To Where Everything Looked Lovely By Elizabeth York Dickinson

To Where Everything Looked Lovely

It was his breath, bile
and beer soaked
tongue made me
turn a cheek. His
knuckles spun
me in a globe,
greens and blues,
star glitter falling
on the swell.

His face molten, words
jabbed me. Ducking, hiding,
a dance memorized
in childhood. The spitting
dagger halved me,
he dug out the bulb,
buried it
in fertile soil.

A scratch and pop,
nails grasping for a doorknob,
the release of a latch,
clicked closed by his grasp,
like running into storm
wind, blowing you back,
ripping hair.

Tresses trailed
three states away
to where everything
looked lovely.
The cigarette
butt, soul seeping, gun
cocked, NYC.

By Elizabeth York Dickinson

Biography:

Elizabeth York Dickinson received her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has work published or forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Drunk Monkeys, Picaroon Poetry and Riggwelter among others. She currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.

A mother’s sermon By Sneha Subramanian Kanta

a mother’s sermon

since last spring        I taste pollen in my throat             & the face of a newborn
flashes over my eyesight before he runs away prancing deer-like
every night after sunflowers wilt the hour of rose-ringed parakeets begins

they have made cribs out of barbed electric wires above houses speckled
all over town the ocean has chained my spine in its rustling pull
I scrape rainwater out of the faces of circular green leaves at dawn

superclusters of stars burn one last time hazily & the ocean spits salt
the ether splits into faint crimson- jade sews the land with bottle green leafed trees
orioles & hummingbirds & crows jays & bluebirds commence birdsongs

my throat a lutite slope discrepant as the Pacific underwater my breasts a milk white
river flows into the umbilicus the unborn feels like a bunch of lilies knotted
within the womb fragile & untamed against the push of winds

centuries ago this ocean heaved in blood-waves thaw has leveled
waters I borrow silence say I am woman let pre-dawn engulf a metamorphosis
I make a shrine of my body so they keep you holy & unharmed.

Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Biography:

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, and has earned a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her chapbook titled ‘Home is Hyperbole’ won the Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series (Boston Accent Lit). She is the author of Synecdoche (The Poetry Annals) and Prosopopoeia (Ghost City Press).  She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. An old soul, she runs a patisserie.

Molding of Impeccable Order By Miguel Angel Soto

Molding of Impeccable Order

After Gloria Anzaldúa

In the cryptic reflection of my morning ritual, I feel a presence staring
back, floating behind me. When I turn, nothing. I continue
trimming the stems off my rough-mound cheeks, and
plucking the stalk bridging between my eyebrows, remembering
not to get carried away, keeping a “natural, rugged” look.
I admire my broad shoulders and chest, even though I rarely stay upright, or
imitate the behavior associated with this macho physique.

She appears—again—at the breakfast table, at the café, at the gas station,
on-campus, on the campus library, below the city’s skyscrapers, at the local bar.
Always unnoticed by others. Her persistent silence a suffocating
humidity walking close to North Lake Shore Drive. Our relationship
a secret to the physical world. Because, she a translucent figure, who is not a divination
of faith, not a being existing of fact, but a noumenon, existing in my sleeping
consciousness, not from nothingness, but from a lack of definition.

Her form becomes visible in my mind’s palette—I paint her my brown, chisel
her face a smooth flower petal, blush her cheeks a winterberry red,
and her ears unnoticeable behind the tangles of curly, brown hair. Her
broad shoulders and chest remain, standing vertical with pride. In my
drunken artistry, I reach to feel her, but my hands fall through the
haze—we suspend in the atmosphere. I cling to the air’s silence, make
my way to the bank, stare back at my reflection, reach in the water, and

beg for her, beg for her. The water slick on my skin—doesn’t drip in droplets, but
enters, and I feel her consuming me through the moisture, seeping
into the sinews of my warranty to be.
I can choose to be this far-from-faith / far-from-fact woman. I rush
toward the merging horizon—home, where I dress in old-roommate’s
fishnet shirt with matching leggings that show through
make-shift ripped jeans.

I create a question to mythology: Tiresias who? I don’t know her.
I exist in constant transition, conforming to my body’s need to survive,
ignoring the inability to define her sensation over me, knowing only that
her motives share a likeness to the world’s repository of water:
tasteless vapor, floating over me, condensing and then evaporating in a
cyclical motion between endless blues of sky and sea
between he and she.

