Our Crooked Teeth By Lydia Flores

Our Crooked Teeth

Freedom molds itself to molars
but we are made gargle & spit.
born an under bite

brackets, brace, retainer
her teeth in the mouth of
disunited states.

Colgate white the enamel
of a cavity being. I am
mouth against dark

take me, mold me in your dentistry
What of my X-ray? I am here today.

Yellow of survival
floss culture through
swish away the plaque
of what we are.

Root canal your secrets. now
smile, show them your teeth

Dissipate stains of our war
let no one know what you ate

By Lydia Flores


Lydia Flores is a writer and photographer from Harlem, New York.
Her work has been featured in Deaf Poets Society, Downtown Brooklyn, Visceral Brooklyn, Crab Fat Magazine, and several others. Find her at inlightofmysoul.com or @_fearlessocity

2017 Pushcart Prize Nominees

The True North strong and free! (1)

We are elated to announce our nominees for the 2017 Pushcart Prize Anthology! Congratulations to all of these phenomenal poets for the work they are doing and the light they are bringing to the world. Their words are good medicine and they helped heal us during this past year. We hope they did the same for you as well. Read the full text of their poems by following the links below.

A Kind of Ritual By Jasmine Cui


Prayer in Taino War Paint By Juniper Cruz

Oil Painting By Nikita Gill 

Alternative Facts By Athena Dixon 


Little Ship By Jay Douglas

Little Ship

On our final voyage
passing Saturn
the human race will pause
its flight, engines on standby, to admire
the celestial rings
one last time

From the vast expanse
of windows in our departing ship
we will see the particulate rings
the many-as-one
and we will think of earth
of armies, nations, riots, mobs,
protests, stadiums full
of cheering crowds,
of plagues, of flocks and herds
of long-extinct livestock
and the many-as-one that is
what is left of us on our exodus

And we will realize we are
as we have always been
a microcosm, an ecosystem, whole
worlds inside us
and at the same time we are the worlds themselves
floating away in our little ship
afraid and brave, destitute and beautiful,
pinballing across the universe
the same as everything else

By Jay Douglas


Jay Douglas is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate dual degree in English and Religious Studies. Jay enjoys cats, not going outside, collecting yo-yos, and being unapologetically queer.

One Poem By Eleanor Gray

to wolftime pastures the winter horses go
like winds between the wheat fields
steering into moonlessness
tender their vows, that yet dance into darkness,
worn with earth’s ware weighing

will they journey those white fields, winged eros?

a body is missing
bending and bending over the wildgrasses
for a voice that is not their own

o, body, this relic cannot be cradled
as it travels through all that once was

within such sorrows, assorted gleams
cocoon of mist, high pasture, bony
and vivid

the hunter passes from notice, the pale mares
claim victory on the lake of cranes

devotion pours from the ignorant mouth
like light over a familiar face

too many animals for the soul to hold on to

and so the heart is beneath night’s final chamber,
thirsty, black clouds stretch the heavens
remembering their old love of the river

– gone from them

exile, in spirit, lightless leaves, pitiless flame
set upon the heart of the darkest waters

a woman’s body bound in ash, bathing
in a lightless horizon:
windweaver shadowwalker thistlewolf rivermask
and the winter horses, like prayers tow their heavy tongues,
escaping into loneliness

into what is, what was, will be

a world where all is patient and ever-waiting,
a world where one drinks air and the heart hatches
summer-blooms and the sea-taste of sincerity

kneel, beloved, all is here still

By Eleanor Gray


Eleanor Gray is, well, the other co-founder of Figroot Press. She currently resides in California with her cat, PS4 and a very beloved collection of books. She graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in English Literature and has been writing and reading religiously for as long as she can remember. It is hard to find an open and vibrant community of other writers; she wishes to attain and commit herself to a little world consisting of other passionate poets, artists, writers and readers. You can find her on Tumblr at: http://smakka–bagms.tumblr.com/

Suicide Wrapped in the Scent of White Florals By Rachael Gay

Suicide Wrapped in the Scent of White Florals

My skeletal hand forever reaches forth.
It holds fast to the railroad spike,
rescued from the tracks
where she threw herself in front of the screaming train
over and
over and
over again.

With a shaking fist raised to the sky,
I bring it down to first face hell
then against the wall,
iron against iron.
Reddened rust turns to bone meal,
fluttering snowflakes you will never again taste
with your outstretched tongue.

Seasons pass behind me,
the once bare walls now etched
with lines of parallel white headstones.
Soon enough my tendons will snap
my bones will break
my blood will congeal
my muscles will atrophy.

Do you hear the hollow rolling across the dusty floor?
The echoing noise cut short by the next ever-grasping hand,
still slippery with tears formed in the wrong ducts.

Let’s pick up where we left off.

By Rachael Gay


Rachael Gay is a poet, and artist living in Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in felan, Eunoia Review, Daily Gramma, and errata Magazine, Literary Orphans and The Bookends Review. More of her work and her favorite pieces can be found at witchinghourpoetry.tumblr.com.

