De/composition By Jay Douglas


I. De(composition)

You are six years old and your great uncle takes you
to a place in the woods past the hanging         grape vines,
past the waterfall that thunders          in your dreams
(like a car crash, like a loose foundation in an earthquake,
like your father’s voice)
past the place where the foxes den (in the spring)
and the bucks scrape the trees with their antlers (in fall)

to a patch of mushrooms sprouting from a rotted log.
Big, beautiful mushrooms.
And the world is still              there
and the birds in the towering
red oak trees are silent
and he tells you it’s a secret, its

a Mystery
and people ask you for years
where it is,                   the secret patch
and you don’t tell them, because he made you promise.

And your third-grade teacher
the tall, handsome one
with the gentle smile
tells you solemnly one morning that
three men can keep a secret
as long as two of them are dead

and now you’re twenty-four
and your uncle is dead
and buried
and you imagine his grave covered
in delicious fungi
and his secret is safe (because you can’t remember
where it is or) if
it ever really was.

II. (De)Composition

This is the shape in my hands
your lover says
as she bullies clay into the shape of a curving pot
delicately, passionately, (almost) violently, fingers
dancing like a spider over web. Stained grey
up to her elbows,         splattered,
a crease of focus on her brow
and you watch

this spinning (almost-made) pot
staring at the place where it emerges/is emergent
from her hands
the way
you used to think
Adam came from God’s
or the earth from Ymir’s bones
or you
from your mother, (screaming, half-               formed)

the aches in your bones
and the kink in your spine
a slip of the finger

it adds character she says
the little imperfections
so you know they were crafted          by hand.

By Jay Douglas


Jay Douglas is an undergraduate senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania pursuing degrees in Religious Studies and English. When not frantically scribbling poetry, Jay can be found honing Jay’s mad yo-yo and kendama skills, reading queer theory, or listening to music far too loud (or, occasionally, attempting to do all three at once). Jay’s work is previously published in Words Dance.

An Interview With An Anxious Poet By Aislinn Rose

An Interview With An Anxious Poet

What will they find when they cut you open?

Perhaps bird bones. Perhaps feathers and baby teeth.
Perhaps the thing that thrums beneath my skin.
Maybe no more than meat
to bloody their hands in.

How does it feel to have the terror take over?

Okay, it’s like this: Imagine that you are covered in bees.
Now imagine that you can’t move. Now, that someone is calling your name
through six feet of water.

Imagine that you are watching a stranger move
in the bathroom mirror, and you are wondering how
to get inside her bloodstream, and you are less girl

than you are a mouthful of gravel, loose threads,
scissors with the safety off, and you keep arranging yourself into a gun
that backfires at random.

Imagine that your hands are just an idea
of shaking that you don’t feel-
a remote jackhammer tremble, a 2.5 magnitude stutter.

Imagine that, aside from the terror,
the terrible part is that this
is the most real you have ever felt.

What does it mean to live inside your body?

It means that most days, I am still convincing my skin that it belongs to me.
Most days, when I am trying not to slip into the spaces between my own ribs,

I seem no more than my hornet head
and humming veins, but please-

see my face crowned in stars, please,
see my body wreathed in light.
Let me be more than my shaking hands.

How do you quiet the buzzing?

By repeating these words in the dark:

I am less girl than ink-stained bird bones,
but the wind cannot kill me

By Aislinn Rose


Aislinn is a twenty year old writer from the little city of Adelaide, Australia. She is studying Journalism at the University of Adelaide and works for a local non-profit community radio station. She writes and performs poetry in her free time and has been published by the university literary magazine. When she’s not studying, working, or writing, Aislinn can usually be found reading a book in some hidden-away nook of the library.

A Woman Fallen, a Woman Gotten Back Up By Elijah Noble El

A Woman Fallen, a Woman Gotten Back Up

A kiss of the fist, then forgiveness,
a fine pain.
Her name is always written on them,
a warning for her,
a reminder for him, more so than a bad day,
less so than whiskey.

Tied up in the bed because he’s in the mood for it,
a natural pain,
a trained pleasure. What does it mean when
the caress of a hand burns, when it feels like

He tells her he’s sorry. He says he loves her.
A repetitive pain.
His words speak into one ear. Her wounds speak into another.
She counts her cuts, her marks. One day she must choose a door.
He drowns himself in drink, sends her out for more.
She meets a kind stranger at the market. She finds safety in
anonymity. She’s told to arm herself. She’s told to never go for it

It’s afternoon and she makes dinner, contemplates blade to skin,

a familiar pain.
She thinks about other lives, other moons. He stumbles in from work
or the bar. She closes her eyes, contemplates blade to skin.
He stumbles
into the kitchen, stumbles over to press a mouth of gin to her neck.
She’s familiar with the burn. She’s familiar with the going down.
She grips the handle of the knife. She contemplates making dinner
or slitting his throat.
If not tonight, then someday.
One day she must choose a door.

