so well combined with my sexuality
that I can’t tell the two apart if I
hold them up to the light.

My trauma permeates everything.

It is a rain storm and I am wearing a wool sweater,
I can peel the fabric off of my body but there
will still be a seeping cold wetness
over my skin, my bra
he takes off without asking me. The next boy to touch the clasp is treated to a flinch
I don’t mean to respond this way, this is

just the only way I know how. My mouth has no practice with ‘yes’s. I say no now because
I never was allowed to before.

I keep the glory of my body to myself when I know
I’d rather share it because I’m too frightened of losing the ability
to give it away on my own terms.
I do not want to be touched,

and when I do, I have to remind myself
what I am asking for

which is too complicated to be
desirable, I am aware
that I am too complicated to be desirable.
Nobody wants to be with a stoplight that could better
pass as a disco-ball, every shade of flickering
and never the idea of settling. I cannot
settle, I need to say ‘no’ and have it

respected, I want to say ‘no’ and see if it’ll
be respected.
asking for this feels like asking for too much,
when I remember how to ask at all,
I forget how to move my mouth when there
are hands

on my skin.
This is not passion, this is
stuttering fear. The unarticulated ‘no’
is too soft to hear and too
sharp to ignore, and
My trauma is a rain storm and I am wearing a wool sweater, my trauma is an
ocean and I am papercutted and stinging. My trauma is
heavier on my chest than a metaphor.
I get it confused with drowning. My trauma feels
like drowning, it is a rainstorm and I am
suffocating in a wool sweater, I am coughing up water
I cannot hold it up to the light for examination, my
arms are occupied pretending to keep me
afloat.

Given how little I’ve been touched,
mostly I want
to have never been touched at all.

By Allya Yourish

Allya Yourish has lived in two bookstores in her life and would like to live in at least a dozen more. She is a thesis student at New College of Florida, where she studies Art History and Literature. Her work has appeared in PoetryLife’s College Division anthology, the Rising Phoenix Review, and Poetica Magazine. She lives in Paris, where she spends as much time as possible eating anything floral flavored.

A Chorus of Three By Kari Astillero

A Chorus of Three

Morning sizzles. The windows
look like spring, we remember spring.
Curtains flap with the aroma
of jasmine left to calm the night.
In this layer a woman makes bread,
cracks egg after egg on the pan
to feed people- or herself.
For her, for her and her
whose name and face I wear—

and we sing…

Unearthed hymns,
sprouts of dirtied light;
at age six her bones tremble in fear.
The center is a room like
hospital hallways, walls like
broken plates swimming in colors,
a mosaicked face
of Mother rusted in blood & blue.
She remembers and forgets;
tucked in her bed & pillows
letting her dream & melt the clock,
wake up when the rain stops, we say.

and we sing…

On the surface is history
with skin like crumpled paper.
All night & day on the front porch
rocking her chair; waiting,
humming mossed rocks & tender,
some ancestral tune filmed in her eyes.
Lungs breathe dry coughs soon,
her flesh & bones will
turn into a desert but the soul,
the soul will live—

and we sing…
Amen.
So be it.

By Kari Astillero

Biography:

I am Kari Astillero, a Filipina residing in a city of busy people somewhere in Philippines and a Journalism major. Mesmerized with the universe and a star-stuff who is in love with poetry & nature, I wish to have my own published book of poetry someday.  A non-conformist and mostly alone drinking coffee while reading, writing or thinking (sometimes daydreaming).

 

It’s a Party By Matthew Kosinski

It’s a Party

You don’t have to believe
me when I say two fingers
makes a whole person. I had
wanted for nothing and I found it
wanting.

Come over. It’s a party.
Smoke all of this juice with me.
A priest was solving crimes in the Midwest.
This was in 2015, which is gone
now. An autopsy would be a waste

of taxpayer money. It’s a party.
I have read the literature. Look up
contrails. Grow concerned.
My coat buttons bang against the roof
of the dollhouse.

When a priest is solving crimes
in the Midwest that means
it’s a party. At an undisclosed location
the investigation proceeds
by a more angular logic. As in guitars.

Tell the horsemen to unfuck themselves.
Tell the bones to call a different shape to mind.
Pentagram okay. The ashmaker’s sigil better.
The god burner’s sigil best. Message from Hell’s electorate:
In the future every walnut will candy itself.