Lunch at Elementary School By Albert Zhang

Lunch at Elementary School

The lunch line, swirling
Full of anxious adolescents
Waiting to feed in a frenzy
Of hotdogs and burgers

Like a rambunctious dragon
Upon discovery of its prey:
A lone rabbit, helpless

Like me, sitting at the end
Of the long, plastic table
My black lunch box on it
Containing baozi and noodles
Wearing a red tee from
the Chinese New Year’s Festival
Trying to hide from my predators.

Light blue trays,
The surplus of ketchup on their hotdogs and burgers,
Neat hair,
Bright polos
Mark them as a different species.

I try to camouflage myself
Inching closer to the group
Pretending that I belong
In order to avoid detection
But the baozi gives me off.

Once I take a bite of it
Its luscious contents and savory flavor
Creamier and less sweet than ketchup
Waft out from the meatball inside
Into the noses of the predators.

All eyes turn to me
Like a tiger stares its prey
Before it pounces
Catching me mid-bite into my second baozi.

Suddenly, I’m
All alone, helpless
About to be devoured.

By Albert Zhang


Albert Zhang is Head Editor for The Westminster Schools Bi-Line, the school newspaper and oversees as Sports Section Editor as well. He is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of Evolutions Magazine, The Westminster Schools’s annual creative writing magazine. Albert attended The Kenyon Review workshop, was a SCAD Silver Scholar, and has been published in Celebrating Art Magazine and exhibited at Atlanta’s High Museum, Capitol Building, and National Fair.

Carnes Crossroads By Britt Canty

Carnes Crossroads

You left before the spring came, without any
warning, just as you said you would.

Breakfast sausage still spitting in the pan,
you wanted to feed us, one last time,
food that would stick to our ribs. For the love of God,

we would be fed. Fortified, we would be ready
to reap our inheritance:

shots of moonshine from your leather-encased flask,
the one engraved with your initials,
twenty dollars—

don’t say, I never did anything for ya.

Mama called you Daddy. We called you Deacon.
You belonged to us, but your language was not ours,
soaked in brine—a gift, you said, from the angels,
the stars, Jesus Christ, and so on.

The town called you D. They thought you were
divine, possessed, chosen—that you could hang,
pretty, on their walls.

Now your face is a cracked plate. No longer
our father, your tires burn
through Carnes Crossroads.

Can you smell the dead fire in our hair?
We carry you on our backs, forever branded
your children. Still, we search this forsaken suburb of garbage
and sunlight, not knowing which way to go. We call out

in the mushrooming dusk—

Can you hear your name on our tongues?
We are hungry.

By Britt Canty


Britt Canty received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her writing has appeared in New Plains Review, Bookanista, Volume 1 Brooklyn, and other places. She’s a co-founder of HIP Lit, and she lives in Queens where she’s at work on a novel. You can connect with her on Twitter @BrittCanty.

Oil Painting By Nikita Gill

Oil Painting

The day before the rape,
I spend an ancient afternoon
in a kitchen clammy with childhood,
A dark hand covering the sky-monsoon.

Mother’s voice hollow hummed
like a half bewitched beckoning
her arthritic fingers turning limes
in coriander with unease, tensing.

This disease is new to her still
a drought settled deep within her bones
corrupting the fiber of her movements
pain drowning her deftness to stone.

Outside the storm assaults the earth
as though at war with a holy land
the dry thirst ends with dust fleeing
water takes over and floods sand

A clatter, a movement, a murmur
of apology to the room instead of me tonight
the chutney will curdle later for the first time
but she does not know that yet; hindsight.

The past is time travel with prejudice,
mother will remember this moment differently,
such is the result of memorising specters.
Even the haunting is diagnosed individually.

Later as fabric still rips violently outside
in a thunderous, powerful composition,
we sit in candlelight, watching the curtains.
Mother calls the lightning dark-lit premonitions

A decade has passed like a stranger
through a decrepit, elapsed town
yet this soft oil painting of a memory lingers
like the last jewel in a fallen sky’s crown.

By Nikita Gill


Nikita Gill has been published in Literary Orphans, Agave Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Dying Dahlia Review and is soon to be published in Eunoia Review. Her poetry anthology Wild Embers has been published by Hatchette Books.

Great Red Spot By Jay Douglas

Great Red Spot

Twenty-two degrees south of Jupiter’s equator
is a storm three times the size of the earth
that has kept up its torrent
for over one hundred and eighty earth years

it swirls on the surface
like an impressionistic painting
longing to flay the skin
from the artist’s bones

Jupiter is not a friendly planet, it has always been
the schoolyard bully, the bar fight, the heavy-muscled
biker, the biggest guy on the block
but who can blame it?

Being born of storms and named
of thunder, would any child have a chance
to not be deadly? To not, furiously
acquire a great red spot and swirl
with atmospheric war cries
a howl across the sky?

I sound like my grandmother – I know – talking
of bad blood, of playground fistfights, of incarcerated

but still, we all come from
an explosion. Some of us just detonate
a little bit faster.

By Jay Douglas


Jay Douglas is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate dual degree in English and Religious Studies. Jay enjoys cats, not going outside, collecting yo-yos, and being unapologetically queer.