Interrogations of my sexuailty By Sankara Olama-Yai

Interrogations of my sexuailty

Woman,           Man                everything
is sexual
Attraction                                is more complicated
When questioned

Easier for you if I “pick a side”
Or choose your god
over my kiss and virtue

“Who do you like more though ?”
My natural inclination is
more of a swinging pendulum

“Aren’t you just like really horny ? ”
No        Yes…but no. Not any more
than you are
Just a different experience
You don’t yet understand

“Oh but you don’t seem….”
Do you believe everything you see on TV ?

Caricatures are for hollywood archetypes
We are all the same human
in different forms
There are infinite ways to be
the same thing

“Are you sure it’s not just a phase”
Are you sure that’s not a cliche already,
Mom. Everything is a phase in life, as life itself is a phase
before our further journey. This is a phase, one that’ll last through
this lifetime

“Now I have to be jealous of both girls and
guys, how is that fair ?”
I don’t belong to your insecurities
i’m not leaving or switching sides
I’m not more compelled towards affairs
You simply have me or you don’t

“But how did you know you were…?”
I wasn’t always sure but when i knew i just knew
Confusion is the root of growth
and i grew into this skin when i fell into confusion
and understood
who i was

My dream is that “coming out” becomes
an extinct tradition, like relics only seen
in black and white movies
and that no one finds comfort in the safety of shadows behind
closet doors,peeking through the cracks for the light
of acceptance
never crave what is owed to you
what is yours
by natural right

“Do you think you’re bi
Just so that you have more options for being loved”

You’re projecting    again   there is no rhyme or reason only
natural attraction
I’m just me    and   i shouldn’t have to question that
any more than you should

question why you’re straight

By Sankara Olama-Yai


Poems by Sankara” Le Prince Héritier” Olama-Yai. Sankara is an LGBTQ+, African American student who currently studies at Penn State. They is a reader for Frontier poetry. Poems have previously been published by Weasel press, InSpiritry and Military Review, they have had work accepted by 805 lit won three Scholastic Art&Writing awards for his poetry. Sankara is in the process of publishing their first two poetry books with Vital Narrative Press.

ICU By Cassidy Black

blue-eyed homegirls
with shadows that follow
we have burned
to have a body
black-lunged thrillers
couldn’t kill us
if they tried
i’m not that kind
of woman
have i created
enough distance to
miss you
even with worlds
and years
between us?
i drive myself into
the ditch and brag
about the bruises
in the ICU
i was wearing
a new smile
and they blew out
the candle
afraid of my flame
i wanted to knock
over the armchairs
rip off my clothes
and make them
lick the sweat
i waited for one
of them to kiss
me for fear
i will leave
because they know
that i will
i let life wash
over me
i don’t know
any better
By Cassidy Black
Cassidy Black is a small-town poet and op-ed article contributor for her local newspaper. She has attended Winter Tangerine’s summer writing workshop at Poets House, NYC. She collects postcards, glass bottles, and experiences she can write about.

Godmother By Amy Lauren


When I stretch out on kitchen chairs
my godmother snaps at me to sit like a lady

so, pulling my legs to my chest, I peer
over my knees to where she sighs,

yanking five-hundred-thread purple-checked
Egyptian cotton, cartoon-faced beach towels

and pillowing dresses from our dryer.
Sweating as she folds, hands sparking static,

she hurriedly twists edges, veiling corners
to match corners. Same symmetry of silverware

clanking as her surgical precision extracts
orphans from cupboards, finding their twins

ripe for her shining cloth. As elders arrive
they hang coats, scarves Godmother tasks me

with whisking to our foyer closet. I shove
all ninety pounds of me into antique wood

while a stepsister arranges scarves
on metal hooks, remarking how it seems

no one lives at our house.

By Amy Lauren


A graduate of Mississippi College, Amy Lauren authored Prodigal (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and God With Us (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her poetry appears in The Gay & Lesbian Review, Cordite Poetry Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.

