Notes on Sexual Experiment By Nia KB

Notes on Sexual Experiment

Solid floor, vacant den, pinned up
frizzy locs sitting to the side of an oval
face. Smoke pillowing the musky air
complimented by a muscled amber
man pointing a grin at me.

A mustache feels different on my lips. Hands usually
used for destruction feel different constructed
on my waist. When he hits his purple-green weed
then kisses me, the difference exchanges
through our hips. Take off your clothes first.
I obey, with caution.

I’ve only slept with women, so why
is my tinder on “men & women”? The search
engine compliments my scrolling wonder
I stumble upon a seemingly cute profile
that lives 5 miles away. Shawn it says.
How will I sound screaming the name Shawn.

His room has no furniture besides a futon.
An assortment of knitted and store-bought
blankets with candles and coconut oil color
the cushioned side. As I ride, I look out
of his curtainless window, wide-eyed.

The pain I feel when he first lands
comes from an unrealized pleasure; I mean,
what is sex with a man if not a missile
entering a warm bed of darkness? When he rubs my
chest with coconut oil heated on his kitchen stove,
I can’t help but wonder when love
will kick in. I hold his hand to maintain balance.
I feign eye contact so he can go faster.

When I fucked Faith with a strap-on
sexuality felt like a college friend that moved away.
When you see them, it’s all love, but
they’re often not here. Like a car, her lungs filled
with smoke until the heat becomes unbearable — Please me,
And I certainly did. There was no doubt I was lesbian
then. I wasn’t around to confuse me.

Thin sideburns, semi-snagged back tooth, patchy
left cheek bone birdlike-yet-husky chest pumping —
Funny how air becomes a rarity when we fuck. I look
away from your face as if to deny the power I lend to you;
the unmarked grave of my virginity or
the science experiment I’ve made of you, & this, & it
Sit on on the futon & break your gar, boy
I’ll just sit, wishing this wasn’t happening
Wishing I didn’t (kind of) like it

I tell my best friend after I ghost you,
“That nigga was crazy, so he’s cancelled,”
I lie. Neglecting the time
you bent me over a suitcase (& I let you) or
the time(s) we didn’t strap up (& I almost
said I love you) or
the time you mentioned your mother and I
just climbed on top–
This is just sex, I get it, but at least
just try to care a little.

Face-holding, coarse lips slipping wet salt
slapping when I ask (only when I ask)
Harder. Rub my insides with your
shallow lack of shame Touch me
only when you lose grip & we need to hold hands
Love me
only when I’m so confused that I need it
I want love to make a mockery of my golden star
disintegrating from this sky I’ve built
in the shape of your back

I go to the restroom at work and blood escapes
when I pee. (Is this what deflowering looks like?)
I nurse my newly tender area, wash my hands
with lavender soap, look in the mirror and smirk,
(Will this make me more of a woman?) The thought
disappears, I go back to work.

By Nia KB


Nia KB (they/them) is a Black queer nonbinary poet, editor, and educator. They are the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, The Speakeasy Project, and UTSA’s African American Literatures and Cultures Institute. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in Eleven40Seven, Z Publishing, Pamplemousse, Brown State of Mind, Lighthouse Literary, and elsewhere. When they’re not blessing stages or writing pages, they serve as Associate Poetry Editor for Fields Magazine, Production Assistant for the web series Gentrified, Curator/Host of the reading series Austin Interfaces, and Teaching Artist for Austin Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program. If you got this far, they think you should follow them on twitter and instagram at nia_kb.

Teacher By Joan McNerney


She hoped some would leave,
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.

Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.

She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered.

What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these children who would
soon grow listless? Their spirits ground
down like stones in the quarry.

By Joan McNerney


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

December Clear By Marjorie Moorhead

December Clear

When every leaf that’s going to fall is off its tree;
when just the trunks stand tall, and branches
mark their lines in the sky;

when you can see through to any nests,
and see clear the view behind
and beyond every stand and thicket;

wind allowed to whistle between and around,
and no buffer for the barking dog
whose voice echoes through the yard,

across the road, to the other side of town.
No padding. No fluff. No mitigation.
Just stark and clear and true.

Leafless trees no “mincing of words”;
revealing the sky, showing
clustered clouds previously obscured.

These days feel like there’s no running for shelter;
nowhere to hide. Ills festering un-cured.
Caught in a flashlight’s beam, are things

in place as they’re meant to be? Are we deer
in the headlights, seeking moments of clarity?
Do our branches reach strong; offer a basket

widespread, sprigs woven with verity?
Like a scalp newly shorn, what is revealed?
Winter’s sun lights lichen on bark, scarred and smooth.

Cold wind sings through crisscrossed
twigs’ lace of open spaces,
narrating a ballad of the trees.

