GABRIEL, SHIVERING IN SPACE By Harper Russet

GABRIEL, SHIVERING IN SPACE

there is a theory that what we know as angels
are in fact black holes.

when the bible spoke of them as the wheels
of chariots, what it meant to say was that angels

also know the motion of eternity, the constant rolling
of time, how it bends both forwards and backwards

in a long                        bright                                   line.

if you were to come out of the other end of a black hole,
you would see the history of the universe

scrapbooked right before you. you could pivot
and see the end of the world over your shoulder,

winking like it knows your name.

angels are said to know everything but the end of times.
this means they haven’t come through to the other side

of themselves, looked over a shoulder,
and taken it all in. maybe they are scared, too,

scared at how their own holiness is a hungry prism
in the dead of space, spinning forever, swallowing light.

it is in this way that i know we are the same.

By Harper Russet

Biography:

Harper Russet (she/her or they/them pronouns, interchangeable) is a 24-year-old butch lesbian poet and novelist from Utah. Every poem she writes is an argument with gender, the country, and so many gods. Videos of her work can be found on Write About Now. You can also find Harper on Twitter and Patreon.

There Is Still Something Worth Fighting For By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

There Is Still Something Worth Fighting For

Will you leave, someone asks.
Will you board a plane and never look back?

I wish the answer came easy: like wind
sailing, caution be damned; like departure.

A dozen storms have tried to uproot me and
failing that, Yolanda tried to drown me in her tears.

But I am here bone-dry, refusing
to give up gnarled feet for rainbow wings.

And why should I, when the sea of my foremothers
constantly tug me to them, beseeching me

to keep a memento: a tooth blessed by brine,
bottled-up moonshine, the family kris.

There is a battle, there is a war—
one I cannot idle, one history keeps burying.

By Saquina Karla C. Guiam

Biography:

Saquina Karla C. Guiam is a writer from General Santos City, Philippines. Her work has appeared on Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Djed Press, Outlook Springs, The Maine Review, and others. She is the Roots nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary and the Social Media Manager of Umbel & Panicle, a new literary magazine about all things botanical.

Flashback—turning pointBy S.A. Khanum

Flashback—turning point

To the softness rising out of you,
that plume of grey

ghosting up from the concrete,
the drill,

not hit centre yet.

A chalk outline of a hopscotch,
one foot on no, the other

a younger version of you
dancing in the rain,

stick to every gutter, jamming
every small thing you can find

& then running away.

And first rain, outside, jump
of that frog, how we followed,

tadpoles we found at the back
of the garden, the goldfish

always dying.

Painted you once,
tried to face you, couldn’t.

So down the road she goes,
behind her: a stream of watercolour.

Your face: smeared as children do.
Healed more than a decade ago,

but still feel the film of new skin,
the rust of that nail, count

nine stitches.

The sun did not laugh that year,
hasn’t smiled my way since.

By S.A. Khanum

Biography:

S.A. Khanum is a writer from the UK.

The Cost of Living By M. Stone

The Cost of Living

Annie and I lounge on the couch;
I rub her feet, focusing on the weak arches
as we watch the evening news and don’t talk
about what happened at the plant last Monday,
how one of the machines got hold of a man,
mashed him to pulp and spat him out in pieces.

I don’t tell her how the machine now seems
like a trusted dog that lunged without warning.
All the while, higher-ups keep slashing wages.
Mention a union, and you might as well write
your own pink slip.

Annie and I are down to one beer and we pass it
between us. I roll my tongue around the bottle lip,
tasting Annie’s spit, close as a kiss. After her shower,
I still smell kitchen grease seeping from her pores.

The man on the news has flawless white teeth
that flash when he begins a segment about saving
for retirement. Annie flips the channel,
tolerating a car dealership commercial
to avoid the reminder: she and I will work
till we’re dead.

Once in bed, we’re too tired for more
than a halfhearted fuck. I reach for the condom
before she asks. At the next family potluck supper,
her sisters will pester us, tell us we need to go on
and have a baby. Annie and I will avoid their stares,
feeling guilty for not even trying, for not wanting
to worry about another head sinking underwater.

By M. Stone

Biography:

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com.

Contemporary Origami By Adam Zhou

Contemporary Origami

My reach does not stop
at the wings of a crane.
It stretches out to a field

empty. Boy, listen
to me, I am above the soil
I am flying. Thrown.