Primary season, 2016

By Matthew Kosinski

Biography:

My name’s Matthew Kosinski. I’m a socialist and poet from New Jersey and an MFA candidate at The New School.

 

Clean Up By Carl Wade Thompson

Clean Up

It’s the end of the day,
the classes are done.
Students flee like fire,
professors the last to go.
They pass me with my gear,
Mop bucket, dust mop,
cart full of chemicals,
garbage sacks, white rags,
my tools of the trade.
I’m the invisible man.
They never see me,
look down, turn away,
pretend I don’t exist.
But still I come each day,
to clean up their mess.
Embarrassed, seekers of truth,
look down on me,
the measly laborer.
I don’t know books,
can barely read anyhow.
But I know things, know plenty,
how to wax and strip a floor,
clean toilets till there spotless,
how to remove gum, paint.
I know these things,
do them every day.
It’s not much,
But I’m good just the same.
They don’t see me,
but they know I’m there.
If I didn’t clean up,
college would be closed tomorrow.
So they can pretend I’m not here,
but they need me,
anyhow.

By Carl Wade Thompson

Biography:

Carl Wade Thompson is a poet and graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. His work has appeared in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, Cenizo, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas.

The Vacant Lot By Mark Morgan Jr.

The Vacant Lot

close to home
and ringed by pale crack
ed pavement
is
covered
in
trash.
Mangy brown rats gnaw
on the bodies of their
young,
sharpen their teeth
on a scorched antique chair,

and scurry through refuse—
arcades of
rusted      car          parts
and flat                  tires.

Dingy white birds
build nests
of yellow smeared newspapers
in the                           safety
of            ancient
elm tree
branches,

then
fly
down
to feast
on moldy hot dogs
and pizza
soaked in stagnant puddles.
The birds fly back screeching,
scattering
white
droppings
on the untamed grass that smothers bleached asphalt teeth—

But you know,
there’s something about
the sun-kissed
sparkle
of,
broke
n                 liquor
bot
tles           and           make
shift crack pipes
that makes me want
to sway
with the zealous
undulations
of windswept
overgrowth.

By Mark Morgan Jr.

Biography:

Mark Morgan Jr. writes poetry for An Autumn Road, his poetry blog located at http://anautumnroad.tumblr.com. One of his previous works, “Moving Man”, was featured in the May 2015 issue of The Rising Phoenix Review. A native of Detroit, he is currently living in Saint Clair Shores and celebrating his bachelor’s degree in secondary education.

In which we never occur By Karuna Chandrashekar

In which we never occur

“god is in the details”
-Gustave Flaubert

So a promise made,
to count each blade of grass
till we reach the edge of the field.

But the horizon moves with each step ahead,
the setting sun becomes our allegory
for the ever emerging lover.
Faith is denying,
it is the never emerging other.

Where the sky shifts from dusk to night,
god switches a colour slide.

Where my skin meets yours,
air slips right through
like a tune from a sandalwood flute.

You ask when we can stop counting,

I say,

when I find my sadness,
I will drape prayer flags over its branches,
and leave the rest to the wind.

It’s late,
the sky is disappearing into the moon.
Next to me,
the grass has grown into the shape of a body.

god is a blur.

By Karuna Chandrashekar

Biography:

Karuna Chandrashekar is a psychotherapist practising in New Delhi India. Her work has been featured in A Blackbird Sings, The Sunflower Collective and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review and Anomaly Lit.

ANOTHER GUY IN AMERICA By Carl Boon

ANOTHER GUY IN AMERICA

another guy in America
has ruined a lot of lives
with a gun
and so we put him on TV
and marvel at his plans
and what he wore
and his mother
and the notes he left
and his Facebook profile
and then the President
consoles the citizens
with Shakespeare quotes
and Jesus quotes
and healing platitudes
and delicate phrases
and tears and we
are relieved because
he’ll never do it again
and we rejoice
over barbeques
and fireworks
and remind each other
there’s a new thriller
coming to cinemas soon

By Carl Boon

Biography:

Carl Boon lives and works in Izmir, Turkey. His poems appear in dozens of magazines, most recently Two Thirds North, Jet Fuel Review, Blast Furnace, and Sunset Liminal.