By Marjorie Moorhead


Marjorie Moorhead writes from the NH/VT border, where she tries for a daily reverent walk. Her poetry is in three anthologies. A chapbook, Survival: Trees, Tides, Song, will be out in May 2019 from Finishing Line Press. Her poem “Taking a Knee” will appear in The Poetry Box’s Poeming Pigeon this Spring. Marjorie has many poems at sites from Indolent Books (What Rough Beast; HIV Here & Now), Rising Phoenix Review, Sheila-Na-Gig Online.



screaming        is the best way to not be silent                  mouthful             seizure of want
night’s long teeth                             sweetheart      how do i hold the weight of this
final grief          for the worst part of a good while            i have been freighted foolish boy
scrubbing blood from the tired breadth                of his lover’s feet      calloused      crushed
in the morning when because it is morning red light splits itself between haphazard blinds
like the halves of a peach                 sweet lovers      i cannot be dragged out      from
memory                     you cannot be dragged at all faggot breath at dusk              at dawn
sunset      is the light’s way              of leaving us alone         and who     in all their strange
bipedal        form has been known to half a peach        and not to eat it whole  please teach
me how to eat with my mouth closed
and forget           for once          to say grace
listen            to the boy who speaks in cursive
confetti foaming out from his lips            his teeth        tombstone      bullet flag frozen over
the day-bright page again marked in ink as my hands are shaking          as i light
the wrong end of a cigarette misspell my last namecontemplate the concept of contemplation as
somewhere           a boy who looks just like me             looks up the word want       and
reads it as your name
because lovely           i keep waiting                     for even war             to come home
to you
dearest father lay me down et cetera            because everything now      feels like i am
sitting in a room          choke-full of snakes   and humdark   but smelling the scent of roses
and great spirit           what else to call heaven      but a woman or man who moves     with
but my love is not available to sign autographs                 but is to answer questions

they will call this love or     anxiety    but i call this    everything in the world is happening
right now           so     something somewhere    must be going wrong   being halved     being
swallowed whole
until we, children, make it go right again


First published by The Heavy Feather Review


Christopher Latin (sometimes stylized as C. D. Latin) is a 21 year old genderqueer, pansexual poet of color and an avid reader from Houston, Texas. They currently attend Huston-Tillotson University in Austin where they major in English. You can find their work published/forthcoming in their university’s literary magazine called 900 Chicon, The Ellis Review, and The Heavy Feather Review. When they are not writing they are busy spending too much money on poetry books and clothes.

Self Portrait as Roadkill By Brianna Morris

Self Portrait as Roadkill

no howl no wind i’m waiting to be
filled by sound to feel briefly alive
i respect the sky its changes the breaking
dark a liminality i can hardly
comprehend sudden war-cry lyrics tender
& firm at once like a sigh of relief
tell me it doesn’t get easier on it’s own
& that’s the point at daybreak when
eternity is close & eyes are open wide
i realize judgment is obscured by
the desire for stability we all just hunger
to be intact with each other
togetherness is a security blanket illusion
ripped cruelly away like a bandaid
left behind mixed with blood in the shuffle
maybe that night i wasn’t running for my life
maybe i showed up in hopes of losing it
in the first place maybe that’s just the way it is
when i’m alone with my body for so long
it becomes more shadow than solid
i ran & ran & ran like i could learn to fly
on my way home shaking like a turbulent
aircraft never leaving the ground
i was a cascade of shallow breath & gravel
nocturne in the key of agony
the next day i woke up i did not exist

By Brianna Morris


Brianna Morris is an aspiring poet whose work has been published or is forthcoming in Touchstone Literary Journal and Tongue Tied Mag. When not writing or sweating in the South Florida heat, she enjoys seeking out works of art that speak to her the way she hopes hers will speak to others someday.

Sacrilege By TAK Erzinger


It was a somber funeral
a grave yard for trees

with branches charred
like burnt chicken bones.

In the sunlight, we observed
those crooked fingers scratching

at the sky’s blue skin as
lingering clouds of smoke

lifted like souls from lifeless bodies
not quite ready to be released.

Their sacred gathering had
been defiled by a blasphemer,

a non-believer in their truth
and they were set a light

and burnt like heretics with little
time for their congregation to

save their lives. We returned to
mourn, discovering our own

fragility, wagging its finger
at us in culpability, while the sea

nodded its head in hopeless prayer.

*Inspired after witnessing first-hand the aftermath of a major forest fire that occurred in Lavandou France in 2017.

By TAK Erzinger


TAK Erzinger is an American Swiss poet. She is also an English teacher. Her poetry is greatly influenced by all that has surrounded her past to present. At the end of 2016 she had a nervous break-down and was diagnosed with a burn-out due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Nature, writing and art have accompanied her through the recovery process. It is the imagery of nature and the mundane activities of everyday life that feature prominently in her poems. The themes in her poetry touch upon varying degrees of loss, forgiveness and healing, as well as some social commentary of the 21st century.