By Elijah Noble El


Elijah Noble El is a 21 year old actor and writer from Livonia, Michigan. The author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a debut full length poetry book. He is the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine aimed at empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. In 2013 his short story, “Oblivion,” received the Award of Excellence in Literature from the Michigan PTSA Reflections. He co-wrote the play Off with Her Head (2013) which won the 2014 Lansing State Journal Thespie Awards “Special Award.” He also wrote the short film, Dog-Faced Honey (2016), which was nominated for Best Writing from the Top Indie Film Awards. His work has been featured in Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, The Odyssey, Eastern Michigan University’s Inkstains Anthology, and in Stevenson Spectrum.




My body is beautiful in that way
things are when they’re trying                                  to eat you alive.            And.

I need to live in something that isn’t
a burning house of a human being.

I keep the universe’s
birth pangs
inside of me like a painful memory
inside of me like a hungry star

And what is hunger but the chance to survive something you didn’t know you could.
What is hunger but waiting for the chance to explode.

Inside my body is a dead space
A hunk of space metal and space rattling.
That tink as something comes loose
bouncing off the rest of my solar system insides

You can hear the deep space howling
between two stars
lovers that reach across the light years only to die before their light reaches
each other
I’m going to die before I reach you.                        And.
I wish you could hear me howling
I wish you could hear me howling

By Cait potter


Cait Potter is a queer, mentally ill artist and writer.  The majority of their work gravitates around the messiness of mental illness and the workings of trauma.

Childhood Factories By Matt Dennison

Childhood Factories


The first was making
bibles: sweating and
cursing and
and making
of big, thick,
Catholic Bibles
and if one had even
the slightest defect
we had to throw it away.
At the end of the day
heaven’s dumpster
was always full.

An old-timer walked by,
picked one up and said,
to no one in particular:
I never seen nothing so pretty
before placing it gently
back in the trash.

Next we printed Brautigan’s
Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork.
A young female worker
picked one up, read aloud:
Fuck me like fried potatoes
On the most beautifully hungry
Morning of my God-damn life.
announced to everyone: What trash…
and tossed it aside.


Then I made brake shoes,
shoveled and breathed
asbestos formaldehyde powder
into three mud-pie bins,
pushed a button to crush them,
waited, lifted
them out
and placed them on a cart
eight feet wide
that I loaded five feet high,
pulled to the hot-press station
and unloaded one by one.

It was WWII
it was
the Stone Age
there were no women.


Then bottle caps.
Millions and millions
of bottle caps
pouring into
to lift and switch,
lift and switch
at the end of the line
but there was a woman,
a lovely black-haired woman
who told me on break that
it must be nice to be a writer,
though I really wasn’t,
to rise above it all
and not really
be here.

And she gave me her number
and she was married
and I was

and something finally happened.

By Matt Dennison

Previously published by Chiron Review


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s
work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon
River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made videos
with poetry videographers Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.

EMPTY BOXES By Leigh Fisher


Save the date. Mark it on a calendar
and write it in a bold color so that it stands out.
Forgetting would be a disservice,
but with it written on the wall, it’s harder to forget.

Save the date. Open up an app,
put the information where it belongs.
Set an alarm to make sure there’s an alert
Just in the nick of time
but see that the AM and PM are in the right places.
Switching things around only wreaks havoc
either twelve hours before, when all is silent
or after, when it’s all much too late

Save the date. Remember this time you spent together,
for such time is ephemeral
There’s such distance in online profiles
Speaking short excerpts of speech
To no one in particular

Save the date. Try to salvage the time with this person;
it feels futile, but there’s still a chance
A faint probability that you’ll walk beside them again
Laugh and confide, staying close as a bee to a flower

Save the date, before you’re replaced
By other plans ravenously consuming hours of the day
Or other people cutting in front of you
Grabbing their hand and dancing away
While you stand there alone with a planner
And a pen that just ran out of ink

By Leigh Fisher


Leigh Fisher is from New Jersey and works as a help desk technician by day, but she is a writer around the clock. She is tackling graduate school applications, eager to study literature. She has been published or is forthcoming in Five 2 One Magazine, The Missing Slate, Referential Magazine, Seascape Literary Journal, and Stockpot.

