RENOVAMEN By zuyi zhao

RENOVAMEN

I am drenched in a far-fetched dreary,
of eleven thousand forget-me-nots:
the blue, the upturned bodies,
the ash of shadow to be thumbed away
by the hands of calcified children,
who have slept for so long. . .

& long ago, when they dreamt
of mothers’ dried dates,
mama / magma Medusa poured milk
for their morning mouths,
poured milk / poured unguent,
thickly. . .

She, waking Vesuvius, told him
to find the freedom she was giving;
she turned him from the silvers of children’s teeth
and to the sky— his hands to unpress a pressed fire,
to abyss the unabyssable—
& Medusa, tonguing snakes & tasting for love,
guided his fingers to loosen like a prayer book
for Neptune. . .

& the lover, the lava let out her red viscera
to devour unto the blue, to earth
unto the sea—
& the children slept soundly, their blankets cold
calcium, & awaited their two-thousand year rebirths—
now i observe them in wombs-phenomena,
not mothers’ nor ashes’ but museum glasses’,
where they are arguably
lithopedionic.

By zuyi zhao

Biography:

zuyi zhao is a 17 year old who lives in south florida, where she occasionally complains about the humidity. she has a tendency to wax poetic and often looks to mythology for inspiration. when she isn’t writing poetry, she can be found doing calculus problems. her work has been recognized by the scholastic art and writing awards, and appears in firefly.

Body By Shirin Choudhary

Body

There are new craters on my face:
My topography is changing.
I can trace new lines on my inner thighs
That I couldn’t a few months ago.
I try to tell myself
This is merely a part of growing up
And growing into the body of a woman.

Growing into the body of woman,
And
Woman growing into a body.

My geography is changing
And I am still looking for new codes
To understand how to map this

Body.

This landscape
Doesn’t play by old rules anymore.

Growing into the body of woman,
Yet
Growing out of it.

I have found a new Key to the map;
I know where to go now.

Growing into the body.
Not of woman anymore.

By Shirin Choudhary

Biography:

Shirin is a young poet from New Delhi, India. She has recently begun thinking about her gender identity and expression through her poems. She is involved in the queer movement in her city, in the capacities of an artist, activist and a student.

#NextFakeTrumpVictim By Kelsey Krempasky

#NextFakeTrumpVictim

Donald Trump speaks and twitter
yells out:
business God accused of taking communion
from woman
as though woman is only Holy with legs
spread and spilling his name
as though it is confession.

see,
a woman speaks against him
and suddenly name becomes
warning
becomes caution
becomes just another story
used to teach little girls to keep the bad things
to themselves.

the media ties mouths with threats laced
as compliments and wonders why Hillary
Clinton doesn’t smile.

woman asks for God
and Donald Trump answers.

By Kelsey Krempasky

Biography:

Kelsey Krempasky is a Canadian writer currently attending the University of Manitoba. She has previously been featured in the Rising Phoenix Review and has work to be published in the next issue of the Venus Mag. She is also a staff writer for Project Consent. Other works of hers can be found on her blog: http://skippingstonehearts.tumblr.com

A BELONGING By Juanita Rey

A BELONGING

Its windy outside
just the way the rattling trash cans like it.
Curtains shake.
Window rattles.
A pen rolls off the table,
onto the floor.
The noise startles me.
But it’s not about fear.
Just the dubious nature of my life here.

Mice scamper through the walls.
Spiders crisscross the ceiling.
Shadows steal half the floor,
then my leg up to the knee.
A friend I have not seen in years
appears to me in this kitchen
of all places.
It’s amazing how creative
light and dust can get
when they have my memories
as a model.
But, of course, it will be totally dark soon.
She cannot stay.

I’m reading a book in English.
I feel proud of that for some reason.
But it makes me a little less Dominican
and no more American than I was before.

Then my neighbor from the apartment below
knocks on my door.
She says she thought
she heard somebody home.
That’s not altogether encouraging
but it’s a start.

By Juanita Rey

Juanita Rey: I am a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. I have worked many jobs while studying to improve my English. I have been writing for a number of years but only recently have begun to take it seriously. My work has been accepted by Pennsylvania English, Harbinger Asylum, Yellow Chair Review and Madcap Poets.

