lacuna By Eunice Kim

lacuna

i borrow my mother’s sadness tonight &
distort it over me like it will replace the
history. the god of my childhood is jaundiced,
a silverfished body in the attic. the house
i grew up in—soft & muffled, cinnamon
-colored. here is where i broke my arm, here
is canary that died nine years ago,
here are the footsteps that ran up the stairs
in the kitchen light & here is where it hurt the
most. the pathways i stopped remembering,
the ones that reached a terminal velocity.
haunted houses lack a sense of legibility, which
is to say, humans are incapable of
recognizing a dead thing. i scythe the lupine
leftovers of my body. i sing fake elegies for
the asleep. the air textures itself with the
quietest violence & just because i bled here
doesn’t make this room a holy space. just
because i tried to build an altar doesn’t
mean this city is jerusalem.

By Eunice Kim

Biography:

Eunice Kim is a Korean-American writer living in Seoul. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Polyphony, The Heritage Review, Vagabond City Lit, and more. She currently works as a staff reader for The Adroit Journal and a volunteer writer for Her Culture.

 

Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again? By Jayant Kashyap

Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again?

The days have now become longer; everyday
a newspaper reads out loud the deaths

of people – found deaths – sometimes
in the sewers, in the mosques and temples

at other times, and then in their own homes,
burnt to nothingness – as if to say that dust

you are, and to dust you shall return; – all
of these bodies are collected the way a child

collects pebbles from sand: everyone
remembers only the first one. Everyone

forgets about them in time, even the child.
Three days ago, someone in the crowd shot

at a person and recited their god’s name,
as if god would tell them what they did was

right. What god, though? Two days ago
the pages blared that the chaos wasn’t silent

anymore, just as everything else isn’t so.
Someone tells me they don’t stand with

“the said victims,” because they are wrong
too; but sometimes the victims are

nothing but victims. “Oh, you are but all
metaphorical. A country doesn’t survive

with metaphors.” Well, nor does it with
suppression and oppression, or does it? The

fests in colleges do not allow skits
surrounding politics, as if to say that only

silence is practical; but what of the water that
is mostly more politics now than water –

the newspaper cuttings lately tell me both
about how a government decides what amount

of water a person should drink every day
and only how much I should speak against my

government. It’s funny how in a democracy
every citizen can be named a militant

except the government itself, as if the regimes
don’t break within themselves anymore;

don’t the broken regimes also lead the nations
to dust? – say Eritrea, say Liberia, say Korea,

say nothing else; say no more.

(for india)

By Jayant Kashyap

Biography:

Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize-nominee, and one of the founding editors of the e-magazine Bold + Italic. His poems have appeared in Barren, StepAway, Visual Verse, Perverse, Outcast and other magazines. His debut chapbook, Survival, was published in 2019 by Clare Songbirds, and Unaccomplished Cities is upcoming from Ghost City Press.

 

los lobos andan suelto By Antonia Silva

los lobos andan suelto

my father drowns in the rio grande
on a family vacation to chihuahua
all the brothers & sisters & cousins
are wild wolves, they shed skin & dive
headfirst into a swirl of carpsuckers

los niños grow fangs, shape paws into
flippers & catfish the other swimmers
their gills glub & gurgle & gulp water
bubbles into technique, bodies shift
into some semblance of river creature

& my father, the pisces, chokes
on the music of this familiar body
he loses sight of the pack & catches
a current traveling away from home
siempre alcanzando las estrellas

he snags a bosque branch & washes
ashore on a sandy bank, beneath a cluster
of cottonwoods he hums along with
gnarled gnats & la mariposa de la muerte
making peace with breaths that flicker out

in every season & at every party
stories sneak out of the woodwork
& into the mouth of memory
I shake the water from my ears
crawl closer to lineage

& listen close

my father escapes death more times
than I can count & all the brothers
& sisters & cousins are close behind
they howl to a smoky moon & bare
their teeth against rites of passage

as sound streams
into sanctitude.

