The Desert By Carmen Flood

The Desert

Heads tilt back
Towards skies that move in healing silence
From blue to pink and back to blue again.

The world is speaking now,
Through hoards of swallows,
In a kind of unison that makes rough wind—soft.

Holy in it’s absence,
Life exists beyond the living
As if it never came to be, but has always been.

Shrouded in antiquity,
Joshua trees reign like teased out crosses:
Sepulchers in God’s ashtray-

Marking a Harshness that lies
Beneath the sanctity
Of Divine Light.

Perhaps it is a one-eyed dog gnawing on a Jesus chachskie;
A new mailbox with nothing inside;
A carcass of metal machinery; forgotten.

Propped by 4 runners speeding down highways,
Dust hangs pendulous
As if to conceal the half-living:

Prostrate on their backs,
Waiting for some semblance of salvation
Till the finality of a days end draws near,

And light coalesces into tiny miracles that sit,
Like a celestial frame,
Around a thumbprint of Opal light.

Perhaps this is Deliverance, come at last,
To remediate the feeble cries of the fallen…
Can it be?

Or is it the wind:
Contentious; Undying;
Turning on the motion sensor.

By Carmen Flood


Carmen Flood is an actress/poet/artist based in Topanga Canyon, California. She grew up with a single father in the mountains who fostered her appreciation for the arts at an early age. She loves writing poetry as a of comprehending the of the world around her, and as a way to store/transmit the full body, breadth and soul of an experience. She is an alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s school of Drama where she studied acting.

Holy Numbers By Raphaela Wade

Holy Numbers

This is the dawning of the age
of panic and barrel-roasted coffee beans.
When the student has surpassed the master
before the bell vibrates the rafters.

“We live in very interesting political times”
you say as you sip a mug of muddy dandelions,
and wipe the crease from your brow.

How many pennies do I have
to swallow to make
America great again?
How many nights should I sleep
on the ground before
I sweat out the Republic?

Let me fuck you until you see stars
and stripes. Let me tease you
with words like “ephemeral.”

Mama told me once about holy numbers.
7 may get you to heaven, but 11 gets you nowhere.

Do you remember when
you were 11, swearing in blood brothers
under solemn bedsheets?
Do you remember every oath
you swore under the sheets?

Dig this riff while you dig your hole.
Don’t question the bullets in the horn
because this cat has got to blow.

So throw out the baby, but seal
the bathwater in a mason jar.

So coat your beard in glitter
before you take up arms.

By Raphaela Wade


I received my MA in Poetry from the University of Chicago, and have since split my time between working in higher ed and travelling, primarily in Latin America. I was raised in a hyper-religious family in a small town in the bible belt, and coming away from that has influenced the way that I view the political landscape and the intersection of cultures. That unique viewpoint is often centered in my work.

Jeepney smoke By Chris Lim

Jeepney smoke

Jeepney smoke seeps through the iron rail
to keep him bloodshot. He burrows in the neck
of his shirt, already coughing. A black sauna air
begins to funnel from the roaring exhaust. He feels

a soft burn as Jeepney smoke flows into his lungs.
Turning into a viscous tar that cakes the walls of his neck.
Yet, it all smells too familiar. Throughout all these years,
the Pasig River-scented smoke remains true.

True to all of its people. It is the calming scent
of nickel coins at the dive bars or tire swings near
lola’s house. He no longer sits in the Jeepney. He is home,
rummaging through lola’s bag, thumbing her rosario

and dipping his hands into a pool of crumpled
snowbear wrappers. He opens his eyes to a musing
glaucoma. This is home, where he woke up for the last
seventeen years to the humid rays of the morning sun,

people storming the divisoria streets, the Banaba chickens
cuckooing atop their roosts. This is home, where he sees
children splashing in puddles across slums. Street cats
walking on rooftops, tricycles bouncing on rugged sidewalks.

The Jeepney stops in the flurry of traffic. He steps off
and palms the gray ocher, trickling it through his fingers.
He now sees it all. The iron rail, the dangling banners of
sari-sari treats, the morning sun blending with Jeepney smoke.

This is home.