Abundant By Bri.G


I trapped my god/in cheesecloth/squeezed
with my whole body/wingspan/ stretching the
tips of my fingers /collapse to fill the decanter of
my two clean palms/ a pomegranate/613 seeds
and distasteful rind to carry them / I unsheath
my sharpest blade and/freed them
of their home/grave/water droplet rubies /I put 3
in my pocket/ to carry/ wedged one passed my
breasts/ lodging into a disk /with one reluctant
hand/crushed the rest / let juices/leak my fingers
/and there was god / alighted unburdened/quiet in
my palm/look past a small being/ the r e a c h i n g
world beneath my feet/ smile/a sigh/ tremble whisper/

please be gentle, and everything
will come and come abundant

By Bri.G


Bri.G is a poet and student from Portland Oregon. She recently released her first chap book ‘There’s Room for You Here’ which touches on self love, relationships, and god stuff. Bri’s is currently studying creative writing and publishing at Portland State University, that is of course, until formal education breaks her spirit. Most importantly she believes in you!

can I induce apoptosis? By Julia Merante

can I induce apoptosis?

do I have to wait seven years for

his fingerprints to dissolve?

I want these cells dead but
I surrender
my timid flesh

because I do not
have a choice.

as he rubs me–
raw with his finger
nails &

gnaws my membrane the quiver of

my dermis persists.

I try to resist–
insisted infection

& fight off this bacterial pest.

shedding cells–

fall, please.

First published in Red Queen Literary Magazine

By Julia Merante


Julia Merante is entering her Junior year at SUNY Geneseo, in upstate New York. She is an English major, with a creative writing concentration. She also has a biology minor, as well as a human development minor. Her goal after college is to earn her MFA. She is a truly emerging writer. With no submissions ever made, she in turn has had no publications. However, she did work as a Poetry Reader on the SUNY-wide literary magazine known as Gandy Dancer. In her free time, she enjoys her waitressing job, travelling, and watching movies with her mom. She appreciates your time and consideration in reviewing her work, and is excited to see where poetry can take her.

Cool Girl By Jill Mceldowney

Cool Girl

A man puts his hands on me and I am his.
It is the habit of the living

to make the dead,

to believe the dead better
than what they were

to believe
them when they say: “Can’t stop the plan God has coming—”

He’s better off dead

I can’t stop his calling to tell me
about the breaks in his memory

the spaces he
can’t remember.

I can’t stop
another drug dealer who thinks he’s magic from calling me

“Cool girl, cool girl, —

you’re such a cool girl”

before he fucks me up against a refrigerator door.

What he means is that my body is a cloud
for him to hold in his mouth,
to learn on foil

a planet of regret, the oldest love story imagined.

Ask me what I remember
of the last five years and that will be the first thing I can’t bring myself to.
But you were never who I thought you were anyway.

And you get to live
more or less the same
while I’m told later that trauma to the skull can trigger depression, auditory hallucinations,

while I’ve spent an entire year thinking

can’t be touched
please don’t touch me,

jumping when anyone moves toward me too fast,
brushes against me.

A man puts his hands on me
and I think
of the ways I could hurt him

instead I let him touch me.

How to be and how not to be
that not every encounter with another person needs to end with blood.


I meant it when I said:

Get out of my head.

When I said
dead to me
I meant literally.

By Jill Mceldowney


Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook Airs Above Ground (Finishing Line Press) as well as Kisses Over Babylon (dancing girl press). She is an editor and cofounder of Madhouse Press. She is also a recent National Poetry Series Finalist. Her previously published work can be found in journals such as Muzzle, Fugue, Vinyl, the Sonora Review, Prairie Schooner, and other notable publications.

Surviving By Marjorie Moorhead


There’s a fog outside.
Thickness in the air.
It’s three in the afternoon. Not yet dark
but you feel dusk is near.

What’s left of the snow is heavy.
Almost water, but not. White; still holding form,
it slides from roofs in slabs; edge-curling sheaths.
Drips from edges into gutters onto valleys where roofs meet.

Beneath the weighty evaporating blanket of white:
mud. Brown grasses. Old leaves.
Waiting to be washed away by Spring rains—
still a few months off—that will beckon

the green we all await. Winter was hard.
Cold hearts;
blind eyes;
wrong directions;

erosion of foundations. We all need to rebuild;
restructure. Mend and improve.
The process must be inclusive; respectful; dedicated.
Our garden must be planted with

seeds of strength and beauty
the likes of which have not yet shown their face
to the sky. It is our job to nurture this. To
guide, protect, cajole it forth.

Our garden.
Our future.
Our legacy.

By Marjorie Moorhead


Marjorie Moorhead writes from the NH/VT border, where she tries for a daily reverent walk. Her poetry is in three anthologies. A chapbook, Survival: Trees, Tides, Song, will be out in May 2019 from Finishing Line Press. Her poem “Taking a Knee” will appear in The Poetry Box’s Poeming Pigeon this Spring. Marjorie has many poems at sites from Indolent Books (What Rough Beast; HIV Here & Now), Rising Phoenix Review, Sheila-Na-Gig Online.