She By Andréana Elise


She is hard to kill –
this girl kneeling in tall grasses,
lifting her head from the mud.

After years of exhaustion
she’s charged with new life
and runs into the sun as if
willing that divine body
to hold her close and nuzzle her
with a kiss like burning coal.

She knows what’s coming,
senses the tectonic shifts –
the quaking plates –
the gathering up of gale force winds
and tsunamis slamming against
villages, consuming
our babies and grandparents.

She’s lived through suicide
attacks, and the collapse
of commerce and politics.

Each day, she waits
for the body count to rise,
numbing her fingers
on an endless blue

She forgets
how to speak and how to eat.
Sleep evaporates like mist
on jasmine leaves in the garden
of the Lord, on Mount Carmel.

She lived here once, by the sea’s
wide arc, and returns, in her dreams,
climbing the green terraces
where flame trees, caught in sunlight
burn secrets into her eyes.

Her pupils shrink to specks of dust –
and when she blinks, it is dusk again,
the city cloaked in fallen stars
as the living and the dead
walk together up the mountainside,
wearing bright colors and singing.

Fountains burst on her right,
on her left, and she stands
in their midst unwavering
calling her body back to life.

She senses them,
the ones who didn’t survive –
the mothers lost in childbirth,
the strangled brides and sisters
who felt their only option
was to starve themselves
to death.

She senses them –
the deathless ones –
holding her hands,
pressing cool wrists
to the small of her back,
kissing her forehead
with feather-soft breath.

Together, they ascend.
Up the white steps and into
the blue and radiant night.
They climb –
past the golden shrine lit
like a paper lantern
in the heart of Carmel.

Up and up they flow
like sap, like milk, like blood
Spilt in sacrifice.
They merge yet remain
faithfully alone
singing to the earth,
to the children, their very breath
the hush that brings healing.

She joins them,
this chorus on the mountainside.
Even as her spirit stays
inside her bones,
even as she stirs
and shifts, lifting her lids

in a pale green room
in her own home, her own garden
where the sun hangs
in the locust trees
brightly burning

And she is,
cell by wounded cell,

By Andréana Elise


Andréana Elise is a poet, essayist, traveler, teacher, and community builder. She’s also a Baha’i—a Faith that’s taken her on a wild ride across continents and cultures. She’s the author of Circle the Bones with Shining and Songs of Deliverance (both forthcoming), shedding light on women’s suffering and soulwork. She works with beautiful people of all backgrounds to embody justice and make refuge for the human spirit. You can find her walking in the Tennessee wilderness or online:

A Friend Passed Away On a Saturday Night By Marissa Michel

A Friend Passed Away On a Saturday Night

On nights like these stones find their way
in to my throat and keep the words from flowing
Know you put them there, stones and words and
a part of me i forget to check the time but it doesn’t
matter because the hours stop for no one and only
Death knows the horizon i know reflections
On nights like these i catch my tears in sunflowers
Because they remind me of you and then i ask God
why he leaves me with thread and broken canvas
when i demand the tapestry i cannot rely on memory
i catch the sunlight in an empty room and mistake it
for your smile i break my poems into pieces because
they will never be enough On nights like these i
curse the moon for shining and then repent
i knew you for seconds and an eternity and i
am sorry that it will never be enough
On nights like these i sink into the murky
river and notice how the Carp beg for air
i touch the sky and the clouds bleed
a thousand colors i touch the sky and
remember all the brilliant days my
friend will never see again i touch the sky
and thank you for giving me so many

By Marissa Michel


Marissa Michel is a second generation American of Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage. She served as the 2020 Prince George’s County Youth Poet Laureate. In 2020 she received multiple national gold medals for poetry in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, and an American Voice nomination. She was also the recipient of the 2020 Diaz-Mattison Poetry Prize. Her newest works can be found in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Online Gallery, Love Letters To the Mothers and Fathers of the African Diaspora, and the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. More information about her can be found on

The America of forgetting By Wayne Myers-Taylor

The America of forgetting

My father sailed into New York
On the ship Queen Mary, 1954.
I have a photograph of him, all smiles,
Unweighted by sorrow.
I imagine him arising in the middle of the night
Climbing the steps to the sea-salted deck
And dropping his past like an anchor
Into the wild black ocean.

His smile says it all —
Wide enough to show a crooked incisor.
He arrived in the America of forgetting,
More life before him than behind,
A path at his feet as clean and sharp
As a fresh snow on Brooklyn.

