Origami In Lieu of Klonopin
I crease my paranoia into dying stars
people write their wishes on paper
I can’t leave them that way
they’ll just become lines on my face
in all of this folding my cursed town
swims to the front of my mind
its rows of artillery its collapsing roofs
a gentle burning: all celestial horrors
I seal these memories away in each pentagram
because the past only reminds me of
the many places I can never revisit
how the roads broke when threatened with exits
how my body is a thing to be modified
the way monarch butterflies
cover a deer carcass at the roadside
scarlet wing points ablaze.
By Rita Mookerjee
Rita Mookerjee’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in Hollow, Lavender Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Spider Mirror Journal, and others. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University specializing in contemporary Caribbean literature.
Not All Broken Homes are Loud
My mother moves around the kitchen, anger
pulsing under her skin like a fever dream, and
I want to reach out to her, but the room is so
full of the ghosts of all we’ve done to each other.
Our good intentions can’t be communicated
in the same language, so I retreat, let the
ghosts rush in to fill the space I’ve left
My father cries in his car late at night,
head hung heavy with could-have-beens.
I watch the tears trace the tracks in his
face, worn down by years of expectations and
I want to tell him I made his favorite
dinner, but I know that one daughter’s
love is not enough to fix all that has
cracked. I leave a plate in the microwave
My brother punches holes in the wall, throws
his weight against closed doors until
they escape their hinges. I want to tell him
that none of the doors are locked, that there
is still time for him to be everything he wants
to be. But I know this is all part of the process.
He will learn eventually and I will be waiting for
I scream into pillows, throw all my books off
the shelves. I fall asleep to the gentle rise and
fall of my own aliveness. I don’t know what I’m
looking for, but I know that I will have to find it
on my own.
By Ailey O’Toole
Ailey O’Toole is a 22-year-old bartender and writer who writes about feminism, empathy, and pain. Her work has previously appeared in After the Pause, The Broke Bohemian, The Odyssey, and is forthcoming from the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. She hopes everyone who reads her poems feels a little less alone in their struggle. You can follow her adventures at @ms_ocoole.
red palms praying
So, we’re here on the shoreline of something great
& you said holiness was the same as forgetting, so
I tried them both.
Don’t believe me, but I’ve got the scars
on my back & stains on my teeth
to prove it.
Magic tricks are happening everywhere I look
and one of them says you’re not dead when I
show them your corpse, so I pay twelve pennies
and take it.
The shopkeeper is a liar but that’s not the point.
The pennies aren’t pennies & the copper rusts the
top of my mouth but that’s not the part that matters.
Your fingertips are blue & I wish they were red
like your teeth / red like your mouth / red like the
shopkeeper when he tells me there’s something
The shoreline isn’t holy, but I want to
tell you I touched something godlike,
and forgetting didn’t do the trick.
The point is something great turned into something
dead & I don’t know how to turn it back. The point
is red shouldn’t equate holiness, but it still does.
By Mary Sims
Mary is an 18-year-old aspiring poet and writer who has recently been published in Kingdoms of the Wild, Moonchild Magazine, Mooky Chick, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She is currently working towards earning her degree in English, and spends her days dreaming of writing beloved poetry and living in the mountains with her friends and family close by.
The first time I climbed this hill, I was following
my search dog up a rutted dirt road –
buckbrush blossoming fragrant on either side,
a whistle – unseen bird?
Above us was hydraulic bluff
where long-ago miners blasted the face
of the hill away in search of gold. Itinerants
from many lands, part of our town’s history.
Where did they come from? where did they go?
My dog and I were searching for an old lady
wandered from her home; we only found
a goat escaped, gone wild. He stared down on us
from the top of that golden bluff.
The next time we climbed the hill, my dog
and I found homeless camped among the brush.
What’s the prescription, the remedy
for that? I heard a whistle –
lament for a small brick house left behind?
We kept moving, not wanting to interrupt.
I had no answer.
I’d like to climb the hill again,
but it’s a gated community. Where
did everyone go?
By Taylor Graham
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). The places she searches and trains her dogs are often where the homeless camp or were recently evicted. Her poems are included in Homeless Issues (newsletter of the local Job’s Shelter of the Sierra) as well as the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest books are What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013) and Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).
we are young we are young we are young we are
still catching breath under fly-strung streetlamp.
the screen, it blares. this generation documented
like the edge of extinction. we salivate, we sing
to this nightless tune. what it means to be human,
that’s what you say on those ape knees. what it means
somewhere alternate: this hole this hole this hole this
worm-wriggled tunnel in damp earth. lace-wing. helix.
colors in another language. like red, when the man-king finds
we are all missing hands & feet. arms & legs. limb-
less & somehow still praying. in another world the space
between hip bones would be horizon. in this world
we have swallowed the yellow sky. this is nothing new.
this is choking on wires to the tune of forgiveness. we leak
& in the sour murk find mayflies. in the swarm
there is nothing to uncover, but the things we think will end
never do. summer days & exactly 93 shells on the lake.
for all of our brass words, this war still finds us
By Anna Wang
Anna Wang is a high school sophomore from Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been recognized by the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and her poetry appears in Eunoia Review.
A car coughs,
its lingering trail
oily, pungent, bitter.
boiled and bloated.
Mechanics hound me,
wild with sirens,
a grisly symphony.
peek from behind
a veil of branches.
Cicadas chorus with sparrows,
gnats chatter above ants,
floating from green blades.
twisted by wind,
air of persimmons.
like shattered porcelain,
by cut grass,
By Haemaru Chung
A writer, violinist, photographer and athlete, Haemaru is currently a junior at a high school in New York City. His stories and poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Gannon University National High School Poetry Contest, Rider University Annual High School Writing Contest, Jack London Foundation Fiction Writing Contest, William Faulkner Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, among others. Other works have been published in many literary magazines, including The Round, Louisville Review, The Interlochen Review and The Apprentice Writer .
I train my feet to walk the rain home
and back into my skin.
the road spreads on my knees organized,
as fractions touching the nail
on God’s fingers.
His voice is the music
building goosebumps from my head
to the tail of the grip
of the ground on father’s
face. i wear the skin
of language: the
delicate flag that fans a dance of flame
into a cubicle of memories. the dead song
on my lips
is an album dedicated to the
lovers that narrow a gutter out
of a boy, the warmth of a stillwater.
the first ilẹ̀kùn
i open is a whale of loneliness.
i become, the faster it takes to lose my breath
to the market of wind.
By Wálé Àyìnlá
Wálé Àyìnlá is a 20-year-old Nigerian writer and poet who writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta. His works appear or are forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Prachya Review, Dwarts, Expound, and others. His poem, Little Boys are Large Exit Doors was a finalist in the Kreative Diadem Poetry Prize, 2017. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter.