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

Biography:

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.

Still—

I meant it when I said:

Get out of my head.

When I said
dead to me
I meant literally.

By Jill Mceldowney

Biography:

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

Surviving

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.
Survival.

By Marjorie Moorhead

Biography:

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.

Portraiture Analysis with Anaphora By Bessie Huang

Portraiture Analysis with Anaphora

for Madame Cézanne

Here, she is ageless
and unfeminine, her corset

dripping into her lap. The skinless
man has eyes the color of blood-

shot and hers are patiently
blank. She sits like a spine

made of steel. He cannot be touched
but wants to touch her. Here, he

is unforgiving, scattering
the color and scorching her

mouth with ash. I snap
a picture. Here. I do not know

whether to focus
on oblong or ochre or the room

leaning away. Here—she is
looking at her hands

but there is nothing

between them. So I listen:
here: silent passion, the two,

head to hollow
head, his hands grasping her

cheeks and hers grasping hortensias.
Every time he looks

at her, she is remade. Here
her hair is down and she does not look

like herself. Suddenly he is painting
with a weapon. Her face becomes

his. She is exactly
what he wants.

By Bessie Huang

Biography:

Bessie Huang is seventeen years old, hails from Maryland, sits exclusively in lotus pose, and prefers to go by Ivy, at least for now.

Pill Poppers of Late Capitalism By Prem Sylvester

Pill Poppers of Late Capitalism

Pink tab on my tongue
splits in half, my daily bread;
double-helix cotton candy twisted
through my blood income

Orange pill, sponge cake fantasy,
edible pheromone highs tripping
over each other to shine brightest
in veins where love is made to order.

White and yellow pills packed
in ancap land, labour paid in emotion
immaterial in your prescription;
you label my nightmares utopia.

Downing soma cocktails to drown
in psychosomatic complacency,
attuned to this tuneless march
that rings noiseless souldeathknells

By Prem Sylvester

Biography:

Prem Sylvester is an Indian writer who turns into words the ideas he catches a whiff of from time to time. Sometimes people read these words. His work has appeared in Memoir Mixtapes and Rigorous, and in national media platforms like The Hindu and Buzzfeed India.

In Sickness By Rachel Tanner

In Sickness

My body consists mostly of forgetting.
There are days I wake up
and my organs can’t remember
their most basic purposes.
There are days my mind can’t find words that fit
so my mouth refers to cereal as
morning dry soup.

Every surgery leaves a mark and those marks are
the first things I notice when I look in a mirror.
Are the things on my naked body
that I recognize least.

I undress in the dark now, even when I’m alone.

Who is going to love these scars?
(And why?)
Who is going to share me
with the things lurking and laughing in my body?

I am trying not to forget the world
as easily as it has forgotten me.

By Rachel Tanner

Biography:

Rachel Tanner’s work has appeared in various places including Bad Pony, Longleaf Review, Drunk Monkeys, and elsewhere. She tweets @rickit

Waitress By Joan McNerney

Waitress

Sally thought everything was
up to luck and she had zero.
Her chances got swept
away with yesterday’s trash.

Every day working in this
dumpy dinner slinging hash.

There were the regulars
who knew her name and
left good tips. They had
no place else to go.

Her feet swelled up at
the end of lunch rush.

Sally wiped tables filling
ketchup bottles, salt shakers,
sugar jars while staring out the
window at pulsing rain.

Waiting a half hour for the bus,
winds tangling her hair.

She stopped at the market to
bring a few groceries home.
Struggling now to open her door,
only cold rooms would greet her.

By Joan McNerney

Biography:

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.