By Chris Lim


Chris Lim is a high school junior attending the British School Manila. He has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with a National Medal. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in K’in Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, Cathartic Literary Magazine, What Rough Beast, Heritage Review, ZO Magazine, and elsewhere. He is also the co-founder of Celestal Review – an online literary magazine that publishes quarterly. Aside from creative writing, he frequently enjoys attending MUN conferences and swimming on hot days.

A friend’s dramatic monologue : Lunar Eclipse By Chinedu Gospel

A friend’s dramatic monologue : Lunar Eclipse

I travel to space in search/ of my mother/ & gravity
is a law my body repels/ because all my life/ ain’t
been in the centre/ of the earth/ but/ a warm
corner/beneath/ heating with grief/

For my body is too crumbly/ to fall from the sky/ &
not smash into fragments/ tiny as cocci/ but here I
am/ in perfect shape/ wearing a space blanket/ that
unweights/ the heft of sorrow/ in my body/

And we know/ that what we call the glowing moon/
is a big blind bulb/ being loved by the sun/ this is a
fancy way to say that/ not all that gleams is gold/ it’s
another way to say/ I reflect my mother’s colour/
that sets & hides behind God/ Call me an astronaut/
separating dark clouds from the rain/

Astronomy is enough to conclude/ that I will always
be opaque/ & lunar eclipsed/ because the earth
stands/ between my mother/ & I/

By Chinedu Gospel


Chinedu Gospel is a Nigerian poet and script writer. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in nantygreens magazine, pallette poetry, praxis magazine and elsewhere. You can also reach him on Facebook @ de unique gospel

Dirty Mary By Kristin Garth

Dirty Mary

The father gave up alcohol on the cusp
of her recall — sometime after she turns three.
Before then life is mosaicked, rustic
absent most its tiles, glass mysteries
transparent at most inconvenient hours,
of pretty parks, passionflowers, the same shade
as her scoured cheeks. Taught her to devour
raw oysters weeks later to mother’s dismay.
Says of it later “you would have swallowed
anything then to please him” — hot sauce,
alcohol scented sweat on skin, hollowed
by the age of ten when liquid mirth was lost
to him, the cost of his cleanliness again.
For decades, Dirty Mary’s taste of him.

By Kristin Garth


Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 20 books of poetry including Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), and Girlarium (Fahmidan Journal). She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website



Drink number one is always at the office

So are drinks two through six
He makes his way home
Stumbles through the door
Pulls out the vodka

Ashes on the porch

Cigar smoke in the air

The next one is lit with a blowtorch

His shirt covered in holes
You would never know

he’s a wealthy businessman

With a white Picket wife
Or a child
With two large dogs in tow

They live on a little plot of farmland

Where nothing ever grows
The drugs seep into the soil

The smoke clogs the air

Daughter bleeds among

the wildflowers
Her dad’s addictions

Are chemical warfare
Her lungs
Black, Brooding

Consistency of wet charcoal

A rainbow child

Barely still breathing;
Never to be whole

By C.G. Myth


I am a partner to my girlfriend, Eliana, and a parent to my odd, anxious dog, Sammy. I am the social media director at the Talon Review. I’ll earn a BA from the University of North Florida in spring 2021, and begin my pursuit of an MFA from Stetson University in summer 2021. My poetry and short stories won the Sullivan Writing Scholarship.

“Otherwise Fallin in Love” Song by Les Rallizes Dénudés By Hadley Hendrix

“Otherwise Fallin in Love” Song by Les Rallizes Dénudés

summer air catches people outside
hugs them in humidity and gnats:
spring in florida

a guy i used to make out with—
stare at his ceiling and movie posters
when he choked me
my head light on his couch pillow—
sends me a song

a towel tied tight over my hair
i fall back on my bed
look through the ceiling
dream of his record player and
the hard pasta he made me
“it’s al dente,” he said

stuff away the memory of longing
for someone else when wrapped in his bedsheets
crying (and drunk)
calling my dad to pick me up
walking to the car with records i’d brought

i run my tongue over my teeth to know
they are still there
to feel them smooth and bite my tongue at its tip
then push it to the insides of my cheeks

until i am with him in chicago
trudging through snow and slow drums
the killer guitar solo bleeding
all through the eight minutes