By Wayne Myers-Taylor


Wayne Myers-Taylor divides his time between writing poetry and short fiction, teaching yoga, and updating websites. Previously, he was a journalist at Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and other media outlets. He lives in Northern California, but Brooklyn is his home.

PART OF THE PURÉE By Hibah Shabkhez


‘Relax, my duck does not want to eat you’
Flashes a t-shirt unreassuringly
As a stiletto moves up past my neck.
Jammed under the middle-stairs of a two
Layered train, I am left staring vacantly
At a book with a nest on a bare deck

I stand longing for the paper-tigers
Of old, roaring the promise of inked flames
To charm away these travails and rigours
Become too quotidian for such games
To amuse or appal.

The blender stops. Its once-human purée
Spills into tubes and hallways, ascenseurs,
Then emerges squinting from the dim tunnels
Startled so much by the faint winter-grey
It moves the languid sun to brief fureurs,
The wind to éclats that spur on the bells.

The cloches peal long over the cold river
That lies not fifty paces hence. There
I would fain go, to laugh and to shiver
Off with old friends each shoulder-slumping care
That besieges us all.

But I am part of the purée, dodging
Puddles and debris with my booted feet
Through these limp criss-crossing streams of ‘pardon!’
From the scent of fresh bread I am drawing
Just enough strength for a dream as the neat
Portes open and we pour in by the ton.

Tomorrow I will not be train-paste poured
Docilely into a chair. I will sail
Roamingly to the water. The soured
Lines on my face will melt, this cage will fail
To hold me in its thrall.

By Hibah Shabkhez

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Bandit Fiction, Shot Glass Journal, Across The Margin, Panoplyzine, Feral, Literati Magazine, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her. Linktree:

a prayer By Ruby Anderson

a prayer

i step into the heat of my own breathing needing
you whom i love against my better judgement
and more than i love living because you are living

each morning comes like someone else’s god
i tumble naked skin against sheet that does not
know me, this is the peace dead prophets tell me is
necessary like: hold fast to that which cannot talk
back for therein lies your truth or whatever.

they say give yourself to no one so it hurts, and i did.
i’ve tried all the methods of suffering and i guess for art
It was pretty. i could trace all the times a person
tried to look only partly in my eyes. i said

go home to your loneliness and I was a hypocrite;
my bed knew two hundred arms but I can’t tell you
how they held me. though still i’ve tried to write
a story of how the world turns the people in it and

it doesn’t work. i’d have a daughter just to tell her
that she’ll fall in love with moments more than the
people who are afraid of them and that is all of us.

what hurts the most is that i’ll never stop asking
if i really want to be here, and for who. i know i can’t
say this but please forgive me, some god somewhere.

i step into the heat of my own needing bleeding
my fear which i love against my better judgement
and more than i love living because fear is living

or else how has it stayed this long damp on these
sheets and feathers where the pillow meets the nape
and kowtows. but at least you’re here and at least
we leave the curtains open now. you like for me
to rise and while shrugging on a t-shirt smile,

embraced by the sun. sometimes i even forget
when you look at me that this star and
the people beneath it are burning.

By Ruby Anderson


When I Get Drunk and Think of Palestine By Fatima Sausan Masoud

When I Get Drunk and Think of Palestine

When I get drunk and think of Palestine,
I think of figs and my grandmother’s plants
and how the cocoa always had a thick layer
of greyish skin and tasted
of powdered milk.

I think of blue carrots
and the lemon groves
where we found that dying bat
clinging to a branch
barely breathing with tired wings.

I think of limestone buildings
warming in the summer sun
and the dark basement full of grain
doused and dripping with
the scent of kerosene.

I think of village weddings
and pale nights spent on the roof,
the sweet scent of apple tobacco
bubbling in the water pipe
our hands faded henna red.

I think of soldiers and
my cousin’s plastic gun
and the morning they stormed his house
stomping over my grandmother’s screams
when he pointed it straight at their hearts.

By Fatima Sausan Masoud


A Palestinian-American born in the southwest, Fatima Sausan Masoud (she/her) holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives in El Paso and teaches First Year Composition and Elementary Arabic at the same university. She finds time to write in the in-between spaces when her kids are asleep. Find her on Instagram (@applewhiskey).

Fragile By Katie Howard


There was an era—
more a lustrum—
still, a time when
fear evaded me:
When Daddy was my father,
not a ticking clock of glass.
Every cigarette that left his lips,
potentially his last,
did not phase me.
In ICU, he whispered,
with his birdsong voice enflamed
by fires he’d inhaled since
before my first day
on Earth.