By Miguel Angel Soto

Biography:

Miguel Angel Soto is a queer brown boy, who explores political identities, intellectual and emotional intelligence through his writings. He’s an editor for Jet Fuel Review, a literary journal based out of Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. He also loosely blogs under the guise xicanxlibre1596.wordpress.com.

downtown hunger By Constance Schultz

downtown hunger

rain gutters overflow
everyone goes
in

except those who don’t

they reside
at the union gospel mission

listen to a lecture
about a god
who has forsaken them

trade attention
for bread
& they take it
swear to do better

never again
they say & next morning

back to the streets
and the gods
who have always been reliable

trusty 40 &
thunderchicken

Biography:

Constance R. Schultz and her family live by Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. Her writing is greatly influenced by Carl Sandburg, Diane diPrima and Langston Hughes.

Ms. Schultz has work in the Calamus Journal, Figroot Press, The Seattle Star, Jenny Mag and Stonecoast Review.

Portrait of a Marriage without a Care for Borders By Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Portrait of a Marriage without a Care for Borders

they’ve mapped this                              place for us
in a shape such like daises shudder to bloom
history is a red leaf in autumn
heading somewhere
close to death—
when my ancestors passed oceans they filled their lungs
with air & dipped pails in the ocean to draw        water

there was a story                       in which my grandparents
married each other in the middle of an ocean which is to
say there was no harness to land & ample sky they exchanged
garlands as easily as one would move between two continents
when nani uttered mitti from her mouth it reminded me of the
smell of petrichor & the sightings from a blurred glass window

as autumn made a headlong foray into that year’s October
& the world fused                       lavender orchids onto land
the world spilled                        into three oceans & tiptoed
into the eyes of two people on a ship as rituals on land unmade
before dusk birds arrived from the sky & people sat cross-legged
& spoke to the sea asall engulfed into caravans of sacred silence

By Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Biography:

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is a GREAT scholarship awardee, and has earned a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. Her chapbook titled ‘Home is Hyperbole’ won the Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series (Boston Accent Lit). She is the author of Synecdoche (The Poetry Annals) and Prosopopoeia (Ghost City Press). She is the founding editor of Parentheses Journal. An old soul, she runs a patisserie.

INSTITUTION GIRLS DON’T CRY By Emma-Louise Adams

INSTITUTION GIRLS DON’T CRY

instead of crying she
flapped her arms in mimicry of angels
and hoped to get to Heaven

instead of crying she
chewed away on her cornsilk hair
and baffled every health visitor

instead of crying she
projected Zoo Tycoon faces on the walls of the ward
and protested the birth of her sibling

instead of crying she
read tens and hundreds and thousands of words
and ignored familiar voices

instead of crying she
stuffed her pale head down the back of the settee
and insisted she saw lights there

By Emma-Louise Adams

Biography:

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 institutionalized 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

catalog of bodies By Elizabeth Ruth Deyro

catalog of bodies

Bodies wedged together, elegantly
piled up and floating on scarlet puddle.
Corpses dismembered and decapitated lie
among a dozen other carcasses. Chests were cut
open; rib cages, thrashed. Hearts were always missing.
The putrid stench is the only sign of lives
that once were. I planned to make this more organized,
turn this slaughterhouse into a morgue,
but cleansing is hardly a priority when
fresh corpses come in every other day.

I remember watching my mother weep, begging me
to bring back the daughter she once had.
I went back to the room and check my catalog
of bodies, shuffling through faces frayed and deformed.
Perhaps the girl she looks for is nothing
but frail bones now—I know that she was
the first body to be locked inside this room.
Yet I keep looking, searching for a face among these faces
that all look one and the same. What shame it is that after all
these crimes, I still see myself in their lifeless bodies.

By Elizabeth Ruth Deyro

Biography:

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro is a writer, poet, and editor from Laguna, Philippines. She is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Brown Orient and the Prose Editor of Rag Queen Periodical. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Hypertrophic Literary, The Poetry Annals, Jellyfish Review, and L’Ephemere Review, among other places, and has been profiled in Luna Luna Magazine and TERSE. Journal.