By Hadley Hendrix


I am the Fiction Editor at Talon Review and am currently studying Psychology of Fiction at the University of North Florida. I intend to become a book editor, literary agent, or something else in the world of publishing I may fall in love with along the way. I strive to write stories and poems that eat at life and leave readers with its seeds, the pulp sticking to the sides of an empty glass. Before joining the staff, my work has previously been published in Talon Review, alongside other publications, including Élan International Literary Magazine and Scholastic.

matti By Palak Parikh


in mama’s language matti                               means soil
blessed cow shit brewed with             matti to make clay because how
else to reassure                       nana and nani and that long ass extended family

pink american baby                                                                                         is brown and hindu

the white man shifts away                            as asphalt fingers reach for
cheerios at trader joes                                the chinese woman asks me                if

chicken kebab samosas are good
eat animals                  we use every                           part of the banana
the virgin
green for aloo masala because                       god forbids                  potato
on prime dates                            we didnt have the mature        honeyed

banana that youtuber                           puts in purple smoothies                                 mama
severed burnt ones

let them rot it              cows milk        ripe bananas
flamed in oil not sweet                                       like the ones at trader joes      but smothered with

cumin garam masala

pepper matti    indians never waste banana peels       tempered chutney

that looks like a bead                                                                                      of doughy matti

one she’s been             kneading for days                               bangles on

seeping            into my soul with every bite                                           the wronged wreaths of moist matti forge                                 wedding rings over my nail beds

seventeen years later still        covered in grime and              matti

or whatever

a squishy coral like     stomping in soft matti                         gossamer crap fondling my flesh in camouflage                        like that pink              american baby

before they besmeared            matti

licking                                     the mulched chutney wrapping its bodice                                 to find dulcet chords sweeter than those cheerios and                  banana chips

yes it looked                                        like crap

but anyone at trader joes                     would love a bite                                            of matti

By Palak Parikh


Palak Parikh is an emerging Indian-American writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is intrigued with writing as a means to foster female empowerment and connect with first generation Americans. She often explores topics like feminism, race, and cultural mongrelization. She has been recognized by the California State PTA and Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. When she is not writing, Palak enjoys drinking coffee and trying new exotic foods!

The Old Hideaway By Mira Jiang

The Old Hideaway

Behind a curtain of hanging lichen,
the breeze sways the lattice of branches
in a living mosaic of gold and green.
From out their cover the sparrows fly,
over a dappled carpet of scarlet leaves,
the sun’s brute music touching them with fire.
The campfire stones still stand guard
around a circle of cracked shells.

Daffodil buds lift up their gilded blossoms,
peeking between tufts of lambswool grass.
As bees flock to the clover and the butterflies dance,
a beetle rests on the nettle leaf in bottle-green
and crushed acorns scatter the meadow,
trails to places that no longer exist and perhaps never did.

Sunlight runs along the back hills,
painting the field gold far as the eye can see.
A songbird trills its mournful tune,
while the wind bears fading echoes of laughter
from four little girls beneath an endless sky,
a reminder of what was and what might have been.

By Mira Jiang


Mira Jiang lives and attends school in a suburb near Dallas. Apart from a brief stint in China, she was born and raised in Texas. Her work has been recognized in contests from Hollins University, the Poetry Matters Project, and the Geek Partnership Society.

on learning to love the space I take up By Leila Jackson

on learning to love the space I take up

There’s something freeing about showing
my bare walls my beauty–
my windows shut, my towel
round my head, no skirt or corset to hide
the lumpy silhouette where my hips meet the air.
Something about dancing the waltz
at night, after learning it in grade six
opposite a boy with sweaty hands
who laughed at my lopsided face for three years
and singing, loudly, off-key
to my only beautiful audience.
She stares back at me, thighs
rubbing together, dimpled and stretched and scarred
and all her own, and smiles
and claps
and weeps.

By Leila Jackson


Leila Jackson is a junior at Georgetown Day high school in DC. She has received several regional awards for her work. In her free time, she enjoys poetry and boba tea.