DEAD-END TRAILS By Taylor Graham


Morning sun’s cloaked in cloud.
Two men in black with a silver-weight
of stars on their shoulders:

Where do I live?
Around here.
Where’s my ID?
Seen anything suspicious?
Something blue through the brush –
tent or tarp, or plain blue sky.

I’d been interrogating the hill
for its gold – its story.

Its dead buried under spokes of iron
wheels rusting above an old hospital
for the indigent;

A cordoned-off mine-drift
into innards of ridge, loose crystal
scattered like homeless litter.

The politics of homelessness
is beyond me. This hill has been here
forever, free for walking.

Manzanita, coyote-bush wild-west bold,
all directions disappear in brush.
I point those dark stars west,
the way the sun through thicket goes.

By Taylor Graham


Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and served as El Dorado County’s inaugural poet laureate (2016-2018). In addition to The Rising Phoenix Review, she’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest book is Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).

Our Homeland We Call Home By Jimin Lee

Our Homeland We Call Home

I tape the ripped corners of your picture
into one ragged piece that never seems right.

Wrinkled due to the passage of time,
contaminated with coffee stains

on your paper skin. Your veins map your
glass heart. Torn, exposing the corruption

so well-layered under an aesthetic picture.
Broken, like the promises you had made.

This is our homeland we call safety.
This is our homeland we call freedom.

I wonder, how can both coexist if forces
beyond our control keep us in control?

I know I forced the ragged pieces
to form an incomplete picture—

a picture that would never
represent itself at its foundation.

I am hoping that someday
my voice will be heard

and this picture will be fixed;
after all, I’m only a lost child.

This is our homeland we call home.

By Jimin Lee


Jimin Lee is a Korean-American writer living in Seoul, South Korea. As a published author on various platforms, her fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Crashtest Magazine, The Daphne Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review, among others. She is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Ideate Review, a literary magazine that recognizes works of creative writing and art relating to global issues and identity. In addition, she is an alumnus of the Juniper Institute for Young Writers. She enjoys learning about the world around her and writing about it.



I with my false proclamation
of surrender, white flag
doused in kerosene, lit match
clasped between fingers
in red cross behind my back,
child soldier in my heart who I
tortured and let torture me –

you an opposing army
in your civilian clothes.

By Emma-Louise Adams


Emma-Louise Adams is a multiply disabled lesbian writer who divides their time between the Sheffield and Cambridge areas of the UK. They were briefly institutionalised as a child and have been searching for freedom ever since. They find it in public parks, literary magazines, and as much advocacy as they can handle.


[SAP] By Gabrielle Lawrence


My, what a sight they were—hanging from the tree that day
distant but, blazing like stars in the sky.
Yet we could only stand still, breathless still—silent, as they swayed

our faces feeling kissed by the sunshine rays
settling in through those black outlines, God wouldn’t even recognize my—
what a sight they were, hanging from the tree that day.

Bodies open like, flowers bloomed? Animals slain?
No—it was my limbs my face my flesh I recognized.
Yet we could only stand still, breathless, still—silent as they swayed.

All of the women in me bellowed we—have al—ready, paid.
And this is what our freedom buys my,
my what a sight they were, hanging from the tree that day.

The earth caved in. I felt it saying, “Good god—how they weigh”
The heavens fled, vanished from sight; evil himself shielded his eye.
Yet we could only stand still, breathless, still—silent as they swayed

Now the sun failed to shine—And not too far away,
I felt a woman’s heart begin to cry. I felt a child’s lips quiver. I felt a man break inside
my—what a sight they were—hanging, from the tree that day.
Yet we could only stand, —still breathless—still. Silent. As they swayed.

By Gabrielle Lawrence


Gabrielle Lawrence is a writer and editor. She holds a BA in English and is pursuing her MFA in poetry at the University of Central Arkansas. She has worked for the Oxford American Magazine, Trio House Press, and Linden Avenue Literary Journal. Her writing can be found in Gravel Magazine, A Gathering Together Journal, Words Apart Magazine, The Chaos: Journal of Personal Narrative and West Wind Literary Journal.