When? By Devon Balwit

When?

You can punch my arm, he tells me, I like
the contact.  The server doesn’t like it. She’s
been pinched on the ass by him once already,
once tonight, that is.  He’s a regular, a neighbor
of fifty years who’s watched the warehouse this
bar now inhabits get gentrified. I used to chase
my cousins all over here, he says.  That’s my park
out front.  Now he can afford just a single beer,
which I watch him try to finesse in various ways,
none of which work.  He asks me if the husks
in the candle glass are edible, thinking of baskets
of peanuts.  In this pub, a wedge of iceberg lettuce
with a squirt of mayo costs $7, no free peanuts here.
Above us, OKC and the GSW battle for possession.
Below, there’s a different struggle, who gets to say
this is my neighborhood, my neighborhood bar,
I belong.  I’m engaged in yet another, to hang
in a brewery, drink a pint, speak the lingo, to
sit next to a man of a different race as if race in
America didn’t matter, to punch him on the arm
and talk game as if it we shared common ground.
And don’t we?  I listen to his mellifluous voice,
his colorful idiom, and think how, a Jew, my
voice among gentiles is just as musical, as loose.
There, I’m the one who stands out.  You’d think,
in the twenty-first century, post Civil Rights, post
Holocaust, none of this would matter.  Seems,
instead, we’re setting up ever more palisades of
tribe and orientation.  When can we share a punch
on the arm, a game, a meal, a space, unconsciously,
as siblings do, knowing our differences, but knowing,
too, that we belong to the same crazy family?

By Devon Balwit

Biography:

Devon Balwit is a poet, parent, and educator from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has found many homes, among them: 13 Myna Birds, drylandlit, Dying Dahlia Review, Emerge Literary Journal, MAW, Rat’s Ass Review, Rattle, The Basil O’Flaherty, The Fem, The NewVerse News, Vanilla Sex Magazine, and Wicked Banshee Press.

un/fold By j. p. berame

un/fold

let me help you
fold your sadness
into a fancy paper crane
write your past wishes there
assist its flight
give it to the wind

let me help you
fold your heartache
into a rosy paper plane
fold it out of the pinkest paper
assist its flight
offered to the hurricane

if you ever wish
to halt their ascent
let me help you still
my darling friend

as we unfold all the paper
you have ever pressed
into the origami
of your exhaustion
allow me to remind you of a vision:

you, standing in a garden
blinded by the heavy cloak
grasping, feeling your way
trying to find an open door
turn around and unshield
your eyes, look at the facade
of a kingdom standing before you

as we unravel
each fancy crane
each pink airplane
feel the creases
of these sheets of folded pulp
look at the softness left
after the storm has passed

for now, let us replace
your proud paper crowns
with a halo of flowers
some unabashed stargazers
looking up at the heavens

a king awaits
dearest daughter.

By j. p. berame

j. p. berame is a 20-something poet/photographer/producer based in Manila, Philippines. Visit her at existential-celestial.tumblr.com.

Holes By Hannah Cohen

Holes

It’s once a year once again.
The lukewarm walls
cough, eyes beyond
the beige door.
The office lady asks
my name, birthdate.
She ignores
the fear growing
down the hall—I,

a fresh twenty-four, white-
knuckled.
Cells divide,
divide until I can’t feel
anymore. Half-moons rise
in my palms.
Peel off my sweater,
underwear, keep
socks on. I hear rain

when he opens me.
Cold hands like seconds
to the hour.
It’s been black, white, no
and yes, breathe.
My paper gown an orchestra,
a crescendo of No sex,
no sex.

Outside, the parking lot
flowers bend under
the weight of all
my holes.
And I’m still waiting
for the part when he says
I’m unfuckable,
but it never comes.

By Hannah Cohen

Hannah Cohen lives in Virginia and is a MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. She’s also Poetry Editor of Firefly Magazine. Recent publications and forthcoming work include Public Pool, The Shallow Ends, Vagabond City, Unlost Journal, Severine, and others.