There’s something lovely
about how things hide
away. A fold onto itself

and still it cannot portray
creases like knives, no
blood. Easy to trace.

Easy to have my hands
hold one thousand
cranes in the flesh.

Make them dance.
Feel the wrinkled feathers.
Hear the sound of bones

disguise into a cadenza.

By Adam Zhou

Biography:

Adam Zhou is a fifteen-year-old student at International School Manila and has been recognized for his poetry collection and personal essay in the national stage of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. If he’s not writing in his room, you will find him in the bookstore or in a rehearsal studio, jazzing up a tune on his violin. His interests, especially revolving around identity and nature, has inspired him to write creatively about them.

Eden By Anne Lester

Eden 

They say that devils cannot simply enter a human spirit. Possession must be given permission

but Satan did not ask permission when he entered me. When the Bible says the serpent spoke unto the woman,

it does not mention that her name

was Eden.

Call it the world’s first rape. Leaves tremble at the slightest movement, as I trembled upon his touch,

but their shuddering is silent. I had not yet learned to quake loudly enough to wake nations,

nor even to raise a warning voice to Eve. The poison in his words so easily disguised itself as bliss brought on by

anything but ignorance. The drug of temptation that left her

under his spell and victim to his plot. The fatal bite that would cause generation after generation to label her

“The mother of sin.”

They forget that the fruit came from the tree that burst forth from my chest. The knowledge

of good and evil that I could not contain under my surface. A burden too great to shoulder alone. Did Eve know

when he approached her? Did she tremble as his fingers brushed hers when he handed her the fruit,

the way I shook when he plucked that fruit from the centerpiece of my paradise? Could she feel

the weight of perfection? If we didn’t support each other, who else would?

Eve is the mother of all living, saints and sinners alike. And Eden is delight, both good and evil.

One bite, and Satan believed himself a conqueror. But we bite back. You see,

when he handed Eve the fruit, he handed me an ally, he handed her the key to

doors behind which laid every book on war-winning strategies. Eve went on to be the mother of women who are still hungry,

who will not keep their mouths shut, who demand the knowledge earned by their foremother. And while I may

have been left, I was not desolate. The seeds of all my forbidden fruits still thrive. They nourish the daughters of Eve,

allowing them to ask their questions, to voice their pride, to continue to study the battle

strategies their mother memorized. Eve and I made a pact, the day Satan penetrated the garden walls, that although

he may have deceived a woman, history would always call it

The Fall of Man.

By Anne Lester

Biography:

Anne has been writing and performing poetry for two years. Her poems explore the ways she has seen mental illness, prejudice, and religion affect herself and those around her.

LESSONS ON INERTIA By Chia Amisola

LESSONS ON INERTIA

Constantine, I dream of you pinpricked –
faint at the intersection. Unscarred loss at
what name to take again. Some rummage,

feel the bust and iron; how temporary must
we all be. They say the flicker matches the
count of the dead, so we took to bearing home

their carcasses. We surprise ourselves half-odd,
whispers of rosebud in conception of what
we may call for ourselves. Sunday, I am adorned

with the sound of church bells three blocks
away. They say their prayers: one unspoken
for the man found, knuckles locked, finger spun

in a rubber band holding his week’s earnings.
Like copper and gore, they say the wad of cash
was signatory impermanence; another was said

half-hearted, for two girls burned of fabric, sticky
muck, ninety-nine peso lipstick mugged on the
car window. First, their names – deprived of sound,

dancing on mockery, widows of steam pacing
and wax gorging at the mirage of white-tent street
parades. Second, how impossible it was to realize

a love is a love, pursing their names onto their
names. If only death could be a beautiful thing,
half-tank, curled fingers and all its picturesque

dainty pixie-fight – idyllic again, white-washed
of the hair they stoned. Another nod goes unfussed:
towards a man with mystic brew down his spines,

the taste of it ebbing in trite taglines. Here, he
becomes corrugated, plastered black ink on his
head split, life taken for lotto ticket dimes. We

offer solemnity to nothingness, a means for divinity
to fool the alive; our fates are self-fulfilling, with
cocked guns we say that it could be any one of us.

We do not close down gutters in the dead of the night,
8PM alms towards nowhere – nor is our name but
porcelain forgiveness, cheap flower and political

By Chia Amisola

Biography:

Chia Amisola is seventeen year-old senior, a lover of language be it in the form of poetry or code, hailing from the scorch of Metro Manila.