By Antonia Silva

Biography:

Antonia Silva is a queer Mexican-American poet from Santa Ana, California who currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Antonia’s work is published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Cunt By Maham K By Maham K

Cunt

Desire unhinges. Pours hot oil,
probes & seethes. Yellow as dead leaves.

I wave my sticky little
fingers. Here’s the meat, here’s the grease,

here’s the blind orifice that
whickers & snivels & has ludicrous needs.

I eat coffee & air. I yearn the
groove slick. The purple fissure pleads

& bleeds, a faucet choosing
only to leak. Teeth grow sour. I remain a relic.

Outside, a sky ochre as outrage. The
sun slumps, a blond mangled wrist.

I rot in the glare
of phosphorescent angels.

By Maham K

Biography:

Maham K is a poet, artist & medical student from Karachi, Pakistan. She has been published by Indige Zine, Berry Magazine, Soliloquie Magazine, and Luna Rio Zine.

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans Chisom Okafor

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans

a dagger       navigating through      a gulf of wire curls
meet        the centre point         of my forehead
just after       he spells out          the words

lost between       the frontiers of         the things
i desire         and what        i must be
i want to tell him           about the ringing         cold

or about         the house sparrow         who homeless
after her tree         was felled          had made
her nest         just at the edge           of my windowsill

instead i say         baba         i don’t think          the telephone
line       is clear enough          for this
conversation

By Chisom Okafor

Biography:

Chisom Okafor is a Nigerian poet and Nutritionist, who was shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2019. He edited 20:35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and presently works as Chapbook editor for Libretto Magazine.

Sunken Garden By Sarah Street

Sunken Garden

To a world caught in a pandemic

There is a hemisphere of our island where the sea
laps in major sevenths. But at this point, I am past

mercy; the war clouds have been gathering for
weeks now, and the moon is but a hole punch

in the sky. This is where we exchanged ourselves,
where my tongue became too saccharin to utter

your name. It makes more sense if I count your
words with onions – tendons raw and blistered and

beet-red in the snow. But here in this sunken garden,
the world has already slipped through our fingertips

in a godless attempt to become lysogenic. And we will
never puncture the moon again. And you are already gone.

By Sarah Street

Biography:

Sarah Street is a junior and Writing Fellow at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where she also writes for the school newspaper and edits the literary magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Aerie International, DoveTales: An International Journal of the Arts, Just Poetry National Quarterly, The America Library of Poetry, and Live Poet’s Society among others. Sarah’s work has been recognized by the New York Times Student Poetry Contest, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest, and River of Words Poetry Project. Sarah’s writing frequently explores themes of children’s rights and social justice; she is passionate about promoting diversity, advocating for human rights, and inspiring unity through writing, music, and community service.

NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP- By Yejin Suh

NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP-

-brother (and I say brother because our rusted
smokestacks and exit routes run jagged, craggy,

crunching past borders) is descended from the
plumpest Channel Island, a fact I gleaned while

flipping Joe’s Peach Tea bottlecaps & buying Taylor Ham
breakfast sandwiches at a highway diner, swaddled up

in aluminum that crinkles in arteries like the notorious
Turnpike who bottlenecks victims in side veins

or the Garden State Parkway’s ten-car pileups. I
understand he’s a little bit neglected, a little homely,

maybe washed-up, like a rugged rebound or those cheap
Newark airport souvenirs I adore but don’t cherish,

but along the browning Hudson (where I’ve hiked
when Ramapo is in snake season) turn up calcified

squirrel skulls and musket balls that once picked off
Redcoats down Fort Lee. I’ve thought before that history

slapped New Jersey into something jaded in its
wintry boardwalks and grid plans: they go

city / suburbia / suburbia—but the cuts of it are still
sweet, like saltwater taffies on my lip.

By Yejin Suh

Biography:

Yejin Suh is an aspiring writer from New Jersey who appears or is forthcoming in Half Mystic, Juke Joint Mag, and Prometheus Dreaming, among others.