(self-) i wait for the third wish By Anna Wang

(self-) i wait for the third wish

oh genie / he said / grant me all of the stolen / things i have lost. and the wisp
of blue / the smoke / of dignity. last week a girl / swayed like willow
leaves in the wind / the dry rain / the rustle of drought. / my mouth is still
parched / he opens / the desert unfurls and needles to / touch and / the next
day he wanted / another tongue. give me a reason. one // this flesh will only
taste sour flesh / only the bruised days and their yolks two // i want to touch /
i am thirst for it i am / the next day a wish that sounds like command but
is not // i need / a crime / i am / the better option //        / i say you want
infidelity / i send him / man / monkey / a cloth
for absolving this lamp / its warbled reflection

By Anna Wang

Biography:

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.

Coping Mechanisms By Ailey O’Toole

Coping Mechanisms

After “letter from my heart to my brain” by Rachel McKibbens

It’s okay to build a home
for yourself inside your
head, even if all the furniture
is glued to the ceiling. It’s
okay to lighthouse your
tongue in the mouths of
strangers on the bus if
that’s what you need to do.

It’s okay to sing the opera
of your hollow, all knifepoint
and smoke inhalation. It’s
okay to imagine your heart
as heavy as lead, as a phantom
limb, as a somber thud.

It’s okay to want something
after trying to give everything
away. It’s okay to slice the
pie into uneven pieces and
serve it at the party. It’s okay
to do what it takes to be
present while leaving. It’s
okay to feel dead despite
your pulse.

It’s okay to shriek
to sprint to crush
to splinter to pull
to tremble to break
and break and break
and break and
break and
break.

It’s okay to not want
anything. It’s okay to despise
your mother for these
genes. It’s okay to wish
you were just yourself,
and not somebody’s someone.

By Ailey O’Toole

Biography:

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.

Yacht By Haemaru Chung

Yacht

I slide over silver,
enter the eye of the color wheel.
Silent laborers plow sands
under weighted shells,
white, ephemeral ribbons.
I rest against coarse walls,
observe the silent chaos
as colors blink away.

A boat rumbles above.
Its underbelly interrupts
the light’s rhythm,
energizes debris,
an ugly constellation.

Plastic wrings the fish,
a deadly headdress.
Shells peel and rip,
exposing tender skin.
Oil seeps in lungs and veins,
thickens vibrant eyes
to foggy glass.
Red coral bleaches pink,
then white, then ash.

By Haemaru Chung

Biography:

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 .

ATOM SMASHER By Richard L. Gegick

ATOM SMASHER

One morning we woke and our favorite false idol,
that giant bulb shaped electrostatic nuclear generator
was toppled and laying helpless on the ground.
The developer who owned the land claimed hazard,
that the neighborhood kids were climbing it, tagging it,
the junkies were leaving their dirty needles scattered,
all the rats were migrating to the bar across the street,
but it looked like God reached down and flicked it over.
Maybe that’s how it happened and maybe God exists,
angry at our worship of the atom smasher on the hill,
for the reverence we showed our manmade smokestacks
obscuring the noon sun with fire and soot,
for the bald pride we felt for our industrial might,
and the swing-shift juicers using his name in vain
as they cracked eggs into their morning beers.

By Richard L. Gegick

Biography:

Richard L. Gegick is from Trafford, PA. His poems and stories have appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, Burrow Press Review, Gulf Stream, Uppagus, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He lives in Pittsburgh where he writes and waits tables for a living.

in this one – the light erupts By Mary Sims

in this one – the light erupts

& so I say: alright,
maybe we are the kids time
did not want. Our parent’s grief
tied into tight little bundles &
starving for light.

Maybe, we are the ones who placed
the hunger there. Tell me it means
something other than inevitable &
that when I wake

I will not find my ancestors
shadows frowning from my

closet. Tell me anything
other than the truth &
maybe I’ll love you for it.

You’ve heard this story before–
know grief like the back of your
hand, so

prove it.

Watch the shadows in the closet
long enough to realize you are one
& that these slow hands will not
save you.

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. Find Mary on Twitter @rhymesofblue

Apologia By Mary Alice MacDonald

Apologia

For holding some of those nights
closer than anything, closer than things I cherish.
For the bottle of Heaven Hill smashed

to a foot of rock salt outside the stony apartment.
For the singing of your broken teeth in the sink.
For the anger that sleepwalks through the house

and smashes a plate on the kitchen wall
next to the stove light and your cowering head.
For the size 13 bootprints on your ribcage,

the crushed blackberry we both wore under our skin.
For not wanting to dance with you like her.
For the Christmas-time abortion, and the preachers

and their wrinkled spitting mouths, and all the snow
and the three-hundred sixty-four dollars
cash you carried home in the dark in your swollen fist.

It’s just that the crotch, the blood, the animal
incisors in me know what it takes to survive.

For that fatal jugular love I let from myself
night after night as if I didn’t need any.
For your hands, the places I can still feel them.

By Mary Alice MacDonald

Biography:

Mary Alice MacDonald is a poet living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Louisville but has presently ghosted academia and has no idea what to do in life but write. Her work can most recently be found in Rust + Moth.

Selling Hope By Uma Venkatraman

Selling Hope

I walk by him every day
this man who sits in his wheelchair
bandaged stumps sticking out
proudly defiant
He holds out tissue packets
hoping someone will spare a dollar
Some stop
press a coin in his palm
and go on their way

I do too
but he sits inside
my head now

I see this couple
blind and old
and the tissue packets
they wave in the air
hoping someone
will buy them
for whatever
they can spare
They fumble
for the money
a sightless smile
flits across their faces
Some do tap them
on their arm

I do too
but they stay
in my vision now

I notice this boy
young and crippled
slumped on the floor
defeat etched
in every drooping line
of his broken body
He clutches
tissue packets
so tightly
there is no room
in his hand
for the coin
he so desperately wants
His eyes gaze
at the pitiful haul
on the tattered cloth
spread in front of him
Some stop to drop a bill
ignore the tissues
and stride away

I do too
but he walks
with me now

Waiting to be used
and discarded
packets of tissues
pile up in my bag
not so different
from those
who sell them

By Uma Venkatraman

Biography:

Living in Singapore, India-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist with a passion for poetry. She has been published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in Pink Panther Magazine, The Rising Phoenix Review, Plath Poetry Project and Amethyst Review. She has also taken part in Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project.