There was a time when
every move I made
truly felt my own.
Nowadays, I tiptoe
to a darkened, morning room
where tiny little you finds me
with my father’s face,
freckles, and smile
fill my eyes with tears and blind me.

I ache the days I realize
you’ll never know the man
you resemble.
Little love, in truth
you’ll see me as glass, too,
and you’ll fret over how poorly assembled
we are—
how every ride in a car
is a threat to our state on this plane.

And when you watch me exhale smoke
on the porch while you eat lunch,
you’ll tell your friends mommy is a dragon
and you love my fire-breathing so much
that you hope you’ll be a dragon, one day, too.
And the light in your eyes will glow the same blue
as the speckled face on that ticking clock
the day he stood to watch me walk
from my first steps to cross the stage.

But darling boy made up of
clearest crystal ever seen,
you’ll be the first of us to fly
without the clouds around your wings.

By Katie Howard


Katie Howard is a writer and artist from Florida with no previous publications to date. Much of her work deals with loss or psychological conflict in the self. A new mother and recent graduate from UCF, she aspires to spark a more open dialogue about depression and post-partum depression.

Growth / Decay By Oona Mackinnon-Hoban

Growth / Decay

The gas station on the corner of my street still receives deliveries;
large carts of milk driven up in a wide, blue truck
the same color as the sky when March decides to be kind.
Sometimes I will look out my window and expect to see bodies
loping towards me, their pace staggered, eyes bleak
and white as the flesh of an oyster.
In a much worse story than this,
the trucks stop coming and it rains and rains
and the sky is never that color again.
The church on the corner of my street
has a sign that reads “God is still God,”
in the same black letters they used to
announce potlucks and Sunday dinners.
On a Thursday afternoon,
a house up the road catches fire
and if I close my eyes, I can smell the smoke
from my kitchen.
In a much worse story than this,
someone besides the dog dies.
First day of the month, three days of rain in a row;
today I will think about pancake suppers and dry cleaners,
the men who drive the sky blue truck
and the people who watch it go by from their window,
God who is still god, and the dog who I hope was sleeping,
who I hope was not scared,
and the things that grow
on top of, as my dad says, and not inside,
and what will happen when the growing stops
and the sky isn’t open anymore.

By Oona Mackinnon-Hoban


Oona Mackinnon-Hoban is a senior at Barnard College, graduating this spring with a degree in English. She was born and raised in Portland, Maine and now lives in New York City.

A kea eats from my palm By Alice van Duuren

A kea eats from my palm

I cradle a feast within the bowl
Of my offering hands. The claws
Do not hesitate. Beak, gently
Lifting seed and nut, dried
Sultanas and cranberries. The dark
Beak whispers against my delicate
Lifeline. This small kindness

Consumes me. At night, I toss
With the memory of something
So dangerous touching me
With such softness. Did you
Know they can tear apart
An unattended car? Their green
Feathers turn almost black

When stained with the blood
Of sheep. Yet, their vicious
Natures haunt my tender
Palms. They kissed me
As if they understood I was
Fragile, a breath away from
Shattering all over the asphalt.

By Alice van Duuren


Alice van Duuren is a nonbinary writer from New Zealand, who used to hate both reading and poetry. Admittedly, they were 13 at the time and hated just about everything. Since then, they have studied English Literature, Tourism, Screen Production, and Applied Writing. In their free time, Alice likes to daydream about dragons, cuddle with their cat, and drink excessive amounts of tea. Social media Tumblr: Twitter: @lavenderfables Carrd:

Carnival By Erika Spadavecchia


I am scared of winter because I only feel it sudden
like aloneness on the sidewalk, in via sacco e
vanzetti the street beckons me to stay
in pain

with eyes open without notice stuck,
the women take their children home sharp
and vanishing
it lasts all day long and the next and the next
with the trees and buildings unbelonging
past the edicola among the torn pieces

of paper on the asphalt that sees what I see
impressions of my first love, of my mother
sheltering from the rain of confetti
on the way home in the landscape designed
to hide her as she bends

from the old grief, i see her looking back
with huge eyes at the street in chaos
to remember most
what i wore at carnival then, what
my love picked for me to wear

By Erika Spadavecchia


She is currently based in Rome, where she teaches, writes and lives with her fish. She recently obtained an MPhil in Criticism and Culture from the University of Cambridge.