We Read Gertrude Stein in July By Ramna Safeer

We Read Gertrude Stein in July

Press my tender buttons.
Crumble my dirt in your palms.
Taste my hollow and echoing.
Come morning and the trees will have
bent at the waist to bow to us.
The Minnesota sky will have grown
satiny and soft as it watches us melt
into each other in these corn fields.
Our beers will have spilled into the earth
and the clouds will have averted their eyes,
shy at seeing too much of me.
The windowsills of our street
will all hold peonies as if to say
we see you in your holiness,
you are so young, we are praying
that you stay that way.

By Ramna Safeer


Ramna Safeer is a pre-Law English Lit student. She is a writer, blogger, researcher, activist and perpetual coffee-spiller. Her poetry has been previously published in The ASUS Undergraduate Review, Atwood Mag and Words-on-Pages Magazine. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, New Canadian Media and The Queen’s Journal, where she works as the Editorials Editor. She is the founder and blogger at, an online space that maps her journey to recapture her Pakistani, Muslim heritage.

Dear Cutting By Odelia Fried

Dear Cutting

In my dreams, you’re bright balloons. No, you’re a ring of thorns,
Forming a halo–no, choking me. Choking me.
I dream you release the tightness in my chest–
No, no, you’re the tightness in my chest, the boa constrictor
Winding around my ribs, in my dreams you are nothing
But skinned knees, bruised knuckles, but I know,
I know you are worse, you are red-pink-white scars
Littering my thighs, arms now. I dream you are toxins
Dripping out of my arms in comically red droplets, perfect
Little droplets framing bluish veins and goosebumps.
Unzipping my veins, letting the seams unfurl into redness,
Deep, rich reds unfolding so messily onto my arms,
Spilling, so lovely, onto my stitched-up arms, I love you, I love you,
You’re beautiful—no, no no no no no no no no no no no
You’re ugly. You’re ugly and scarring and sad and pathetic
And I hate you. I hate you so much it blurs the line with love.
In my dreams, I love you. When I wake up, I want to love you.
I want to love you so much I almost do.
Love doesn’t conquer everything, but it
Lets me conquer you.

By Odelia Fried


Odelia Fried is a student, poet, and actor based in NYC. Her work can be found in The Fem, Cleaver Magazine, Melancholy Hyperbole as well as other literary magazines. Her passions include gender identity, Judaism, adolescence, and the intersections of the three.

OUT OF WATER By Jasmine Cui


A man is not a fish, but we fled
in a boat better suited for fishing.

Its hull reeked of salt
rot and desperation. There,

I learned to mistake nausea
for excitement. My mother is not

a fish, but the immigration officer
looks at her as if she were a trout—

weak and oafish. His lips are a study
in slow motion, words crawling

forth like an infant. He is trying
to speak fish. My father is not a fish,

but his father was a carpenter. I watch
him slit soapstone and the skin on his neck

as he learns to breathe foreign
air through the gaps in his throat.

I am not a fish, but on land I forget
how to breathe when I see police officers.

They wear rain slickers during the wet season
and look like fishermen. A man is not a fish,

but the harbor is our mecca
where fishmongers sell skate and salmon

for pennies and white men expose
their greedy bellies asking for more.

By Jasmine Cui

Previously published by The Shallow Ends


Jasmine Cui is 17 and is majoring in Political Sciences, Economics and Violin Performance at SUNY Geneseo. She aspires to be like her parents who are first generation Americans and fought an extraordinary battle for their place in this country.

Bloody (Isaiah 4:4) By Amy Lauren

Bloody (Isaiah 4:4)

The Good Book says you hate mockers
and speak for those
without a voice.
In that case, I expect a lot from Heaven.
Not to set it up as perfect, or anything,
but you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Breathe your hot judgment
on the neck of America.
Scrub the sheets of
all white pride
all slurs hurled at children
every word of mockery.

Did you ever ask yourself if you could do it?
Come down here at all, I mean,
cast off the robe of clouds
and rush out of a bleeding woman
into this world and the stench
of its mangers.

But then, they bloodied you.
And I guess that’s what
this whole thing is about.
If God could abide this earth,
bruised and bent,
so can I.

By Amy Lauren


Amy Lauren is a graduate student in Mississippi. Among other publications, her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Wherewithal Lit, Lavender Review, and Sinister Wisdom.